Tom Cruise Hires Publicist to Replace Sister

Tom Cruise has replaced his sister with a Hollywood insider as chief handler of his publicity.

The 43-year-old actor hired veteran publicist Paul Bloch, who's also a co-chairman for publicity firm Rogers & Cowan, according to the Daily Variety trade paper. Bloch also will oversee publicity for the actor's production company Cruise-Wagner Productions.

Bloch replaces Cruise's sister, Lee Anne DeVette, who took over as his publicist in March 2004 after he left longtime representative Pat Kingsley.

"Lee Anne has done a wonderful job on behalf of myself and Cruise-Wagner Productions over the last few years," Cruise said in a statement. "But she has always expressed a desire to oversee and expand the day-to-day activities of my charitable endeavors."

A call to Rogers & Cowan was not immediately returned Monday night.

The shakeup comes after Cruise generated some negative publicity earlier this year by criticizing Brooke Shields for taking anti-depression drugs and by berating "Today" host Matt Lauer for suggesting that psychiatric treatment might help some patients.

He also created a sensation on "The Oprah Winfrey Show," when he got down on his knees and repeatedly jumped up on the talk-show host's couch, saying his love for actress Katie Holmes was "beyond cool."

Cruise and Holmes, 26, went public with their relationship in April. They became engaged in June, and she is now pregnant with their first child.