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ByHolly Roberts/May 25, 2023 7:15 am EST
Tom Cruise is the epitome of the modern movie star. As he embarks on his fifth decade as one of the world's most famous actors, Cruise's undeniable star power still draws audiences into movie theaters, a stupendous feat in the era of streaming and social media. But it's not just his dedication to his craft — like jumping off a cliff while riding a motorcyclefor 2023's "Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning" — or the billions of dollars his films have raked in at the global box office that keep Cruise in the pop culture conversation. Since he arrived on the scene, Cruise's personal life has grabbed plenty of headlines, and decades after making it in Tinseltown, it still does.
For someone who allegedly once considered becoming a monk, Cruise's love life has been anything but cloistered. He's been linked to everyone from television sweethearts to cinematic ingenues and even a pop icon. Cruise's relationships and marriages have long been the subject of tabloid speculation ... and not all the attention has been good. Do you think you can handle the truth (as well as gossip rag chatter and media reports) about his love life? If so, read on and take a look at Tom Cruise's lengthy dating and relationship history.
Tom Cruise's first Hollywood tryst was with Melissa Gilbert
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In the early 1980s, young Thomas Cruise Mapother IV was an eager, fresh-faced young actor ready to take on Hollywood, and his first Tinseltown romance happened so early in his career that he had still yet to change his name. When Tom Cruise dated "Little House on the Prairie" actor Melissa Gilbert, she was the recognizable star. An Emmy-nominated showbiz veteran with years of acting experience under her belt by the time she was a teen, Gilbert later shared on "Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen" that she and Cruise went out when she was 16 or 17 years old. While there was no sex during their time together, Gilbert admitted that she and Cruise made out.
Gilbert and Cruise's relationship was short-lived, but it wasn't the last time the young stars would cross paths. Gilbert moved on to a relationship with Rob Lowe, Cruise's co-star in the 1983 teen drama "The Outsiders." Allegedly, Gilbert and Cruise still hooked up while she was with Lowe, but any possible clandestine love triangles didn't stop the trio from hanging out together publicly.
In 2021, Lowe shared a throwback photo of himself, Gilbert, Cruise, and fellow actor Michelle Meyrink on an outing together on his Instagram. Lowe captioned the photo in part, "Double date 1980s style!"
Heather Locklear couldn't take his cringe dance moves
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Tom Cruise was still a relatively unknown actor when he went on his one and only date with TV star Heather Locklear. She was simultaneously appearing on the hit TV shows "T.J. Hooker" and "Dynasty," and he was grabbing roles in movies like "Endless Love" and "Taps," when the pair hit the town in the early '80s. Clearly, she had the star power, but Cruise was on the brink of fame — and according to Locklear's recollection of their date, he was already making some moves that would make him a movie star.
During a 2013 appearance on "Chelsea Lately" (via theDaily Mail), Locklear claimed Cruise busted out some embarrassing dance moves at a club that left her bewildered. She likened them to the ones in his famous 1983 breakout movie "Risky Business," where he slides across a living room in nothing but a button-up shirt, briefs, and white socks."You just kind of stand there and don't know what to do. Do you dance around him? It was weird. I just sat down," she said.
Locklear didn't pinpoint the exact year of their date, but it was definitely before Cruise was mega famous. Admittedly weirded out by the future movie star, Locklear didn't date Cruise again. And although"Risky Business" writer and director Paul Brickman credits himself for the movie's iconic dance scene, one can't help but wonder if one of Cruise's moves from his Locklear date actually made the final cut.
From friendzone to lovers with Rebecca De Mornay
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Tom Cruise and his "Risky Business" co-star, Rebecca De Mornay, had a two-and-a-half-year relationship, but the pair didn't exactly hit it off at first. De Mornay later dished with a laugh to Celebrity Page, "I will say that I thought he was very annoying when we first started [filming]." Clearly, she got over Cruise-induced aggravation as they became more than just colleagues, but when they were doing press for the movie, the pair was publicized as merely being close pals.
Although they played coy to the media,their co-star Curtis Armstrong's "Revenge of the Nerd" memoir (via The Hollywood Reporter) later revealed that they were apparently openly and intensely engaging with each other during production. Their budding relationship was interrupted, however, by on-set appearances by De Mornay's then-beau, Harry Dean Stanton, whoeventually got miffed enough about their affair that he went to confront Cruise about it, as De Mornay recalled to Vanity Fair. She admittedly left the "Paris, Texas" actor for Cruise, and the couple quickly became media darlings and paparazzi targets. They broke up just before Cruise began work on his 1986 blockbuster film "Top Gun."
She might have dumped him for Cruise, but De Mornay's relationship with Stanton proved to have staying power, while her time with Cruise stayed strictly in the past. Remembering the late Stanton, who died in 2017, De Mornay told Vanity Fair, "Harry Dean and I are best friends, and Tom and I don't talk."
His short-lived but influential marriage to Mimi Rogers
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Tom Cruise's first marriage was to actor Mimi Rogers, and while short-lived, it proved to immensely impact Cruise's future. He and Rogers met at a dinner party when Cruise's 1986 blockbuster film "Top Gun" was in development. The couple married in a small, private ceremony in New York state in May 1987, with Cruise's "The Outsiders" co-star, Emilio Estevez, on best man duty. Rogers, a second-generation Scientologist, is credited for introducing Cruise to Scientology, per The Daily Beast, an organization whose influence would reportedly play a big part in his love life.
While they kept their relationship fairly low-key,rumors swirled in the press around their unsuccessful attempts at having children together, sparking years of speculation about Cruise's sexuality. He and Rogers quietly separated in 1989, and their split was officially announced the following year. Publicly, their divorce was partially chalked up Cruise's ascent into superstardom, with his focus on work leaving little time for love. Privately, alleged infidelity — including with his "Days of Thunder" co-star and future wife, Nicole Kidman — and reported meddling from Scientology officialswere apparently factors in their breakup.
When asked about his first marriage in 1994, Cruise blurted to Vanity Fair, "It was a long time ago. I really don't think about it." Years later, Rogers admitted it took time for the exes to once again be on good terms.In 2001, she told People they were "nice and friendly," but added, "Between his life and mine, it's not like we have a lot of time to see each other."
Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman were the '90s it couple
When Tom Cruise saw Nicole Kidman in the 1989 Australian film "Dead Calm," he wanted to meet her. Shortly thereafter, they co-starred in 1990's "Days of Thunder," and one of the biggest celebrity relationships of that decade was off to a racing start. Cruise and Kidman reportedly hooked up while filming the movie,and afterhis divorce from Mimi Rogers was finalized, they tied the knot on Christmas Eve 1990. Dubbed "Hollywood's Most Romantic Couple" by People, Cruise shared with Vanity Fair that Kidman was his soul mate, and she told the publication, "He's amazingly romantic. He puts so much work into us." In 1992, they adopted their daughter, Isabella, and would welcome son Connor via adoption three years later.
In true power couple fashion, Cruise and Kidman continued to work together throughout their relationship. In addition to "Days of Thunder," they co-starred in the films "Far and Away" and "Eyes Wide Shut," the latter of which was an intense 15-month movie shoot that Cruise credited with making their marriage stronger. But a year after "Eyes Wide Shut" dropped, their marriage was over. Cruise filed for divorce in December 2000, citing "irreconcilable differences," per Entertainment Weekly. At the time, their rep denied Scientology was a reason for their split, but subsequent reports have alleged otherwise.
When asked why they divorced by Vanity Fair in 2002, Cruise only said, "She knows why, and I know why. She's the mother of my children, and I wish her well."
He and Penélope Cruz gave tabloids plenty to talk about
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Tom Cruise's next relationship was with Spanish actor Penélope Cruz. They met in 2000 on the set of "Vanilla Sky" — and Cruise was technically still legally married to Nicole Kidman when he was first romantically linked to Cruzin the summer of 2001. Cruise and Kidman's divorce was finalized on August 8 of that year, and it's since become a part of pop culture history thanks to an infamous photo of Kidman's alleged celebration.
Cruise and Cruz soon caused a stir as they made their red-carpet debut at the premiere of her film "Captain Corelli's Mandolin." Cruz embraced Cruise's public support, tellingABC News,"He came and shared [the spotlight] with me. It was special for me that he wanted to share it with me that way." Cruise didn't spare any romantic gestures, telling Marie Claire (via Entertainment Weekly) in 2003 that he would surprise Cruz by cooking her favorite foods and drawing baths for whenever she arrived home.
Despite any notions of domestic bliss, however, the relationship proved to be dramatic fodder for the tabloids. Things actually got so intense in the rumor department that Cruz sued Australian tabloid New Idea for defamation for peddling lies about the couple. Per Variety, the outlet published a retraction and issued an apology. Unfortunately, Cruz's legal victory didn't stop the gossip, and in 2004, she and Cruise amicably broke up after three years together.A source told People, "The relationship just ran its course and they decided not to be girlfriend and boyfriend anymore."
Age was just a number for Cher and Tom Cruise
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One of Tom Cruise's more curious romantic trysts was with entertainment superstar Cher. 16 years his senior, Cher was already an established music and TV star and well into the movie star phase of her career when she met Cruise at Sean Penn and Madonna's 1985 Malibu wedding. Apparently, Cher's bright purple hairat the nuptials didn't spark an immediate love connection with the young actor, but she and Cruise reconnected later that year at a White House event that raised awareness around dyslexia, a learning disorder both stars have been diagnosed with. While they didn't hook up at the event, Cher later told theDaily Mail, "We didn't go out till way later, but there definitely was a connection there."
Soon, however, Cruise was apparently making Cher say "whoa" in more ways than one. Cher previously revealed to Oprah Winfreythat they'd even lived together in his apartment, saying, "He was so wonderful, and I was so crazy about him." Cher further praised Cruise on "Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen," sharing that she considers him in the top five of her greatest lovers.
For his part, Cruise has stayed mum on his romance with Cher, but there seems to be no animosity between them. Calling Cruise a "great, lovable guy," Cherfurther told Cohen on "WWHL" (via Page Six), "It was pretty hot and heavy for a little minute."
His blink-and-you-missed-it fling with Sofía Vergara
Among many of Tom Cruise's romantic trysts was a brief interlude with a pre-"Modern Family" Sofía Vergara. When the two got together in the early '00s, Vergara's small roles in Hollywood movies like "Big Trouble," "The 24th Day," and "Soul Plane" weren't creating a path to superstardom. Cruise, who was having trouble finding a girlfriend, allegedly made Scientology honchos a list of potential love interests — and Vergara made the cut.
According to Andrew Morton's book "Tom Cruise: An Unauthorized Biography," the relatively unknown Vergara was set up to meet Cruise by Will Smith at a pre-Oscars bash in 2005. Hitting it off, Vergara began hanging out with Cruise, even bringing her son, Manolo, with her so that he could get to know his kids, Isabella and Connor. Things were seemingly moving forward in their relationship at an incredible clip, so much so that there were allegedly even talks of marriage mere weeks after they got together.
But for Vergara, the ever-looming presence of Scientology reportedly proved to be too much. When it was allegedly demanded that she convert to Scientology to continue their relationship, Vergara is said to have balked.A pal claimed to Morton, "She was fundamentally terrified by Scientology. She sincerely believed that she would be struck down by God and burn in hell if she joined." Needless to say, the Cruise-Vergara era was over before it had a chance to get started.
Nazanin Boniadi allegedly didn't pass the girlfriend audition
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In the mid-'00s, Tom Cruise was looking for love, and — allegedly with the help of the Church of Scientology — he tried to find it with Iranian-born British actor Nazanin Boniadi. The "Homeland" star was already a Scientologist when she was reportedly chosen to become Cruise's girlfriend by the organization following a round of auditions in late 2004. According to a 2012 report byVanity Fair,though Boniadi wasn't initially told that her top-secret Scientology project was preparing her to meet Cruise, she hesitantly embraced the chance to be with him and decided to take the attention from the actor as a compliment.
While Cruise reportedly didn't hold back on the PDA, Boniadi was more reserved, which purportedly irritated the star. As their relationship progressed, Boniadi felt increasingly confined by the arrangement, which allegedly included confidentiality agreements and being controlled by Cruise and Scientology officials. Things came to a breaking point when Boniadi was at Cruise's Telluride, Colorado home and asked Church of Scientology head David Miscavige to repeat himself, allegedly leaving Miscavige insulted and Cruise appalled at the apparent slight. By January 2005, Boniadi and Cruise were done, with the actual breakup reportedly conducted not by Cruise, but by Scientology officials.
Per the Independent, the Church of Scientology denied these claims. In 2012, Boniadiname-checked Cruiseon an anti-Scientology diss track:"But we all know how it is, there ain't no road to freedom / It's a blind alley, like Kirstie Alley / Travolta and Cruise, but we ain't no fools."
Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes' marriage defined an era
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Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes' famous romance defined the celebrity-obsessed pop culture of the mid-'00s. Holmes was apparently one of many women who allegedly auditioned to be Tom Cruise's girlfriend, and she seemingly nailed it by admitting her childhood crush on him. Cruise and Holmes took things public in 2005 during the whirlwind publicity tours for their movies "The War of the Worlds" and "Batman Begins." Cruise jumping on Oprah Winfrey's couchandsparring with Matt Lauer about the history of psychiatry? It all happened that spring and summer amidst the heat of the "TomKat" romance. Less than two years after meeting, Cruise and Holmes would welcome their child, Suri, and get married in an extravagant Italian ceremony that reportedly cost $3 million.
Once the dust settled on their marriage, it seems all was not what it seemed to be. Confined by their intense fame, Holmes admitted to Vanity Fair reporter Maureen Orth in 2012, "Oh, we don't go outside very much," and Scientology was reportedly a constant presence in their private lives. Holmes filed for divorce that June, allegedly blindsiding Cruise with the move. Thanks to help from her attorney father, Holmes had a prenuptial agreement in place, and their divorce was finalized in less than two weeks.
Of her split from Cruise, Holmes — who was awarded primary custody of Suri — told InStylein 2020, "That time was intense. It was a lot of attention. ... We had some funny moments out and about in public." To say the least, Katie!
Was his alleged romance with Hayley Atwell impossible?
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After his headline-grabby divorce from Katie Holmes in 2012, Tom Cruise kept his personal life mostly to himself throughout much of the 2010s. Cruise's post-Holmes filmography was mostly action-hero fare, including installments of his "Jack Reacher" and "Mission: Impossible" franchises. His public persona became less centered around buoyant displays of affection, as it had in the '00s, and more about Cruise's death-defying film stunt work. But by late 2020, Cruise was rumored to have a new love interest in Hayley Atwell, his "Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning" co-star.
The Sun reported that Cruise and Atwell had bonded while filming in both the U.K. and Rome, having become close during the COVID-19 pandemic lockdowns. The following July,the duo took in Wimbledon together, further sparking romance chatter in the media. By September 2021, however, Cruise and Atwell reportedly called it quits, taking the highway to the friendzone.However, they apparently got back together in early 2022, but split up yet again shortly after they both attended the May 2022 premiere of "Top Gun: Maverick." A source cited byThe U.S. Sun partially blamed public scrutiny for the breakup,claiming, "What was working behind closed doors didn't work out so well when it was made public, and the fanfare around them as a couple exploded again. They have now decided they are better as friends."
But were Cruise and Atwell ever actually an item or just a convenient tabloid topic? In May 2023, Atwell flatly denied they were ever romantically involved to Country & Town House.
Tom Cruise and Shakira sparked rumors at the race track
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In May 2023, Tom Cruise was linked to singing superstar Shakira after the duo was spotted at a Formula 1 Grand Prix together in Miami. A source dished to Page Sixabout the possibility of a love connection and claimed, "He is extremely interested in pursuing her. There is chemistry." The insider further hinted that perhaps Shakira "need[ed] a soft pillow to land on, and that could be Tom" after her dramatic breakup with soccer star Gerard Piqué.
Sure, Cruise and Shakira chatted it up at an event, and he even reportedly gifted her flowers — but was it the start of a beautiful relationship? According to sources in Shakira's camp, the answer was a resounding "no." While insiders couldn't directly speak to Cruise's alleged floral fixation for the singer, they told TMZ,"She's very much single. ... Shakira's just not interested in dating right now." The sources also clarified thatboth Cruise and Shakira were merely guests of Formula 1 superstar racer Lewis Hamilton, hence being spotted together.
Shakira's hips don't lie, but perhaps the tabloids sometimes do.