Schwarzenegger's Former Flight Attendant Reportedly Files $40M Libel Suit Against Media Outlets

The former personal flight attendant of Arnold Schwarzenegger reportedly filed a $40 million lawsuit alleging that Gawker, the National Enquirer and the Daily Mail libeled her in articles by falsely claiming she and the former California governor had an illegitimate child together.

The OC Weekly reports that Tammy Tousignant, who worked on Schwarzenegger's private jet from 1987 to 1999, filed the lawsuit July 28 in Orange County Superior Court. 

Tousignant is seeking damages for defamation by libel, invasion of privacy and misappropriation of personal images after articles published in 2003 and 2011 allegedly claimed she was "Arnold's lover" and that her son "was Arnold's," according to the newspaper.

"Freedom of the press is a valuable right, but it is not a license for gossipy tabloids to tar and feather innocent citizens and destroy their reputations for the rags' profit," Tousignant's attorney, Harry Frank Scolinos, reportedly wrote in a 117-page brief. 

"Given the nearly instantaneous and worldwide availability of on-line and print articles, one would expect more rigorous standards to be imposed on those who report news, particularly where such 'news' involves disclosing very personal and private details of the lives of non-public figures," said Scolinos.

The lawsuit claims that Gawker writer John Cook penned an article that falsely referred to Tousignant as a longtime member of Schwarzenegger's household staff. Cook also falsely identified Tousignant's son, Tanner, as the reported "love child," according to the lawsuit. 

"Thereafter, ignoring the obvious differences between Tammy Tousignant and the description of the mother of the so-called 'love child' in the Los Angeles Times article, on May 17, 2011, the gossip website Gawker ran an "Exclusive" article by John Cook under the heading 'Is This Arnold Schwarzenegger's Love Child?' in which it was falsely reported that Tammy Tousignant was the 'longtime member of [Schwarzeneggers'] household staff referred to . . . and that Tanner Tousignant was the illegitimate 'love child' . . ." the lawsuit says. 

A spokeswoman for Gawker was not immediately available when contacted Friday by 

The lawsuit reportedly states that Tousignant's two sons, Tanner and Connor, are the offspring of her husband, Tom, whom she married in 1992.  

Schwarzenegger and his wife, Maria Shriver, announced their separation in early May after 25 years of marriage. Schwarzenegger then admitted publicly that he fathered a child with a member of his household staff 10 years ago. 

Mildred Baena, who had retired as the family's housekeeper in January, confessed she had a 13-year-old son by Schwarzenegger. The birth of Baena's son occurred before the 63-year-old Schwarzenegger became governor of California in 2004. 

Click here for more on the lawsuit from the OC Weekly