LOS ANGELES - Actress-singer Jennifer Lopez has been sued for fraud and breach of contract by a former husband, who claims she hired him to manage her restaurant just long enough to get it up and running, then fired him.

The lawsuit, filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court earlier this week and made public on Thursday, said the case was sparked by Lopez's "exploitation of the trust, love and loyalty" of her first husband, Ojani Noa.

Lopez "lured" Noa into a job overseeing the startup of Madre's restaurant in 2002 through "promises that she never intended to keep but craftily devised to manipulate Mr Noa by playing on his known feelings for her," his lawsuit said.

Lopez's 10 1/2-month marriage to Noa, the first of her three husbands, ended in divorce in January 1998. According to the lawsuit, they had remained friends, and he believed they "still shared a close connection."

The suit said it was on the basis of that relationship and assurances that he was considered "family" that Noa quit his job as a manager of another popular Los Angeles restaurant and nightclub, the Conga Room. He then accepted an offer to manage the opening of Lopez's new restaurant.

Noa says he was promised a six-figure salary and other benefits, but Lopez suddenly reneged on the offer and hired someone else, leaving Noa to return to his native Miami with no job and no prospects. The suit says Noa was dumped because Lopez's then-fiance, Cris Judd, objected to his hiring.

Lopez ended up firing Noa's replacement on the eve of the restaurant's public opening in April 2002 and turned again to Noa for help. He accepted her offer to return and worked around the clock for nearly six months to get Madre's off the ground, only to be abruptly fired again "for no legitimate reason," the suit says.

Noa claims he was given no explanation for his termination.

"Ms. Lopez simply decided that she had extracted from him all that she needed, and it was time to throw Mr Noa out," the lawsuit said.

The suit seeks unspecified damages against Lopez, 35, her father and business partner David Lopez and the company they formed to run the Pasadena eatery.