Cruise's life now a soap opera

Sunday Mail/March 28, 2004
By Alison Boshoff

Tom Cruise and girlfriend Penelope Cruz have split after three years, blaming the amount of time they spent apart.

It is also believed his devotion to the cult Church of Scientology - and the Spanish actress's refusal to convert to it - is one of the reasons behind the break-up.

Lee Anne DeVette, Cruise's sister, said: "They broke up at the end of January and it's amicable".

A spokesman for Miss Cruz, 29, insisted there was no one else involved in the split, saying: "They remain great friends and still talk often".

He said although Miss Cruz had not converted to Scientology she had taken classes in the religion and found them "beneficial."

A friend of both told an American magazine: "The relationship just ran its course and they decided not to be girlfriend and boyfriend any more.

"Through most of the relationship they were both shooting movies in separate part of the world."

The couple met on the set of 2001 film Vanilla Sky and began dating shortly after Cruise, 41, announced his divorce from Nicole Kidman.

Since Christmas there has been widespread talk that they had split, but Miss Cruz accompanied him to the London premiere of his last film, The Last Samurai, in January, followed by a promotional visit to Italy.

They have not been seen together since and no one in the show business world believes they will bother to see each other again.

It is a far cry from their first flush of romance, when Cruise described her as "incredibly romantic, and yet real" and compared her with Audrey Hepburn.

By all accounts Cruz was fairly high-maintenance and emotional and their final year together had periods of mutual misunderstanding and frustration.

That certainly seems to be the case: not only did Cruise not make the effort to visit her family in Spain for two years but he did not go with her when her father fell ill.

The failure of the romance follows the messy end of his 10-year marriage to Kidman and the equally bitter failure of his first marriage to actress Mimi Rogers.

So why is Cruise unable to find love?

The picture painted of Cruise by the women he has loved is of a man emotionally closed, forcefully egotistical, and ruthless to boot.

What is clear is that he finds it impossible to share his life with anyone who cannot make a commitment to Scientology, which claims that humans are an exiled race from outer space.

It is tempting to speculate that he also draws from it the strength of focus - which some might label callousness - to think only of himself and not ponder for too long the emotional wreckage he leaves in his wake.

Although Cruz took courses in Scientology to please him it was not enough to make her convert - or allow her to hang on to him.

(Kidman never embraced Scientology and returned to her Catholic roots towards the end of their marriage).

Cruise is deeply religious and has been in search of "answers" since his childhood, when he moved house 14 times in 15 years.

He wanted to be a priest for a time, and even attended a Franciscan seminary when he was 14. He was not an early starter sexually, nor was he popular with girls. It was Scientology that gave him a sense of purpose and belonging.

Rogers - seven years his senior and more experienced - was his first choice.

They married in 1987 and started to try for a family. A year later nothing had happened. Cruise, relying on his Scientologist creed, said he would leave it to God's will.

When she became pregnant after they split by her new partner, it gave the story further credence.

In his second marriage - to Kidman - they were equally determined to start a family. Again, it did not happen. They adopted Conor and Isabella and the Church of Scientology helped.

Kidman put her career mostly on hold to be with the children. But the strains were evident.

Her associates say Cruise was unwilling to do any more soul-searching to save the marriage. Faced with a crisis, he simply decided to cut her out of his life.

Cruise has hardly set the world on fire on the big screen in recent years - even The Last Samurai received only warm reviews.

He is left with an empty personal life and has taken to skydiving, scuba diving and piloting his own plane to try to get the kind of adrenaline rush to prove how alive he is.

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