Published January 13, 2015
Thomas Cruise Mapother IV was born July 3, 1962, in Syracuse, N.Y. He was the only boy in the family and had three sisters: Marian, Lee Anne and Cass.
His parents, Thomas Mapother III and Mary Lee Pfeiffer, moved the family around quite a bit due to his father's job with General Electric, resulting in Tom attending at least eight elementary schools and three high schools.
He also briefly became a student of the Franciscan order at the age of 14, at St. Francis Seminary in Cincinnati, but dropped out after one semester.
His parents divorced in his early adolescence, but his father subsequently passed away of cancer in 1984.
In April 2006, Cruise revealed in an interview with Parade magazine that his father was a “bully” and that he was bullied at school by other kids. He said that he did go to the hospital in 1984 to see his father before he died, but only on his father’s request that he not be asked anything about the past. “He was in his late 40s. It was sad,” Cruise said.
The Mapothers finally settled in Glen Ridge, N.J., and Tom went on to graduate from high school there in 1980 after moves to Kentucky, Missouri and Ottawa.
While in high school, Cruise had to stop wrestling because of a knee injury, and instead went out for a part in "Guys and Dolls" — which he won — thus igniting his new future career in acting.
Cruise then moved to New York City at 18 and worked as a busboy. He went out to L.A. to audition for TV parts, but failed to get any and instead signed up with CAA (Creative Artists Agency) and began the first in a long string of film roles starting with "Endless Love" in 1981, followed by "Taps," "Losin’ It" and "The Outsiders."
Despite being short by Hollywood standards, only 5’7”, Cruise’s boy-next-door demeanor and infectious smile paved the way for him.
His first big break was his lead role as Joel in "Risky Business" in 1983, which has become iconic in film history and produced famous scenes like Cruise’s famous solo rendition of “Old Time Rock n’ Roll” in his tighty whities and sex scenes with Rebecca DeMornay that broke new ground in movies.
For the next seven years, Cruise would become a household name, having scored major parts in some of the biggest films of the 1980s like "Top Gun," "Cocktail," "Rain Man" and "Born on the Fourth of July," for which he won critical acclaim and an Academy Award nomination for Best Actor.
"Top Gun" served to cement his physical image as young, dark-haired and good-looking, complete with aviator shades. Part of Cruise’s success was his universal appeal; he played a lot of traditionally male roles — a teen losing his virginity, fighter pilot, race car driver, bartender — doing what most boys dreamt of doing.
But his boyish charm and the twinkle in his eye made him eye candy for women as well, and he continued to win both audiences.
In May 1987, he married actress Mimi Rogers, who was six years his senior. But the marriage dissolved in February 1990, and Cruise had already met actress Nicole Kidman, whom he invited to audition for his new film, the racing drama "Days of Thunder." The two sizzled on screen and were married Dec. 24, 1990.
For the next solid decade, Cruise and Kidman were one of Hollywood’s most popular power couples, he a seasoned A-list actor, and she a red-hot star on the rise. The two made the movie "Far and Away" together in 1992, about Irish immigrants who came to America to stake their claim on a new home.
Rogers had introduced the formerly devout Catholic Cruise to Scientology during their marriage, a religion she’d subsequently renounced prior to their divorce, but Cruise continued to practice. He even went so far as to claim Scientology cured him of dyslexia in 1990, and continued to be vocal about his support for the religion and share his beliefs in the press.
One of highest paid actors by the '90s, Tom enjoyed a rebirth as the decade formed its own identity. He was named one of People magazine’s 50 Most Beautiful People in 1990, 1991 and again in 1997; and was named by Empire magazine as one of the 100 Sexiest Stars in Film History in 1995.
In 1996, Cruise became the first actor in history to star in five consecutive films that had all grossed $100 million domestically, according to Wikipedia. Those were "A Few Good Men," in which he played lead lawyer Lt. Daniel Kaffee; "The Firm," in which he played the lead young lawyer Mitch McDeere; "Interview with a Vampire"; the first of the "Mission: Impossible" series; and "Jerry Maguire."
It was for "Jerry Maguire" that Cruise received his second Best Actor nomination, for playing the sports agent struggling with his own emotions on his road to success.
Tom and Nicole also added to their family in the mid-'90s; they adopted two children — Isabella, born in 1993, and Connor, born in 1995. They continued to enjoy success and raise their children, splitting time between homes in New York, L.A., Sydney and Telluride, Colo.
The couple had vowed to never spend more than two weeks apart, and each parent was spotted by the press in airports on the way to the other’s movie set, kids in tow.
"Eyes Wide Shut," helmed by the famed director Stanley Kubrick, would be their third and last picture together in 1999. Shooting commenced in November 1996 and continued through March 1998.
The film’s dark plot surrounded a happily married couple that becomes entangled in their own feelings of jealousy, guilt and insecurity when the wife confesses a sexual fantasy to her husband that does not involve him.
Old rumors about Cruise’s sexuality and virility were rekindled, and new ones emerged about scenes filmed while Tom was wearing women’s underwear and the couple needing marital therapy to get them through the movie’s highly intense sex scenes.
During this time, "Magnolia" was released to mixed reviews, and Tom received his third Oscar nomination, this time for Best Supporting Actor.
After almost 10 years of marriage, Cruise and Kidman separated in December 2000, just shy of their anniversary. Divorce papers were filed in February 2001, igniting a media storm of inquiry over all the rumors that mired the couple during their marriage.
The official reason for the divorce was entered as irreconcilable differences, but speculation over the exact reason was uncontrollable, even though the couple released an official statement claiming their intense schedules “kept us constantly away from each other.”
Observers pointed to conflicts over Scientology, Cruise’s new movie with sultry Spanish actress Penelope Cruz, Nicole’s career and her increasing popularity, the couple’s ability to have their own children and rumors of Nicole’s pregnancy at their breakup and subsequent miscarriage.
The two went into a joint-custody agreement amicably, but the divorce itself continued to be an ugly affair, with public appearances for her film "The Others" (produced by Cruise) carefully choreographed to keep the former golden couple apart.
Arguments surfaced over exactly when the couple split, since a California law requires alimony payments for a marriage 10 years or longer, and Cruise’s rep announced the separation in December while Kidman made statements that they had “happily celebrated” their 10th anniversary with friends and that his request for a divorce came as a “total shock” to her.
Cruise’s dalliance with Cruz developed into a full-blown relationship in 2001 as "Vanilla Sky" hit theaters, creating the “Cruise-Cruz” partnership that delighted the press, but Cruz was adamant about not speaking to the press at all about her private life.
Cruz and Cruise also battled conflicting schedules, but made many public appearances together and spent holidays together with Cruise’s children. The two met in 2000 while filming "Vanilla Sky," but swear they did not begin seriously dating until Cruise’s divorce was final in the summer of 2001.
The release of "Minority Report" in 2002 meant more praise for Tom as critics were dazzled by the film’s sci-fi concept of stopping crimes before they occur.
His next few movies flip-flopped: in 2003, "The Last Samurai" failed to capture audiences, but "Collateral" garnered a lot of buzz in 2004 for Cruise’s atypical role as an assassin who forces cab driver (and rising film star) Jamie Foxx to cart him around town as he runs through a laundry list of victims.
The Cruz/Cruise relationship did become serious and long-lasting, but ended in 2004 as sources close to the couple insisted it had “just run its course.”
Neither couple had cheated, and prospects for marriage had not been likely as the couple also suffered from lack of time together due to their busy film schedules that had them trekking all over the world.
In early 2005, Cruise met young "Dawson’s Creek" actress Katie Holmes when the two got together to discuss a possible role for her in "Mission: Impossible 3."
In April of '05, the two were spotted kissing in Rome and came out as a couple when prompted by the press about the nature of their relationship.
What proved to be bizarre, though, and especially jarring to the public, besides the 16-year difference between the two, was the immediate level of seriousness the couple showed, traveling together, calling it “love” and announcing Holmes was exploring Scientology as well.
Holmes had also only a month prior broken a long-standing engagement to her boyfriend of five years, actor Chris Klein.
Public skepticism of the new Cruise/Holmes union became heightened when upon proclaiming his love for Katie, Cruise jumped on and off the couches on the set of "Oprah" in May 2005, and the stunt became parodied on TV comedy shows.
Rumors began to swirl then about a mutually beneficial “arrangement” between Cruise and Holmes that would promote their new movies, Scientology, her career and his public image simultaneously.
The pair would soon embark on a publicity tour — Holmes for "Batman Begins," and Cruise for "War of the Worlds" — that would take them through the U.S., Europe and even as far as Japan.
While in Paris in June, Cruise proposed to Katie at the top of the Eiffel Tower, and the two became engaged.
In June 2005, Cruise continued a series of perceived odd behavior by lashing out at "Today" show co-host Matt Lauer during a discussion about postpartum depression, psychiatry and anti-psychotic medications. “You don’t know the history of psychiatry, I do,” he said.
Cruise had previously singled out actress Brooke Shields, who had just brought to light her own personal battle with post-partum depression after the birth of her first daughter Rowan, during an interview with "Access Hollywood."
“Where has her career gone?” he said. “These drugs are dangerous. I have actually helped people come off them.” His suggestion as an alternative remedy was as follows: “When you talk about postpartum depression you can take people today, women, and what you do is you use vitamins.”
His comments caused Shields to lash back, calling his comments “irresponsible.” She issued a statement from London where she was working in the West End theater district: “Tom should stick to saving the world from aliens and let women who are experiencing postpartum depression decide what treatment options are best for them.”
Shields and Cruise have since reconciled.
In early October 2005, Holmes announced she was pregnant with Cruise’s baby. Shortly thereafter, in late November, Cruise was featured in a Barbara Walters special entitled “The Most Fascinating People of 2005.” In the interview he revealed he and Katie were planning to wed in the summer of 2006, after their baby was born.
He also told Walters he had purchased a sonogram machine so the couple could monitor their baby. This announcement caused the American College of Radiology to issue a response statement warning that sonograms should only be performed by licensed technicians for medical purposes only, and only on the advice of a physician.
Rumors also began to circulate around this time that since Katie supports Tom’s practice of Scientology, she had agreed to give birth in silence per the religion’s ideals.
On April 19, in Los Angeles, Katie gave birth to their baby girl, whom the couple named Suri. The name has both Hebrew and Persian origins, meaning "princess" or "red rose," respectively. She weighed in at 7 lbs., 7 ounces and was 20 inches long at birth.
The media played up the coincidence that Brooke Shields' daughter Grier was born on the same day in the same hospital, even on the same floor.
On Nov. 15, 2006, Tom and Katie exchanged vows in a Scientology ceremony in a 15th century castle in Bracciano, Italy. The star-studded affair was dubbed by the media as "the wedding of the century."