Tom Got Out in 'Nic' of Time — But McCall's May Have Predicted Trouble in 1995
As this column reported first on Saturday, Tom Cruise's divorce papers indicate that he knew a legal deadline was coming in his marriage.
California divorce law states that a marriage lasting less than 10 years is not a "lengthy marriage." Getting out before the 10th anniversary can severely limit spousal support.
On Cruise's divorce papers he answered "9 years, 11 months" to amount of time served. He checked off another box asking the judge to nullify spousal support.
Cruise is no stranger to litigation. During the marriage he sued a tabloid reporter for an overheard phone call. He sued in Britain over rumors concerning use of sex therapists to spice up Eyes Wide Shut. Those episodes have been cited all week.
One forgotten chapter, though, was a 1995 cover story in McCall's magazine by Dennis Stewart that caused an uproar.
In two pages, Stewart managed to hit all the highlights: that Cruise and Kidman were fighting rumors that he was gay, that Interview With the Vampire (then his current movie in which he plants a juicy one on Brad Pitt) had raised new speculation; that their marriage was arranged; that he could not father children, etc.
Almost as quickly as they published it, McCall's publicly retracted the interview. In a statement they said: McCall's knows of no evidence indicating that Mr. Cruise is sterile or homosexual, or that Ms. Kidman is anything other than a highly competent actress, or that they married for any reason other than mutual love and respect, or that any of the reported rumors are true.
"McCall's has no reason to doubt the truth of their denials," the retraction added. "Statements in the article ... were reported as unsubstantiated rumor, not actual fact. Nevertheless, McCall's understands that some may have assumed these statements to be true, and regrets any negative effect that may have resulted from repeating the rumors."
In fact, it was pointed out at the time by Cruise's publicist that he'd denied in a 1994 article in Vanity Fair that he was gay.
McCall's was not sued for this tempest in a teapot. An editor who worked there at the time told me the other day that the article made it into publication at a moment when the magazine was changing staffs and "that it probably fell through the cracks." Still, the publisher of McCall's, Gruner & Jahr, did show the article to their lawyers in advance.
Interestingly the writer of the piece, Dennis Stewart, if he indeed existed at the time, has never been heard from again.
Ironically, McCall's will cease to exist in a couple of months. It's going be renamed Rosie's, for Rosie O'Donnell (this is true, not a joke). O'Donnell, of course, is Tom's biggest fan.
How much fun was Puff Daddy's fashion show on Saturday night? It was certainly a debacle on all counts, starting with the host, referred to by the "correspondents" on the mindless E! channel as "Sean John" in honor of his clothing line.
Yes, E!, the cable channel meant for kids who didn't complete vocational high school, actually broadcast the Sean John fashion show on Saturday from the CFDA tent in Bryant Park. "Surreal" is pretty much the only way to describe it.
First we have "correspondents" named Mercedes and Leila (was it a coincidence that Mercedes-Benz sponsors the shows? Just asking!). Insipid, yeah, but no one expected Diane Sawyer.
Still, these capped-tooth honeys seemed to go out of their way never to say two things: "Puffy" and "trial." Because, unless you've been sleeping under a rock, you know that Sean "Puff Daddy" Combs, aka Sean John, has been trial in New York State Supreme Court on three counts of illegal weapons possession.
Witnesses have been filing through the courtroom claiming that "Sean John" fired a gun at them, carried a gun, hid it in his spiffed-up SUV, drove away and ran 11 lights, and threw the gun out the window of the car.
Could this be the same Puff Daddy? With his hair neatly matted down, Combs co-hosted this live event on E! He wore a navy blue V-neck sweater over a white button-down shirt, eschewing his usual garb of white pants, white T-shirt, and diamond-encrusted cross dangling from his neck on thirty heavy silver chains. Puffy as Sean John equals Pat Boone, from what I could tell.
And Puffy, who's so laconic in person he seems to need a resuscitator, was animated on camera. He was the host with the most, grabbing the microphone from those three kooky white chicks who worked for E! and shouting into the camera several times, "They say one hundred million people is watching this! 100 million!"
The E! channel probably averages around 100,000 people during a peak moment at any part of their schedule. But I digress.
Celebrities were expected. Few showed. Unlike Mercedes and Leila, other well-known fashionistas must have put "Puffy" plus "trial" together and came up with "bad publicity."
So Stephen Baldwin was there, interviewed with male mannequin Marcus Schenkenberg. Whitney Houston's hubby, Bobby Brown, wearing a hat that made him look like a bruised thumb, spoke to the E! crew with a decidedly crooked mouth. His eyes were more glazed than a Christmas ham.
Tommy Hilfiger, whose business is almost down the tubes, joined Combs backstage for a tearful endorsement. Hilfiger, of course, is to hip-hop fashion in the 90s what Pat Boone was to early rock and roll: the white pretender.
Chris Meloni, the good actor from TV's Law and Order: SVU and HBO's Oz, arrived backstage wearing a monkey grinder's hat. During Meloni's interview with Mercedes or Leila, Puffy jumped in, exclaiming, "I love you! I watch you, when is it? Saturday nights?"
Meloni, who's on Law and Order on Fridays and Oz on Sundays, replied: "Sunday." Puffy said: "Sunday! Watch my friend here in Oz on Friday and Sunday!" Interesting that Puffy seemed more aware of the show Meloni is in that concerns prison life than in the one about people getting caught breaking the law.
Luckily, Mercedes, the E! girl, warned parents gleefully that the law might be broken. "If you have children, get ready because there's some bad language coming up!"
Indeed, quite a bit of the show was beeped by censors. That didn't faze Puffy's mother, Mrs. Janice Combs, who evidently forgot that this was a PR event. She told one of the E! interviewers: "The clothes are the shit!" fast enough to beat the censors. I'm sure Mercedes — the car people, not the E! girl — was proud.
So what of the Sean John clothing line? Most of it, amended by fur accessories, looked like the costumes from a bad movie. The models who wore them, all young, tall men with six-pack abs exposed, looked as if they needed orthopedic treatment — they sported old-fashioned clunky corrective shoes. Many of the outfits included short pants, the kind that little boys used to wear to formal dinners.
There was no mention of the trial or of Puff Daddy, but oh, there was a malletful of subliminal messages. First, a film montage played while the models walked, and at one point Martin Luther King Jr. was invoked.
Is Puffy saying he's being treated as MLK? True, Puffy's latest singing group is called Dream, but I doubt it's based on Dr. King's speech. I also recall that Dr. King sampled no other civil-rights' leaders words when he spoke. It was all original. And he did not carry a gun.
The show ended with a large blow up of two stanzas from a poem by Maya Angelou on the video screen behind an ebullient Puffy. The poem is called "Still I Rise": "You may write me down in history/With your bitter, twisted lies/You may trod me in the very dirt/But still, like dust, I'll rise."
If you still didn't get the idea — that poor Puffy is just a misunderstood Dobie Gillis — the models did one collective catwalk to Elton John's "I'm Still Standing."
The desperation has sunk in. You can tell he's nervous. He was a chatterbox on camera. Like a politician, he kissed one of his little children who should have been home in bed but was instead sitting ringside. He looked everywhere for his celeb pals — I mean, even Donald Trump didn't show up? Not accustomed to the preppie look, he didn't seem to realize you could see the white of his new shirt through the badly sewn seams of his blue sweater. At least he went out with a bang.