Tom Cruise may have been blindsided by Katie Holmes’ divorce papers, but we – the media and the public – were more than ready. Rarely has a Hollywood couple drawn more skepticism, from the moment they revealed their togetherness.
Going back to the dawning of their relationship in 2005, the folks at Us magazine polled their readers, you may recall, and found more than 60 percent believed Cruise’s romance with the 16-years-younger Holmes was a fake. Even when the couple got engaged, many simply didn’t buy it.
Perhaps it was the crass, overblown, smells-like-a-publicity-stunt way in which Cruise and Holmes proclaimed their mutual affection on the eve of his ‘n’ hers summer blockbusters — “Batman Begins” and “War of the Worlds.” Remember? He made his proposal at — but of course — the Eiffel Tower the Friday before her “Batman Begins” opened.
The Cruise-Holmes relationship hit a new level of intensity, even for Hollywood. With unconfirmed reports that Tom was so obsessed and controlling that he gave Katie a GPS-equipped cell phone so he could know where she was at all times, fans began snapping up “Free Katie” t-shirts.
The ranks of TomKat supporters have been comparatively slim.
But there were doubting Tom’ers long before Katie came along. Despite his marriages to Mimi Rogers and Nicole Kidman, some – okay, many people refused to believe Cruise was interested in romance for anything other than appearances.
His relationship with Penelope Cruz was met with the same kind of disbelief as his relationship with Holmes. As Us put it in 2001, after Cruise and Cruz were seen dining together at the ultra high profile Spago restaurant: “…There was something about the typically secretive Cruise announcing a new relationship to the world that made some people suspicious.”
And one wary columnist noted, “Tom Cruise…doesn’t do anything that doesn’t have a reason.”
Some suggested that the sudden Public Displays of Affection between Cruise ‘n’ Cruz were really Tom’s way of throwing the press pack off following the machinations of his and Nicole Kidman’s divorce settlement, which appeared to be becoming contentious at the time.
Despite all the nay-sayers, Tom and Penelope lasted into 2003. Reports surfaced that a plan for a Valentine’s Day wedding had been postponed due to Penelope’s worries about a rumored relationship between Tom and Colombian actress/model Sofia Vergara – but those were denied, of course.
Tom and the beauty who would go on to “Modern Family” stardom were evidently enough of an item that Tom met Sofia’s mother. The meeting was confirmed by Sofia’s aunt Lilita Jamarilla, who told reporters: “For Sofia, the most important thing in a man is that he has good teeth. She studied dentistry and fronts campaigns to encourage children to look after their teeth.”
One can easily see why a gal like that would be drawn to Tom’s sparkling smile. But after only a couple of months it was over: Tom met Katie Holmes and was soon perched on Oprah’s couch, famously gushing about finding love.
In the beginning, of course, he found love with Mimi Rogers. Their May 1986 wedding was “very small, very private and completely normal, which was our goal,” said Mimi. Tom and the first Mrs. Cruise then went on to lead purposefully low-key lives – so low-key that nobody knew about it when they separated in 1989. That news came out in 1990, along with stories about how Tom had something going on with his “Days of Thunder” costar, Nicole Kidman.
Even his comparatively down-to-earth marriage to Rogers wound up serving up a measure of cynicism and public humiliation for Tom. In 1993, when she posed for Playboy, Rogers chalked up their parting to sexual incompatibility.
“Tom was seriously thinking of becoming a monk,” she told the magazine. “And he thought he had to be celibate to maintain the purity of his instrument…It became obvious we had to split.”
“Oh,” answered Mimi, “my instrument needed tuning.”
That sounds so light and Hollywood catty now, compared to the dark schism of Cruise and Holmes. The unconfirmed stories that Holmes is dead set against their six-year-old daughter Suri being indoctrinated into Cruise’s Scientology way of life — and has secretly been making plans to set herself and Suri free for a year — are chilling. Interestingly, few seem to doubt them.