The National Enquirer once again became the target of celebrity ire over the weekend, when Brooke Shields bashed the tabloid for allegedly sending freelance reporters to check her dementia-addled mother out of her assisted living facility.
Teri Shields, 75, was later found unharmed at a restaurant adjacent to her Old Tappan, N.J., nursing home talking to a reporter, according to police. As of Friday, no arrests had been made but police were still investigating the case.
Brooke Shields' lawyer, Gerald Lefcourt, told ABCNews.com that he may seek legal action.
"We're considering it," he said. "There are potentially many claims, criminal and civil."
The actress herself had harsher words for the publication.
"My mother Teri Shields has been diagnosed with dementia. For her safety, she has temporarily been in a senior living facility, a very difficult decision for me," Shields told People magazine Friday. "Late Thursday afternoon, I was alerted by Old Tappan Police that my mother had been signed out of the facility by two reporters of the National Enquirer … who falsely claimed they were friends of hers."
"They then drove my 75-year-old mother around looking for a tabloid story," the actress, recently in the news because she witnessed Kiefer Sutherland allegedly head-butt a fashion designer outside a New York City nightclub, added. "As anyone knows who has a parent who suffers from dementia or Alzheimer's, it is one of the most difficult experiences you can go through as a son or daughter. The idea that the National Enquirer took advantage of her state is reprehensible and disgusting."
The National Enquirer defended itself via an article posted on its Web site.
"A freelance reporter who has known Teri Shields for more than 10 years visited her Thursday at the assisted living facility where Brooke says she moved her. Teri asked the reporter to take her out to lunch and to run some errands. The freelance reporter then got permission from the facility to do so," the Enquirer said. "At no point did the facility, which had given its permission for the outing, contend that there had been any wrongdoing in a situation where two people who had known each for more than a decade."
Phone calls to Old Tappan police and The National Enquirer for further comment were not immediately returned.
Shields' hit isn't the only one The National Enquirer has taken recently. Friday night, Farrah Fawcett called the magazine as "invasive and malignant as cancer" during the premiere of "Farrah's Story," her self-shot documentary about her cancer battle. The documentary also featured video of Fawcett ripping up a National Enquirer story headlined "Ailing Farrah 'Wants to Die.'"
Of all the tabloid magazines and broadsheets on newsstands, The National Enquirer probably incites more anger among its celebrity subjects than any other. Often, their outrage turns to litigation.
Kirstie Alley threatened to sue The National Enquirer in 2008, when the magazine alleged that diet company Jenny Craig canned her as its spokesperson because she had gained weight. (The headline "Fired for Being for Being Too Fat!" left little to interpretation.) Alley told USA Today the magazine's report was "hurtful and harmful to me. I'm going to litigate. It's chronic and has been chronic for the last three years. This one is extremely damaging." In the end, however, Alley decided not to file a lawsuit.