THE QUID PRO QUO BETWEEN CELEBRITY AND MEDIA REACHES ITS APEX WITH THE SIT-DOWN INTERVIEW just before a major release. So today, in a Q&A with Playboy, Tom Cruise pays due in advance of his highly-anticipated Rock Of Ages in which he plays an 80s rock legend named Stacee Jaxx.
Cruise, a master of self-control, knows that publicity’s price is small truths sold as revelations. So once again, but with more feeling, we hear about the “two things” he “loves most” — his wife Katie and movies, as well as his hunger for competence, his devotion to family and what it was like growing up with an absent father.
About his wife Katie Holmes, to whom Cruise has been married since 2006:
“She is an extraordinary person, and if you spent five minutes with her, you’d see it…She has a voice and warmth as an artist, as a mother. She’s funny and charming, and when she walks into the room, I just feel better. I’m a romantic. …I don’t know what to say –I’m just happy, and I have been since the moment I met her.”
On the bad press he received after criticizing Brooke Shields for taking antidepressants and for jumping on Oprah’s couch while declaring love for Holmes:
“Do I make mistakes? Yeah. I don’t care who you are, life has challenges. Whether it’s as a father, as a man, in my work, you go through things. I want to look at those things for what they really are, take responsibility, make it right and move on. How harshly I’m judged or not judged, I don’t think about stuff like that. I feel lucky. I remember as a kid I wanted an adventurous life, and I’ve gotten it. So if someone judges me harshly, it’s okay.”
Cruise on growing up with an absent father:
“It wasn’t a big conflict when I was growing up; that’s just the way it was. I don’t look back and feel bad. I know some people do, but it’s not a burden I carry through life. It’s more like, Okay, this happened. That’s how he behaved, that’s how he did things. He tried, but it just was who he was. “
On his constant relocating to different cities and schools as a child:
“You’re always the new kid, with the wrong accent, the wrong shoes. You learn about people and yourself and how to deal with what was not always a safe environment. You had to figure it out. That is what life’s about, change and solving problems and living it. My mother worked three jobs, but she’s a woman for whom the cup is always half full. “Rock of Ages, Def Leopard was on set the same day Cruise performed the group’s song Pour Some Sugar on Me. “That was the first scene I shot in the movie,” the actor tells Playboy. “It’s a great song, and I grew up listening to them. They went to the back of the Bourbon Room, and I looked at my band and was like, “Hit it.” All the crew was watching them watching me. [Afterwards] … the lead singer, Joe Elliott, points at me and goes, “Fuck you! Fuck you!” Then I saw big smiles on their faces, and I realized I’d gotten their stamp.”
On his competitive nature which propels him to try to excel:
“Whether it’s making a film or raising my children, personally I’m striving to do the right things and to learn. I’m an all-or-nothing kind of person, and when I become interested in something, I give it my all. … I guess I am always striving to be competent.
Interviewer Michael Fleming also queries Cruise, who turns 50 in July, about his preternatural youthfulness: “You’re not wrinkling up like a lot of your peers. Have you had, or would you get, cosmetic surgery?
Cruise’s response: “I haven’t, and I never would.”