Cameron Diaz sues Enquirer for $50 million. Co-plaintiff is the ''Trippin''' producer whom the paper claimed was photographed making out with Justin Timberlake's lady love

At first, Shane Nickerson, one of the producers of Cameron Diaz’s MTV show Trippin’, thought it was absurd that the National Enquirer would print a story alleging that he’d been having an affair with his star, and that a paparazzo had photographed them kissing. As he wrote on his blog last month, ”I told my wife, ‘One of the reasons this is so stupid is because you know that if I was hooking up with CD you’d have been the first one I high-fived.”’ Still, neither he nor Diaz (nor his mother-in-law, a schoolteacher who claims an Enquirer reporter harassed her by summoning her out of class to ask her about the alleged affair) are laughing about the cover story of the issue dated May 23, which has prompted the three of them to file a lawsuit against the tabloid and the reporters and photographers behind the article. They’re claiming slander, libel, commercial misappropriation of Diaz’s name and likeness, and infliction of emotional distress, and they’re seeking at least $50 million in damages.

The suit was filed Wednesday in Los Angeles Superior Court. According to the complaint, which is posted at Celebrity Justice‘s website, everything about the story is false, from the cover headline (”Cameron Caught Cheating”) to photographer Oscar Duran’s statement in the article that the photos he shot of Diaz and Nickerson embracing actually show them kissing, to the article’s assertion that Diaz and Nickerson had been having a long-term affair that was harming her relationship with Justin Timberlake. (The complaint says that the photos actually depict Diaz giving Nickerson a brief goodbye hug, after which she gave similar hugs to two other Trippin’ staffers.)

The lawsuit follows the sending of a letter by the plaintiff’s lawyers on May 13 to the Enquirer demanding an immediate retraction of the story and an apology. So far, the Enquirer has offered neither. Rather, the tabloid has said in a statement, ”We stand by our story and the accuracy of our photos and will defend it aggressively.”