The story of the TomKat marriage and divorce is yet another reminder of how unsettling the actor has become.
The speed with which Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes separated and then reached a settlement is jaw-dropping in the world of celebrity divorces, which tend to drag out for months, or even years. But it's far from the first thing that's unusual about the dissolution of their marriage, which prompted less a reaction of earnest surprise and more one of perplexity that they lasted that long at all. They were a curious pairing: He, arguably the biggest movie star in the world (and inarguably the best-compensated), an egocentric eccentric; she, a cherubic everygirl best known for a teen primetime soap and a string of commercially underperforming films who was serious, even self-effacing in contrast to some of her spotlight-thirsty contemporaries.
But she also seemed too smart to get involved with a religious zealot like Cruise, which made her participation in the carefully controlled media spectacle of their courtship and ensuing marriage a compelling mystery. Cruise's couch-jumping in their initial romance, coupled with Holmes's robotic, brainwashed enthusiasm about it (as best documented in Robert Haskell's chilling 2005 profile for W and FOX News' eerie recap of the early days of their engagement) makes both of them suspect. It brands Cruise as particularly strange, though, since he seemed to be the one pulling the strings. A decade ago, we might have asked who wouldn't want to marry a rich, famous heartthrob like Tom Cruise. After Holmes, we're likelier to ask ask, who would? Maybe another girl with glassy eyes and a Manchurian Candidate mien, but if Cruise intends to remarry, he may have a hard time finding anyone in the A-list who meets those criteria.