Why Tom Cruise changed everything for Katie Holmes

The world was introduced to Katie Holmes as the quintessential girl next door on the hit teen drama Dawson‘s Creek in the early ’90s. It only takes watching one monologue to realize the girl had potential, and she lived up to it as the show became a bona fide hit. In addition to the star-making gig in Capeside, Holmes led teen thrillers, including Teaching Mrs.Tingle alongside Helen Mirren and indie films, including Pieces Of April.

Then, Holmes met Tom Cruise in 2005, and to say it changed her life is an understatement. Suddenly, Holmes’ name disappeared from credits altogether and she went from being down-to-earth, relatable, and private to one-half of a spectacular couple…literally. Cruise and Holmes made many public spectacles. But the instant A-List boost didn’t translate to Holmes’ career. We’re sad to report that Cruise probably played a big part in why — although Holmes has always been talented — she’s never quite reached the full potential she gave us glimpses of on Dawson’s Creek

Let’s examine why Tom Cruise changed everything for Katie Holmes.

Katie Holmes' rise to stardom

Katie Holmes burst onto the scene as Joey Potter on Dawson’s Creek, but she nearly lost the role of everyone’s favorite girl next door. She told Jimmy Fallon on The Tonight Show in 2018 that she came close to losing the role. She got a lead role in her high school’s production of Damn Yankees and took her commitment so seriously that she didn’t want to miss the opening night. Dawson’s Creek creator Kevin Williamson liked her performance so much that he waited for her, but the story gets even better. Williamson later told Holmes that he actually only saw half of her audition (her mom played Dawson) because her sister’s volleyball game was taped over the other half.

Lucky for the world, Holmes was so good it didn’t matter. “I love our whole cast from ‘Dawson’s Creek,” the actress told InStyle in 2020. “And I think that it’s…for all of us…unbelievable that people are still watching it and talking about it.” Holmes’ role made her the go-to girl for teen movies in the late ’90s like Abandon and Disturbing Behavior.

When her time in Capeside ended, Holmes immediately went on to star as Rachel Dawes in Batman Begins opposite Christian Bale. She turned down an offer to reprise the role in 2008’s The Dark Knight. “It was a decision that I made at that time and it was right for me at that moment, so I don’t have any regrets,” she told Business Insider.

Pre-Tom Cruise, Katie Holmes' love life was pretty quiet

Katie Holmes fell in love on and off-screen during her time in Capeside. While filming the first season of Dawson’s Creek, she became romantically involved IRL with co-star Joshua Jackson. The relationship was short-lived, but they remained close enough to tell Joey and Pacey’s love story on the show. “I’m just going to say that I met somebody last year. I fell in love, I had my first love, and it was something so incredible and indescribable that I will treasure it always,” Holmes said of Jackson in a 1998 Rolling Stone interview. She added, “I feel so fortunate because he’s now one of my best friends.”

Holmes moved on from Jackson with Chris Klein, to whom she got engaged in 2003 before the couple ended things in 2005. Holmes was famously mum about her private life when the engagement was announced. But Klein opened up about the relationship in 2012 when he spoke to People. “We were like the prom king and queen. We had a similar upbringing and we were going through the same experience [in Hollywood],” the American Pie actor said. He said their relationship ended amicably when the “teenage craze” ended and their careers started to slow down. He also admitted that his drinking habits probably complicated matters, and refuted any notion that there was overlap in his and Tom Cruise’s respective relationships with Holmes. 

A romance worth jumping about

Katie Holmes has a track record of making pretty big dreams come true rather quickly, from starting her acting career right out of high school to picking her husband straight off of a poster on her bedroom wall. “I think every little girl dreams about [her wedding]. I used to think I was going to marry Tom Cruise,” Holmes infamously told Seventeen in October 2004 (via The Hollywood Reporter). THR reports that the soon-to-be couple met just six months later, apparently to discuss a role for Holmes in Mission Impossible 3. Cruise and Holmes made their first public appearance together in Rome, Italy, (shown above) where Cruise was receiving a lifetime achievement award.

One month later, Cruise appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show and the couch-jumping incident was forever seared into our minds. “I’m in love,” he told Winfrey, later coaxing a reluctant Holmes from the backstage area to the soundstage for some PDA. And so, TomKat was born.

Having Tom Cruise's baby changed everything for Katie Holmes

Tom Cruise proposed to Katie Holmes in Paris in June 2005, and then immediately announced it at a press conference for his movie, War Of The Worlds. “Yes, I proposed to her…It was early this morning at the Eiffel Tower, so I haven’t slept at all,” People reported Cruise saying. “Today is a magnificent day for me, I’m engaged to a magnificent woman.” Holmes’ movie, Batman Begins, was also released around the time of the engagement. People reported that while Holmes said in a private interview that the couple planned to have children, she didn’t speak at the conference. Holmes’ silence wasn’t as surprising as the fact that the public displays were happening at all, since she had been so private about her relationships in the past. 

In October 2005, the couple announced that Holmes was pregnant. Suri Cruise was born on April 18, 2006, and, perhaps unsurprisingly, motherhood had an effect on Holmes’ career. 2008’s Mad Money marked Holmes return to the big screen after a three year hiatus, which she later explain to Dujour. “I totally admire women who go back to work six weeks after giving birth,” Holmes said, “but when [Suri] was little, I was not ready. I was a very nervous mother — like, sleeping next to her crib — and I was in that mode for a long time.” 

Katie Holmes' dream wedding included some odd details

Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes married at Odescalchi Castle in Bracciano, Italy on Nov. 18, 2006. E! reported that the royal affair cost about $3 million. Guests included Brooke Shields, Jennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony, David and Victoria Bekham, and then-Scientologist Leah Remini.

Holmes and Cruise got married in a “double ring” Scientology ceremony. People reported their vows included promises to “to never close their eyes in sleep on a disagreement or an upset.” Scientology leader David Miscavige was Cruise’s best man. Holmes wore two Georgio Armani dresses throughout the day, and at the party, guests danced to music spun by producer Mark Ronson and enjoyed a five-tier wedding cake.

It sounds like a standard celebrity affair, but according to Remini’s book Troublemaker: Surviving Hollywood and Scientology, incidents in the days leading up to the celebration were downright stange. Remini claims she found seven-month-old Suri on a restaurant bathroom floor, her parents nowhere to be found. She said three women were “looking at her like they thought she was [Scientology founder] L. Ron Hubbard incarnate,” and speaking to her in an inappropriate tone. Remini said she went to the restaurant kitchen, warmed up a bottle, and instructed the women to soothe the crying baby. Remini also revealed (via ET) that Holmes wrote her up in a Scientology report for “disrupting the party” and being a “poor example to others.” Holmes later vaguely apologized to Remini.

Tom Cruise's wives vs Scientology

Days before getting engaged to Tom Cruise, Katie Holmes converted from Catholicism to Scientology. Little has been reported regarding Holmes’ personal reasons for joining the church beyond the fact that she was in love with perhaps its most famous member. And the only widely-reported observations about Holmes involvement with the church revolve around the aforementioned anecdotes from Scientology whistleblower Leah Remini.

But there are reliable reports, including one from Vanity Fair, that describes the lengths the Church of Scientology goes to keep Cruise close. The outlet spoke to former high-ranking Scientologists who claimed church leader David Miscavige “was integral” in fracturing Cruise’s marriages to both Nicole Kidman (above left) and Mimi Rogers (above right), who had been deemed hostile to Scientology.

Holmes’ family was reportedly wary of Scientology because of the reputation it has for distancing people from their relatives. She got pregnant with Suri before they could take drastic action to make her choose between Cruise and them, sources close to the situation told Vanity Fair. During their marriage, Cruise and Holmes also reportedly lived with “handlers” who reported their behavior back to Miscavige when needed. At a Vanity Fair event two years before the report, its writer Maureen Orth shared a table with Holmes and noticed all of the attention she was getting. Orth asked Holmes how she dealt with public attention if it was this bad privately, to which she answered, “Oh, we don’t go outside very much.”

TomKat's happy years

Despite reportedly being very controlled by the Church Of Scientology, there was a time that Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes’ marriage seemed (dare we say it?) typical. Nearly two years before filing for divorce from Cruise, Holmes described being with him as “exciting” to Marie Claire in 2010. “Tom’s as big at home as he is on the movie screen. He’s so passionate about everything, whatever he’s doing,” she said. “When he’s being a dad, he’s right there; he’s giving it his all. It’s inspiring and it’s fun. It’s an amazing life, but we always remind ourselves of how incredibly lucky we are.” They were also big fans of Scrabble.

Holmes had, however, previously admitted to Glamour in 2009 that she had to make some sacrifices for Cruise, but it was nothing she couldn’t handle. “From an early age I knew that I wanted to be in this business. So I did everything I could to get here, and when I met Tom, I knew in an instant that we were going to be together, that we were going to get married,” she said. “He does have a very big life. And you know, we just do it. And, as a woman, you make that transition from being single to [being] a partner. I have a teammate, and it’s like, we’re going to make this work.”

Divorce or mission impossible?

Katie Holmes filed for divorce from Tom Cruise in June 2012, and as is expected, she had one main focus in mind. “Katie’s primary concern remains, as it always has been, her daughter’s best interest,” her attorney told People at the time. Because of the control that the Church of Scientology — and possibly Cruise — had over Katie, she had to make calculated moves and enlist the help of her father, Martin Holmes, an attorney. Before Tom and Katie were even married, Martin made sure Katie had an iron-clad prenup. As reported by Vanity Fair, that’s why the divorce was settled in 11 days. On top of that, in order to keep her plans secret before she filed paperwork, Katie reportedly used a burner phone bought by a friend to communicate with lawyers in three different states, according to the Los Angeles Times. Why? She needed time to make a covert plan to leave such a public figure who is so involved in Scientology, an organization that teaches children to distance themselves from parents who leave the church. 

Katie was awarded sole custody and the power to choose how Suri would be educated. Katie moved to Manhattan with Suri, which also probably helped distance her from Scientology. It was a tough time, but years later, Holmes seemed free of any such stress. “I feel like I can be more creative and have more time, have my voice,” told InStyle in 2020. Perhaps it took her so long to find it because someone took it from her. 

Keeping her private life private again

After her split from Tom Cruise, Katie Holmes went back to keeping her private life as private as she could. In other words, we’ll never see her jumping on a talk show host declaring devotion to a new love, though she’s had a couple. In 2013, Holmes began dating fellow actor Jamie Foxx. They kept their relationship so private that basically the only other detail we know about it is that the couple broke up in 2019.

After slyly dating Foxx on the DL, Holmes was spotted out in New York City with chef Emilio Vitolo Jr., who ownscelebrity hot-spot, Emilio’s Ballato. His restaurant has hosted the likes of Barack Obama, Whoopi Goldberg, Rihanna, and Bradley Cooper, just to name a few patrons. Elle also reported that Vitolo is an actor who had “a six-episode arc [on] Royal Pains. Vitolo is also close friends with celebrity couple Joe Jonas and Sophie Turner, per his Instagram account. But, we don’t expect Holmes and Vitolo will be making anything Instagram official any time soon.

Katie Holmes has blossomed since leaving Tom Cruise

It would be misleading to say that Katie Holmes didn’t work at all throughout her relationship with Tom Cruise. She did choose her projects carefully, however, appearing on the TV series Eli Stone and even playing Jackie Kennedy in the Reelz mini series The Kennedys. But it’s fair to say she has a new creative spirit, as she expressed while speaking to InStyle about her 2020 projects, The Secret: Dare To Dream and Rare Objects, which will mark her second directorial effort. 2016’s All We Had was her directorial debut.

Rare Objects has been in the making for four or five years,” Holmes told InStyle. “But whenever someone tells me no, I keep going. I’m not going to not do it.” She appreciates her father’s view that the struggles to see a project through make the victories sweeter. Plus, with age comes confidence for Holmes. “I have seen things. I have experienced things. I know what I’m talking about, and I know that my feelings and my insights are worthy,” she said, adding, “I’m going to listen to myself instead of deferring to someone else. That’s a big step as a human. It takes time.”

We’re so happy Holmes has found her strength. Perhaps Cruise did change everything for the twenty-something actress he met in 2005. Change can take you to unexpected destinations. But it’s growing and learning on the journey that matters.

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