Tom Cruise has had a tough few years. In 2005, it seemed that America’s “love affair” with the A-list actor had ended when, in the short span of a few months, he became infamous for “couch jumping” on The Oprah Winfrey Show, slamming Brooke Shields for using anti-depressants, and a disastrous Today Show interview in which he called Matt Lauer “glib.” When Paramount Studios axed its unique 14-year deal with him, it really seemed as if Tom Cruise’s career was over.
But now, Tom has come out the other side, and is ready to talk about those life-changing months – and about his wife, Katie Holmes, and his children, Isabella, 15, Connor, 13, and Suri, 2 1/2.
“There are things that I could have done better,” he confesses in his suite at the Beverly Hills Hotel. “I could have handled things better. I was surprised at the criticism but it brought everyone closer together: Katie’s entire family and my family.”
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On wife Katie: “Going through that stuff is not pleasant and I think it hit an extreme, but Kate’s a very sure and confident and strong woman. She gets it, you know. She is incredibly wise and very, very strong and confident, even though she is a very gracious and elegant person.
On his life now: “As a father and a husband you want to protect your family and tell them not to worry because it is all going to be OK. You just learn from it and move on and I know that. I have a blessed life because I have a happy family and children that I adore and everyone knows how I feel about Kate. It just brought us even closer together.”
On parenting a young child after so long: “It came right back,” he said. “It was especially nice as it was Kate’s first time. I’ve been around kids my whole life but it’s different when they’re yours. So I feel I was a very helpful husband and excited about it. I remember I was much more relaxed with Connor than with Bella.”
On his first night with Bella after adopting her: “I’ll never forget the first night with Bella. I was looking at every breath she took and we laugh about it now as I told her, ‘I think I kept you up more than you did me that first night.’ I’ll never forget my mother coming in the morning to teach me how to bathe Bella. And Suri…you know those times we all have that are magic when they’re asleep on our chest? I knew the drill… it’s gas, diaper, hungry, you know? It’s been very magical to have that and Kate is so calm and loving and Suri is the same.”
On Suri: “I don’t want her to be afraid of people. I’m not going to live in fear or have her be frightened of people. She’s very open and warm with lots of love and understanding. She’s happy and fun. She’ll just wave to people in the street.”
A normal day in the Cruise house: “Family breakfast… hanging out and watching movies, watching football, the evening with the family, colouring and reading books to Suri. Kate is an artist so there are always lots of arts and crafts and fun things. It’s really just enjoying our family getting together. At breakfast we talk about what’s going to happen in the day, how’s school? How’s the book you’re reading? Did you finish your homework?”
Tom has a lot rising on his next film, Valkryie, due out the day after Christmas. If the £50million thriller succeeds, it will be iron-clad proof that Tom has come through unscathed. But if it fails, it will join Lions for Lambs, his previous film as new head of United Artists, as another failed Cruise venture.
But Tom isn’t worried.
“Our life is what it is,” he says contentedly. “We actually have a very normal but exciting life. I feel very fortunate.”