Tom Cruise is an American actor and producer. He entered the spotlight at the age of 19 and is now the owner of three Golden Globe Awards. He is an advocate for the Church of Scientology, making immense efforts to promote Scientology as a religion in Europe, which has caused quite a fair amount of controversy in the past.
Tom Cruise, born Thomas Cruise Mapother IV, was born and raised in Syracuse, New York to Mary and Thomas Mapother. He has three sisters: Lee Ann, Marian and Cass. Cruise’s mother pursued a career in teaching as well as amateur acting while his father was an electric engineer. The family moved around a lot within the US throughout Cruise’s childhood because of his father’s career and lived a rather impoverished lifestyle. He also spent part of his childhood in Ottawa, Canada.
His father was said to be physically abusive and Cruise describes him as a “bully and a coward” as well as saying, “He was the kind of person where, if something goes wrong, they kick you. It was a great lesson in my life – how he’d lull you in, make you feel safe and then, bang! For me, it was like, ‘There’s something wrong with this guy. Don’t trust him. Be careful around him’”
Cruise’s interest in drama began when he was in elementary school. He starred in an improvised play, along with six other boys, at the Carelton Elementary School drama festival. Cruise also participated in a number of sports throughout school, such as floor hockey and wrestling, but many knew him for his aggression as opposed to his athletic talent. Cruise had considered a career in wrestling until he suffered a knee injury. In high school, he played linebacker for a varsity football team, but was unable to see the whole year through as he was kicked off the team for drinking beer before a game.
Cruise suffered slightly throughout his school years due to his dyslexia – something that his mother and three sisters also live with. When Cruise started the sixth grade, his mother divorced his father and took him, along with his sisters, back to the US where they resided in Louisville, Kentucky. His father died of cancer in 1984 and his mother re-married.
Cruise spent a small amount of his youth at the Franciscan Seminary in Cincinnati, Ohio on a church scholarship as he had a desire to become a Catholic priest before entering the Hollywood scene. However, he only spent one year at the seminary. In total, he attended 15 different schools in 14 years.
At age 16, Cruise was encouraged to participate in his school’s production of the musical, Guys and Dolls. He was given the role of Nathan Detroit, which then sparked his interest in acting.
After school, Cruise moved to New York and gave himself a 10-year deadline in which to make it big in the acting scene. He was said to attend several unsuccessful auditions until one day, he landed an appearance in the film Endless Love alongside Brooke Shields in 1981. It was around the same time that he wound up playing a small role in the film Taps – a military school drama, co-starring Sean Penn. His small role however, was upgraded after Harold Becker, as well as other critics and filmmakers, recognized him for his acting ability.
In 1983, Cruise starred in a film called The Outsiders with Emilio Estevez, Matt Dillon and Rob Lowe. Later, the foursome would be known as the “Brat Pack”. Despite the film’s bad reviews, the opportunity allowed Cruise to meet with high profile directors and actors, which ultimately boosted his career. In the same year, he played a part in the film, Risky Business, which grossed $65 million. It was this film that caught the attention of many – especially because of a scene in which Cruise dances in his underwear.
Three years later, Cruise starred in the film Legend which did not do too favorably at the box office. This was irrelevant however, as he was given a role in Top Gun that same year, which gave Cruise his A-list status. The film went on to become the highest grossing film of 1986.
After Cruise’s budding success, he gained more prominent roles within Hollywood, starring in the films The Color of Money and Rain Main. His role in Born on the Fourth of July earned him an Academy Award nomination and a Golden Globe for Best Actor.
As the decade came to a close, Cruise’s career became even more successful as he starred in films alongside Brad Pitt, Antonio Banderas, Nicole Kidman and Christian Slater. He went on to produce and star in the film, Mission: Impossible, which was a huge hit. He earned his second Golden Globe and second nomination for an Academy Award for the film, Jerry Maguire. His more raunchy side was seen in the film Eyes Wide Shut – a film co-starred with Nicole Kidman.
At the beginning of the 2000s, Cruise worked on the second installment of Mission: Impossible which brought in $547 million at the box office and made it the third-highest grossing film of the year. Cruise also won an MTV Movie Award as Best Male Performance for this film.
Cruise’s next five films were all big names and a huge success, such as Vanilla Sky, Minority Report and The Last Samurai. The latter awarded him yet another Golden Globe nomination as best actor. In 2005, Cruise worked with Steven Spielberg in War of the Worlds, which became the fourth highest-grossing film that year, coming in at $591.4 million. In 2006, Cruise went on to film the third installment of Mission Impossible, which proved to be even more successful than the two preceding installments. The film managed to complete five installments, however the fourth was said to be Cruise’s biggest success to date. His most recent films are One Shot and Oblivion with a new film in the horizon called The Mummy.
Cruise has also contributed to other initiatives besides acting, by working as a dedicated philanthropist and producing a number of productions. He was described as being “one of the most powerful – and richest – forces in Hollywood” for his producing skills and went on to create a film production company called Cruise/Wagner Productions.
In 2006, Paramount Pictures effectively ended their working relationship with Cruise as he has suffered an economic damage to his value and displayed a controversial set of views. In turn, Cruise and Wagner took over the film studio, United Artists and to this day Cruise produces and stars in films under this name, despite Wagner’s resignation in 2008.
The public welcomed Cruise’s rise to fame in Hollywood exceptionally. Many adored him for his roles, especially the five-part installments of Mission: Impossible. But as he became more vocal about his involvement and ideology concerning the Church of Scientology, the public as well as professionals became wary of him. Today, Cruise still gives credit to Scientology for helping him overcome his dyslexia. He promoted various programs and attempted to introduce the public to his beliefs and campaigned to have Scientology recognized as a religion within Europe in 2005. This led him to become barred from the Paris city council, as they described him as lobbying officials.
He also gained negative attention by making the statement, “I think psychiatry should be outlawed,” in 2004. He openly criticized Brooke Shields for her use of anti-depressants during postpartum depression and stated that there is no such as thing as a chemical imbalance. To this, Shields responded that Cruise “should stick to saving aliens and let women who are experiencing postpartum depression decide what treatment options are best for them.” Because of this, medical authorities incurred that Cruise was furthering the stigma attached to mental disorders.
Cruise was also given an immense amount of publicity during his marriage to Nicole Kidman, as it was rumored that he was gay and using his marriage to cover up his homosexuality. Later, in 2001, Cruise filed a lawsuit against gay porn actor, Chad Slater, who admits to having sexual relations with Cruise. Slater was ordered to pay Cruise $10 million in damages for his accusations.
Cruise has been married and divorced a total of three times. He has three children – two adopted and one biological.
During the mid 80s, Cruise was considerably into older women, dating the infamous Cher who is 16 years his senior. He married his first wife, Mimi Rogers, in May 1987 and the pair divorced in February 1990. It was Rogers who first introduced Cruise to Scientology.
Cruise then married his second wife, Nicole Kidman, in December 1990. The pair met on-set their film, Days of Thunder.
The couple adopted two children, Isabella and Connor Antony. Their marriage ended in 2001 while Kidman was unknowingly pregnant. Sadly, the pregnancy ended in miscarriage.
Cruise’s next romantic interest was with Penelope Cruz in 2001, his co-star in the film Vanilla Sky. The pair dated for three years before splitting up. One year later, Cruise began dating Katie Holmes and Cruise revealed his love for her just one month later on the Oprah Winfrey Show. A mere four months after the pair began dating, Katie announced that she was pregnant and she gave birth to baby Suri in April 2006. The couple married six months later at the Odescalchi Castle in Bracciano, Italy. The Scientology ceremony was attended by many Hollywood celebs. In 2012, the couple filed for divorce.
Written by: Helena Lorimer