Actor Rob Lowe has launched a $1 million (#500,000) lawsuit against a former nanny he accused of attempting to blackmail him.

The West Wing star claims Laura Boyce has demanded he and his wife Sheryl pay her $1.5 million (#750,000) by the end of this week (11Apr08), or she will go to the press with allegations of harassment.

Lowe subsequently went public with the alleged extortion attempt, calling it "an attempt to damage and humiliate not only my wife and me, but our two young sons as well".

The 44-year-old is now suing Boyce for violating a confidentiality agreement, defamation and infliction of emotional distress. Boyce was hired by the family at the beginning of 2007 and charged with looking after Edward, eight, and John, six, before she quit in November (07).

The court papers filed by Lowe at Los Angeles Superior Court on Monday (07Apr08) accuse their former employee of having "betrayed their trust and engaged in a scheme to hurt the Lowes by spreading malicious lies". (LR/WNWA/TN)

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