The Condensed Tom Cruise
Slate reads the new Tom Cruise bio so you don't have to.
How dubious is Andrew Morton's long-awaited Tom Cruise: An Unauthorized Biography? Well, the book is not for sale in the United Kingdom, due to that country's libel laws; and it's rumored that Scientology lawyers are already drawing up a suit against Morton's publisher, St. Martin's Press. If you're craving the inside (and blatantly unsubstantiated) scoop on Tom's private life, follow Slate's handy guide straight to the good parts.
Inside the Actor's Closet
Ever since that ridiculously homoerotic volleyball scene in Top Gun, the world has wondered about Tom Cruise's sexuality. But Andrew Morton's Tom is a hot-blooded heterosexual.
Page 13: One of Tom's first girlfriends, Carol Trumpler, still gets "misty-eyed" when she remembers her brief dalliance with the future star: "He was a very good kisser, very much at ease with it all. But what do you know at eleven?" Sadly for Carol, Tom got antsy pretty quickly. "I was trying to be a good girl, and when I didn't give in to his ways he moved on."
Page 68: Remember the sex-on-a-train scene in Risky Business? Morton alleges that "while Tom and Rebecca [De Mornay] were nervous before playing the scene, those who snuck onto the closed set are convinced that the answer to the question of 'did they, didn't they' really get it on on camera is a firm yes."
Page 195: High-school girlfriend Diane Van Zoeren doesn't give any credence to the "Tom is gay" rumor: "I don't get it. I find these stories just hard to believe. We romanced in my dad's Oldsmobile doing what you are not supposed to."
Page 34: Nancy Armel, another high-school flame, also remembers fooling around in a parked car. She told Morton: "I was black and blue from the gearshift."
Page 65: Tom tried to impress Nancy by taking her to the Broadway musical La Cage aux Folles, but he "was unaware of the story line—about two gay men living together in St. Tropez." According to Nancy, "he couldn't handle it. We had to leave before the intermission. It really bothered him. He was definitely homophobic."
Page 195: Morton claims that "Tom was uncomfortable around gay men. Those who saw him in the company of some of Nicole [Kidman's] gay friends, who included designer John Galliano, noticed that he was awkward and ill at ease, much preferring the company of jocks who talked about football rather than fashion."
Courtly Knight/Night Stalker
Page 259: Just one day after Sofía Vergara met Tom, Morton says the Colombian actress "faced a blizzard of phone calls, text messages, and e-mails." Tom also "sent her flowers, notes, and chocolates."
Page 263: Eventually, Sofía got freaked out by Tom's attentiveness and his faith. When Tom arranged for a trip to Clearwater, the Scientology center in Florida, she allegedly "stood him up, packing a bag and 'disappearing' for a few days." Tom, however, wouldn't let up: "For five days he left messages and texts, but she resolutely refused to return his calls."
Page 145: During their courtship phase, Tom sent Nicole Kidman "flowers, usually red roses, almost daily."
Page 157: Tom's romancing didn't stop with clichéd flora; he also had a way with words. Morton claims that "one householder in Toronto who rented her house to the Cruises was bemused to find several love notes in her sofa cushions when she moved back in. At first she thought her husband was being uncharacteristically affectionate. Then she realized they were penned by Tom."
Page 166: Tom was always asking, "Where is Nic?" An unnamed insider confirms that he was "a control freak, certainly. … He was always checking up on Nic especially."
Page 278: Allegedly, Katie signed a Scientology contract that fundamentally changed her "human rights and those of her future children, requiring that if she or any of her children were ever to suffer from mental or terminal illness, they must turn only to Scientology's treatments. She must never use psychiatric care or psychiatric drugs."
Page 290-291: Morton repeats the sketchy tabloid rumors that Tom "bought a fetus learning system that was strapped to Katie's stomach" and that he "fitted Katie's cell phone with a tracking device so that he would know where she was day and night."
Page 289: Without naming his sources, Morton spins the following yarn: "Some [Scientology] sect members sincerely believed that Katie Holmes was carrying the baby who would be the vessel for L. Ron Hubbard's spirit when he returned from his trip around the galaxy. True believers were convinced that Tom's spawn would be the reincarnation of L. Ron Hubbard. Some Sea Org fanatics even wondered if the actress had been impregnated with Hubbard's frozen sperm." How'd Katie feel about all this? Morton puts his intuitive powers to the test to produce this gem: "Katie might have felt as if she were in the middle of a real-life version of the horror movie Rosemary's Baby, in which an unsuspecting young woman is impregnated with the Devil's child."
Page 109: Scriptwriter and onetime Scientologist Skip Press conjectures that Tom's first wife, Mimi Rogers, "made a play for Tom with the primary intention of bringing him into the [Scientology] cult and leapfrogging over him to an acting career."
Page 123: When Tom accepted an invitation to the Scientology Gold Base in the California desert, head honcho David Miscavige allegedly announced to his staff: "The most important recruit ever is in the process of being secured. His arrival will change the face of Scientology forever."
Page 153-154: Tom and Nicole shared a "fantasy of running through a meadow of wildflowers together." Eager to please his recruit, Miscavige "decided to make his dream come true. A team of twenty Sea Org disciples was set to work digging, hoeing, and planting wheat grass and wildflower seed near the Cruises' bungalow. Former Scientologist Maureen Bolstad recalled working until early in the morning in the mud and pouring rain." Sounds implausible, but Morton quotes another former Scientologist, Karen Pressley, as saying: "the story of the meadow for Tom and Nicole is absolutely true. I was there."
Page 171-172: By 1993, Morton says Tom "progressed to what Scientologists call 'the Wall of Fire,' or Operating Thetan III, where the secrets of the universe according to Hubbard [are] revealed." Allegedly, "Tom found the knowledge he had just received disturbing and alarming, as he struggled to reconcile the creationist myth with the more practical teachings contained in the lower levels of Scientology. … It was recalled that around this time relations became 'ugly' between David Miscavige and the Hollywood actor, Tom complaining that he had studied all these years and the whole faith was about space aliens."
Page 250: Tom's disenchantment didn't last long. Morton writes that by 2004, Tom "reached the exalted level of Operating Thetan VII, where Hubbard promised that man would become his own god." What's level VII like? According to former Scientologist Peter Alexander, "You believe that all your problems are due to these thetans. So when you come back into reality, you're like, 'Wow, this is a nice day, my dog's been killed but that doesn't matter, I realize that I am a being who has lived endlessly contacting all those long-lost body thetans. So nothing is really a problem.'"
Juliet Lapidos is a former Slate associate editor.
Photograph of Tom Cruise on Slate's home page by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images for Overture.