By Stacy Jenel Smith
"...There was something about the typically secretive Cruise
announcing a new relationship to the world that made some people suspicious," said Us magazine.
And one wary columnist noted, "Tom Cruise...doesn't do anything that doesn't have a reason."
No, the above quotes aren't about Tom and Katie Holmes. They are from August of 2001, when Tom and Penelope Cruz had just come out as a couple, after months of denials.
They "were spotted" as some reports hilariously put it, lunching at Spago in Beverly Hills. Perhaps they'd have been more noticed dining at a card table in the intersection of Wilshire Boulevard and Rodeo Drive, perhaps not. At any rate, they posed for photographers, with Penelope wearing a white blouse unbuttoned low enough to show a bit of her push-up bra and the pair kissed for the cameras. Ah, love.
And imagine, some spoilsports suggested that the sudden Public Displays of Affection between Cruise 'n' Cruz were really Tom's way of throwing the press pack off following the machinations of his and Nicole Kidman's divorce settlement, which appeared to be becoming quite contentious at the time.
So. You've been wondering whether the romance between Tom Cruise and little Katie is genuine or something else, have you? And you might have sensed there's a ring of familiarity about the whole, go-on-a-talk-show, proclaim-my-love thing. However, you have lives. You don't have time to explore the question.
But I do. It's my job.
And, taking a walk through memory lane with Tom and his women over the last 25 years, I am reminded that clearly, he plays the media like Jimi Hendrix played guitar -- a virtuoso, a master.
In the beginning, there was Mimi Rogers, and they were both young movie actors on the way up. He was "famous, but not crazy famous" as she put it. After "Top Gun" was released, he became crazy famous. They decided to marry, but, following their hearts' desires to keep their private lives private, they didn't even use the words "wedding" or "marriage" when talking about their plans. They referred, instead, to "The Project," when dining out and such, because, you know, the walls have ears.
The Project - that is, the wedding -- came to fruition in May 1986, and it was "very small, very private and completely normal, which was our goal," said Mimi.
Tom and the first Mrs. Cruise then went on to lead purposefully low-key lives - so low-key that nobody knew about it when they separated in 1989. That news came out in 1990, along with stories about how Tom had something going on with "Days of Thunder" costar, that little red-haired Australian girl, Nicole Kidman.
"Earlier this year, Cruise's three-year marriage to actress Mimi Rogers crumbled at the same time he was being quoted in several national publications (including this one) about its enduring stability," reported Us. "Suddenly, the actor found himself on the defensive, and he quickly rallied to regain his footing. A press release was issued in which he, essentially, defended his honor and apologized to the press. An appearance on 'The Arsenio Hall Show' more or less served the same purpose. It would appear Cruise had weathered the storm. At the very least, he has found himself a new love."
Who wouldn't find a romance between Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman more exciting to talk about than....what was that other thing?
So, was Nicole the other woman? In 1993, when she posed for Playboy, Rogers chalked up her split from Tom to sexual incompatibility.
"Tom was seriously thinking of becoming a monk," she told the magazine. "And he thought he had to be celibate to maintain the purity of his instrument...It became obvious we had to split."
"Oh," answered Mimi, "my instrument needed tuning."
The Tom and Nicole marriage, as we all know, went on to become one of the choicest and chicest pairings in Hollywood history, as he reigned as king of the superstars, and she developed into the Pre-Raphaelite, porcelain, Chanel-clad goddess we know and love.
By the time Tom and Nicole made "Far and Away" in 1992, their penchant for privacy was well known. For instance: they rented a five-bedroom, six bath, 7,500 square foot wood house at the end of a private dirt road in which to stay during shooting in Billings, Montana. The owners temporarily moved into a nearby condo and told friends, and even their daughter, that they were doing some remodeling, it was later reported.
The fairytale marriage fell apart in 2000, and in April of 2001, they filed for divorce.
From November of 2000, when they started filming love scenes for "Vanilla Sky," up 'til being "spotted" at that Spago lunch, rumors raged - and were denied - that there was a romance in bloom between Tom and Penelope Cruz.
This is where we came in at the beginning. The same-sounding-name pair lasted into 2003. Reports surfaced that a never-confirmed plan for a Valentine's Day wedding had been postponed due to Penelope's worries about a rumored relationship between Tom and Colombian actress/model Sofia Vergara - but were denied, of course.
It wasn't 'til last year that Tom and the "Soul Plane" beauty quit denying. And it was just this past March that Tom reportedly met Sofia's mom, a meeting confirmed by Sofia's aunt Lilita Jamarilla, who told reporters: "For Sofia, the most important thing in a man is that he has good teeth. She studied dentistry and fronts campaigns to encourage children to look after their teeth."
Alas, despite dental perfection, it was not to be. After just two months - well, according to some sources it was only two months that Tom and Sofia were an item - he and Katie Holmes met and va-voom! He told reporters in Italy that he was "more than enamored" with Katie, and gushed about finding love on Oprah's show.
And now the spoilsports are saying it's a publicity ploy, to whip up more public passion for their respective summer movies, Tom's "War of the Worlds" and Katie's "Batman Begins."
Doubtful. Smart as Tom is, he'd have to know better than to think a romance could sell a film. The Ben 'n' J.Lo "Gigli" anyone? Or how about the Meg Ryan-Russell Crowe "Proof of Life"?
Another theory is the age-old, tried and true: he wants to seem younger. He wants to appeal to a younger audience.
Could be. Or, it could be love. Or something.