Katie Holmes first CAUGHT THE EYE OF THE PUBLIC at the age of 19. But true fame came to her at the height of her relationship with Tom Cruise. When she split up with Cruise, she had to build her career anew
WHEN SHE WAS LITTLE, Katie’s parents had no idea that their youngest daughter would choose a career in acting. “The Midwest, where I grew up, is a special world. Hollywood is about as far away as the moon,” she recalled later. Katie’s passion for acting began with school musicals.
She struck lucky when her potential was spotted by an agent at a competition, leading to an audition in LA and a part in the psychological drama The Ice Storm. When filming ended, she left Hollywood to go back to school, but Hollywood would not let her go: she was invited by Kevin Williamson to audition for a teen drama TV series. “I’m sorry. I can’t meet with you this week. I’ve got other commitments,” was Katie’s response.“No way was I was going to drop everything to go to LA without playing in the school show.” But the producers of Dawson’s Creek allowed Katie to record her audition - with her Mum reading the other part - on a cassette. “She had amazing eyes, stained with loneliness,” recalls Kevin Williamson. “Of course, she got the part.”
As the series played out, Katie became immensely popular. Her face was on the covers of all the teen magazines. And her fame was further boosted when she was cast in Kevin Williamson’s horror comedy Teaching Mrs Tingle. “Suddenly,” says Katie, “everyone stalled recognizing me!” And then the show came to an end. “Change is something I hate, so it was difficult for me to leave the set where I had spent the last six years. It was as if a glass bubble separating me from the rest of the world had burst!” But there were new roles ahead: in 2005 Katie played Batman’s closest friend in Batman Begins. The film did well at the box office. Katie moved to LA and started planning her career. “I grew up in a large family and was the youngest of four sisters. When you’re the youngest in a family, you have to stand out - because the others have already got there first. So I tried to be the centre of attention right from the beginning and did everything possible to get into the him industry. And I wanted my personal life to be just as successful as my career!”
In 2005, after a lengthy relationship, Katie split with her partner, Chris Klein, telling him that she “needed more personal space”. Several months later, she met Tom Cruise at a party in Hollywood. “When Top Gun came out, my sisters went mad about him, but I simply said, ‘One day I’ll marry him.'” Cruise declared his love for Katie on the Oprah Winfrey Show, notoriously leaping onto the studio sofa to shout out, “I love this woman and I want the whole world to know!” Katie was sure she would be a better wife to him than his two previous spouses, and was not afraid to say so in interviews. “Tom has never lived life to the full. In fact, we’re only just beginning to live properly right now.” The press named the couple ‘TomKat’ and delighted in all the details of their relationship - from Cruise's marriage proposal at the top of the Eiffel Tower to their lavish wedding in Italy and the birth of their daughter, Suri.
Her birth compelled Katie to review her priorities. For a couple of years she gave up appearing in films. And then, instead of doing the Batman sequel, she opted to play in a dubious comedy which bombed at the box office. But she wasn’t going to give up. She made her debut on Broadway and returned to TV in The Kennedys as Jackie Kennedy. ‘Jackie was always so elegant, even when she was sad or frightened. I’m full of admiration for her - for how she defended the Kennedy name and stood up for her children.” Meanwhile, Katie’s own family life was cracking up under Toni’s attempt to place her under total control. She was worried by how, as Suri grew older, Tom started insistently introducing her to the Church of Scientology’s way of life.
After five years of apparently happy marriage, everything came crashing down in an instant. Taking her daughter with her, Katie left for New York to consult with divorce lawyers. The case never came to court: Cruise was keen to avoid any information about scientologist customs becoming known to the public. Katie was given sole custody of her daughter, but was sworn to silence about Cruise’s way of life. After divorcing Cruise, Katie again played Jackie in a sequel to the TV series - this time as Kennedy’s widow, who keeps close to his family in the most dramatic moments of their life following the assassination of Bobby Kennedy and during the trial of Ted Kennedy.
“Now I have a normal life with an abnormal timetable,” she says. “I set myself a goal without thinking whether it's difficult or not. I simply go ahead and do it.” Katie has started directing her own films. The first was All We Had, the story of a woman whose difficult life involves her travelling around the country with her daughter. Currently, Katie Holmes is single (at least, officially), independent, and full of energy. “I’ve stopped being afraid and stopped living according to other people’s rules. I don’t have a five- year plan. I feel like a teenager and do lots of things I used to do at that age - I draw, cook, and still sometimes feel like I’m a young girl rather than an experienced woman. When I’m 90, perhaps I’ll still think that I’ve got some growing up to do!”. ♦