Sam Worthington has been arrested for punching a photographer.

The Avatar actor reportedly rushed to his girlfriend Lara Bingle's defence when she was allegedly kicked in the shin by a paparazzo as the couple were leaving Cubbyhole bar in Greenwich Village, New York City.

Worthington was charged with assault and released on bail for reportedly punching the camera-wielding snapper in the face. A court date has been set for February 26, the NYPD told TMZ.com.

The photographer, named Sheng Li, was arrested and booked for reckless endangerment, assault and harassment.

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During the scuffle, the Australian hunk is said to have referred to model Lara as his "wife", shouting at the photographer, "you kicked my wife".

However, a source told the Mail Online: "He would have been speaking figuratively. They are definitely not married, as far as I know."

The couple were rumoured to have tied the knot during a secret ceremony in Western Australia earlier this year and have been spotted wearing matching rings.

Sam, 37, previously got into an altercation with a photographer in 2012, when he was arrested and pepper sprayed following an argument outside a restaurant in Atlanta.

- Bang! Showbiz