"He was a bully and a coward," the 43-year-old actor says of his father, Thomas Cruise Mapother III. "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.' There's that anxiety."
The star of the upcoming film, "Mission: Impossible III," also says he was harassed by his classmates while he was growing up.
"So many times the big bully comes up, pushes me. Your heart's pounding, you sweat, and you feel like you're going to vomit ... I don't like bullies."
When Cruise was 12, his mother, Mary Lee, left his father and took Cruise and his sister, Lee Anne, with her, the magazine says. His parents divorced in 1974.
Ten years later, Cruise says he reunited with his father, who was "in the hospital dying of cancer, and he would only meet me on the basis that I didn't ask him anything about the past."
"When I saw him in pain, I thought, `Wow, what a lonely life,"' Cruise says. "He was in his late 40s. It was sad."