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Friday, July 25
Updated: July 28, 7:35 AM ET
Magazine published pics that were not of the tennis star

By Darren Rovell

After a battle that raged for more than a year, Penthouse magazine has settled with Anna Kournikova for falsely claiming that naked pictures of her were featured in its June 2002 issue.

"The case has been settled to the satisfaction of the parties," officials from Octagon, which represents Kournikova, said in a statement.

Anna Kournikova
This actually is Anna, but Penthouse wouldn't know that.
After realizing that the 13-photo spread was not pictures of her, Kournikova immediately filed suit in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles, claiming that her name on the cover in association with the pictures invaded her privacy and defamed her name.

The lawsuit asked for damages in excess of $10 million, but is unclear if the settlement involved a payment. An Octagon spokesperson declined to talk about specific details of the settlement. Kournikova makes approximately $13 million a year off the tennis court in endorsements and photo shoots.

Kournikova's lawsuit followed that of Judith Soltesz-Benetton, the daughter-in-law of fashion designer Luciano Benetton, who said the photos were taken of her on a Miami beach about seven years prior to their publishing.

Unlike Kournikova, Penthouse settled with Benetton just weeks after her lawsuit was filed. Terms of that settlement were also not disclosed.

The magazine's circulation is about 1.2 million, but Penthouse publisher Robert Gucchione said the company would destroy the 18,000 back issues it planned to hold in reserve.

In a statement released after both lawsuits were filed, Penthouse officials admitted that "in over 30 years of publishing this magazine, we have never made an error of anything approaching this magnitude. We can only say, 'We're sorry' to the two women." Calls placed to Penthouse were not immediately returned.

The real Kournikova, who is ranked No. 76 on the WTA Tour, is featured on the current cover of Maxim magazine.

Darren Rovell, who covers sports business for, can be reached at

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