Wearing his trademark mischievous smile, Tom Cruise landed in a helicopter for the premiere of “Top Gun: Maverick” on Wednesday – an eye-catching display that read, “I a m better cannon.
The action hero, reprising his iconic 1986 role as test pilot Captain Pete “Maverick” Mitchell, cruised through the USS Midway aircraft carrier waving to the crowd and pounding with co-stars such as Miles Teller and Jennifer Connelly. He will soon be 60 but looks at least ten years younger.
Only the Tom Cruise of 10 years ago was a very different man.
For one thing, we’ve seen it everywhere. From 2005 to 2012, Cruise and his family were a fixture – with the media documenting his every move with wife Katie Holmes, including that infamous “Oprah” couch jump, a lavish Italian wedding for “TomKat” and the birth of their daughter. , Suri . Just days after her birth, Cruise told ABC News her arrival was “spiritual” and “powerful.” He also spoke to NBC at the time about his significant involvement with the Church of Scientology.
Now, however, the actor is rarely seen in public. When was the last time paparazzi captured Tom Cruise on the street or anywhere other than a film set or premiere? After years of high-profile romances — with Holmes, his ex-wife Nicole Kidman, “Vanilla Sky” co-star Penélope Cruz, even Cher — he hasn’t been seen with a woman in years.
Which doesn’t mean he’s not dating. Just that Cruise is able to control his image more tightly than any star.
The last time he was linked to anyone was his “Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One” co-star Hayley Atwell in late 2020. The seventh film in the “M:1” series is slated for release next year, and insiders think we’ll see more of Atwell then.
“My sources say Tom is obsessed with the person he’s with. He directs a lot of energy towards any woman he’s with, like Nicole and Katie. He’s ‘on’ all the time,” said to The Post Tony Ortega, who writes the ‘Underground Bunker’ blog and is a Scientology expert.” But he hasn’t been seen with anyone serious in 10 years now, which is very unusual for him . I think it comes out here and there. He does a good job of keeping his life private now.
Right now, Cruise wants to be seen, but on his own terms. He appeared on “The Late Late Show with James Corden” this week and spent a rare evening seeing Lady Gaga in concert at Park MGM in Las Vegas. But even that had a promotional purpose: Gaga recorded the new “Top Gun” song “Hold My Hand,” and she posted a photo of herself and Cruise kissing on the cheek.
Needless to say, the film’s premiere was tightly controlled. As Puck News’ Matt Belloni reported, Cruise’s reps had “meticulously ferreted out media” who might be asking about Shelly Miscavige – the wife of the actor’s close friend, the Church leader of Scientology David Miscavige, she has not been seen in public since August 2007 – along with actor Danny Masterson. The ‘That 70s Show’ actor, who grew up in the church, is accused of raping three women, including his ex-girlfriend Chrissie Carnell Bixler, at his Hollywood Hills home between 2001 and 2003. His trial is scheduled for August and he has denied all claims.
But it wasn’t just about what was said, it was also about what was seen.
“It’s almost exclusively television, and outlets have been told they must use pro-grade cameras, no iPhone footage is allowed. It’s unusual, but Tom is Tom, and Tom must be beautiful,” Belloni added.
Cruise was not joined by his children Bella, 29, and Connor, 27, whom he adopted with Kidman — nor with Suri, now 16.
Although he remains close to his older children, who grew up in Scientology, Cruise has not been photographed with Suri since she was around 7 years old, following her split from Holmes.
“It’s pretty amazing that Tom is never asked ‘Why is Suri not in your life anymore?'” Ortega said. “But there are all these restrictions [when interviewing him].”
Cruise’s publicist and attorney did not respond to requests for comment.
Representatives for Holmes were unavailable for comment.
Holmes divorced Cruise after nearly six years of marriage in 2012, when he was in Iceland filming the thriller “Oblivion” and she and Suri were in New York, where they still live.
Although Cruise was said to be “blindsided” by the news, they settled their divorce in just 11 days. According to documents filed at the time, Cruise was to pay Holmes $400,000 a year in child support until Suri turned 18. That comes to $4.8 million, which, as TMZ pointed out at the time, was significantly less than a judge could have ordered. if the case went to trial.
Cruise also had to pay Suri’s expenses, including medical bills and all school fees.
Holmes reportedly converted to Scientology for Cruise, and Ortega called the breakup a “surgically planned escape”, adding: “I have since recently received new sources who have told me about the rise of this. It was even more complex than we know, Katie was using cell phones.There was work ahead of time to make sure all the legal issues were looked at.
He said it was a “team effort to get her out of there,” led by her father, Ohio-based attorney Martin Holmes.
While former members of Scientology have publicly said that family members still in the church have been asked to cut ties with them, Ortega said that as a celebrity, Cruise would not necessarily be driven to do this with Suri.
“Celebs can ignore these rules and no one would have more freedom than the number one celebrity, Tom Cruise,” Ortega said. “That’s one of the perks of being a celebrity in Scientology.”
Ortega said that if Cruise hasn’t been seen at Scientology events for the past two years, it’s because COVID has caused the church to reduce gatherings.
The star’s primary residence is a penthouse in Clearwater, Florida, a few blocks from Scientology headquarters. Over the past decade, Cruise has sold millions of dollars worth of assets, including a New York City condo, a Telluride ranch for $39.5 million, and his Beverly Hills mansion for $40 million.
But you’d never know if Cruise was actually at home in Florida, because it’s all so hidden: His building has a car lift and a sky bridge that takes him right up to the two-story penthouse, according to Ortega, who consulted the plans of the building.
Cruise has actually been overseas for a few years filming “M:17,” traveling between Italy, the UK, Norway and Abu Dhabi. The still unfinished film has already reached a budget of $290 million and has been shut down several times due to the pandemic.
In December 2020, with the production filming outside London, The Sun got hold of an audio tape of Cruise yelling at the crew, allegedly after seeing a few people standing too close together despite social distancing rules.
He said: “We are the gold standard. They’re out there in Hollywood making movies right now because of us. Because they believe in us and what we do. I’m on the phone with all the fucking studios at night, insurance companies, producers and they watch us and use us to make their movies. We’re creating thousands of jobs, you sons of bitches. I never want to see him again. Already!”
It was a rare display of Cruise seemingly out of control. But a Hollywood industry source told The Post: “I thought it was amazing. I don’t think it was bad for Tom’s PR at all, it showed he cared.
Cruise later addressed the rant in an interview with Empire magazine in May 2021, saying, “There was a lot at stake in that moment.”
The star remains in charge of whatever he is working on. He has worked with Paramount Studios for 37 years and the “Mission: Impossible” series has grossed $3.6 billion at the box office. But Kim Masters wrote in The Hollywood Reporter that Cruise had “a lawyer” when the studio informed him that the latest film would have a theatrical window of 45 days – much shorter than the usual three months – before airing. on Paramount+.
Cruise also reportedly banned Paramount from developing a “Days of Thunder” series for his streamer, as well as a “Mission: Impossible” series, according to Masters.
“Top Gun: Maverick” co-star Teller said Cruise emphasized the importance of meeting expectations during filming: “Tom would say, ‘We’re trying to hit a ball with a ball.'”