Paris Is Burning

updated 10/17/1994 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 10/17/1994 AT 01:00 AM EDT

IF HE DIDN'T LOVE PARIS IN THE springtime, actor David Caruso certainly doesn't feel any kindlier toward her in the fall. Fresh from his precipitate exit from NYPD Blue, Caruso, 38, now finds himself once again in the headlines, thanks to a $4 million palimony suit filed last week by Paris Papiro, 31, the live-in girlfriend he broke up with last April after a four-year relationship.

Papiro, a former massage therapist, claims she gave up her career to be Caruso's full-time helpmate and housemate; that she helped care for his daughter Greta, 10 (from his six-year marriage to actress Rachel Ticotin), on weekends; that she was his go-between to the producers at NYPD; and that he consulted her about movie deals. Caruso, Papiro says, promised they would share the rewards of stardom equally and spoke of the "big ring" he planned on giving her.

But Papiro says Caruso dumped her the day after he finished filming NYPD's season-ender last spring. He told her, she says, he wanted "to date other women" and asked for a separation while he was in New York City filming the movie Kiss of Death, a thriller costarring Nicolas Cage, for which he was paid $1 million. "Everyone's calling him the sexiest man alive—I think he wanted to find out just how sexy he was," says Papiro's lawyer, Jay Coggan.

Caruso's publicist, Stan Rosenfield, says, "He refutes everything. She has no case." One Caruso friend notes that Papiro filed her suit shortly after Caruso signed a new, $2 million movie deal, adding: "Their relationship was basically over emotionally two years ago." But if so, Caruso may regret interviews he gave when he and Paris were together, in which he went out of the way to praise her and their "equal relationship." As he told GQ earlier this year, "I do the on-camera stuff, she does the off-camera. It doesn't mean the off-camera is less valuable."

Recently the two had been working without lawyers toward an agreement. Those negotiations, Coggan says, fell apart late last month when Caruso demanded that Papiro return the 1985 380SL Mercedes Benz on which he was making payments. Perhaps hell hath no greater fury than a woman scorned and left earless. As for Caruso, Rosenfield says, "He feels very disappointed she's taken the low road."

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