Weeks after ending her engagement with actor Chris Klein,
Holmes began in early 2005 a highly publicized relationship with
actor Tom Cruise,
sixteen years her senior. In June, two months after they first
met, she became engaged to Cruise. Their relationship has made
Holmes the subject of international media attention, much of it
highly negative, the press speculating the relationship was only
a publicity stunt to promote the couple's films. Many reports
commented negatively about the interest of Holmes, born a Roman
Catholic, in Cruise's religion, Scientology. The couple
announced Holmes was pregnant in October 2005; on April 18,
2006, Holmes gave birth to a baby girl, Suri Holmes Cruise.
Since she began dating Cruise, Holmes has not worked as an
Katie Holmeswas born in the northwestern Ohio city of Toledo, the youngest in a family of five children (four daughters, one son) of Kathleen and Martin Joseph Holmes, Sr. (born 1945), an attorney specializing in divorces. She lived in the Corey Woods section of Sylvania Township, Lucas County, in a brick 1862 Italianate home with a white picket fence. Her siblings are Tamara (born c. 1968), Holly (born c. 1970), Martin (born 1970), and Nancy (born c. 1975). Holmes, born a Roman Catholic, attended Christ the King Church and parochial schools in Toledo. Her high school was the all-female Notre Dame Academy, her mother's alma mater, where Katie was a 4.0 student. At St. John's Jesuit, a nearby all-male high school, she appeared in school musicals, playing a waiter in Hello, Dolly and Lola in Damn Yankees. She scored 1310 on her SAT and was accepted to Columbia University; her father wanted her to be a doctor. Holmes loved reading: "I never feel lonely in a bookstore," she said. A British writer profiling her in 2003 said "The way Holmes approached her unusual education was as American as apple pie: she went to cheerleading practice, got straight A grades, and made a pledge that she would remain a virgin until marriage." Holmes told her hometown paper The Blade that the three words best describing herself were "honest, determined, and imaginative."
At fourteen Katie began classes at a modeling school in Toledo run by Margaret O'Brien, who took her to a New York City talent expo in 1996. There she found an agent after performing a monologue from To Kill a Mockingbird. An audition tape was sent to the casting director for the 1997 film The Ice Storm, directed by Ang Lee. She was cast in a small role, Libbets Casey, in the film which starred Kevin Kline and Sigourney Weaver. Ang Lee told The Blade, "Katie was cast because she had the perfect amount of innocence and worldliness that we needed for Libbets. I was really taken by her wide open eyes. She really is a beautiful girl but there is also a lot of intelligence there and it shows."
In January 1997, Katie Holmes went to Los Angeles for pilot season, when producers cast and shoot new programs in the hopes of securing a spot on a network schedule. The Blade reported she was offered the lead in Buffy the Vampire Slayer but she turned it down. Columbia Tri-Star Television, producer of a new show created by screenwriter Kevin Williamson, asked her to come to Los Angeles to audition, but there was a conflict with her schedule. "I was doing my school play, Damn Yankees. And I was playing Lola. I even got to wear the feather boa. I thought, 'There is no way I'm not playing Lola to go audition for some network. I couldn't let my school down. We had already sold a lot of tickets. So I told Kevin and The WB, 'I'm sorry. I just can't meet with you this week. I've got other commitments.'"
The producers permitted Katie Holmes's to audition on videotape. Holmes read for the part of Joey Potter, the tomboy best friend of the title character in Dawson's Creek, on a videotape shot in her basement, her mother reading Dawson's lines in a scene where the dialogue included talk of s-- and masturbation. The Hollywood Reporter claimed the story of Holmes's audition "has become the stuff of legend" and "no one even thought that it was weird that one of the female leads would audition via Federal Express."
Katie Holmes won the part. Paul Stupin, executive producer of the show, said his first reaction on seeing her audition tape was "That's Joey Potter!" Creator and executive producer Kevin Williamson said Holmes has a "unique combination of talent, beauty and skill that makes Hollywood come calling. But that's just the beginning. To meet her is to instantly fall under her spell." Williamson thought she had exactly the right look for Joey Potter. "She had those eyes, those eyes just stained with loneliness."
Joey Potter "is a headstrong, vibrant, wily, sultry, and determined go-getter. And yet, in a gloriously contradictory manner, in spite of her tough-as-nails exterior demeanor, Joey's also a frail, sometimes uncertain, emotionally sensitive, in-need-of-love person," said the show's official book. Joey, named for Jo in Little Women, for years had been climbing in Dawson's bedroom window and platonically sharing his bed. Joey's mother had died from cancer when Joey was thirteen and her father, Mike (Gareth Williams), was in prison for "conspiracy to traffic in marijuana in excess of 10,000 pounds.” Her harried and very pregnant sister, Bessie (Nina Repeta), about ten years older than Joey, was raising her while running the Ice House restaurant, where Joey worked as a waitress. GQ described Joey as "kind of an uptight fussbudget—one who's always twisted up over doing the right thing and bungling-up ways to hook up with her crush and across the creek neighbor, Dawson."
"I'm a lot like Joey," said Holmes. "I think they saw that. I come from a small town. I was a tomboy. Joey tries to be articulate and deny that she doesn't have a lot of experience in life. Her life parallels mine, which is all about new everything—relationships, personal perceptions—and about being guarded." Holmes filmed the pilot of Dawson's Creek in Wilmington, North Carolina, during spring break of her senior year of high school in 1997. When the show was picked up by The WB, Holmes moved to Wilmington, where the show filmed.
The tall (5 ft 9 in.) brunette enchanted the press, writers of both s--es commenting how Holmes was the sort of girl one wants to bring home to meet the parents and to marry. "The Audrey Hepburn of her generation," was one typical comment. Time called her "impossibly lovely" and Entertainment Weekly said she was "next up for idolhood." Variety, reviewing the pilot, said Holmes "is a confident young performer who delivers her lines with slyness and conviction." Holmes made such an impression in Hollywood, The New York Times Magazine claimed everyone was seeking to cast a "Katie Holmes type", who, the reporter claimed, "is a throwback to the 1950's: she is a smart girl next door (as opposed to the babe-o-rama blondes)"—the sort represented by her Dawson's Creek co-star Michelle Williams. But her "type" was no less attractive, Arena magazine declaring her "the most coquettishly s--y woman on television. Anywhere."
The show was aggressively marketed by The WB Network before its premiere in January 1998. The cast was featured in the J. Crew catalog and trailers for the program were shown in movie theatres. Before the premiere, the show's talk of s-- caused a stir in the press; one of the show's producers, Procter and Gamble, withdrew after negative press in its hometown newspapers. Holmes was soon on the covers of magazines such as Seventeen, TV Guide, and Rolling Stone. Jancee Dunn, an editor at Rolling Stone said she was chosen for the cover because "every time you mention Dawson's Creek you tend to get a lot of dolphin-like shrieks from teenage girls. The fact that she is drop-dead gorgeous didn't hurt either."
Reviews were mixed. The Blade said the characters "just talk like they came from a planet ruled by Manhattan psychologists, one where small talk is punishable by death."Holmes herself needed help with the dialogue. "Sometimes before we read a script, I have to get my dictionary and call people to make sure I'm pronouncing some of the words correctly."The show brought her national attention and many fans back home; Toledo's Thanksgiving Day parade in November 1998 had record attendance when Holmes was named grand marshal.
Dawson's Creek ran from 1998 to 2003, and Holmes was the only actor to appear in all 128 episodes. "It was very difficult for me to leave Wilmington, to have my little glass bubble burst and move on. I hate change. On the other hand it was refreshing to play someone else," she said in 2004. Holmes confirmed that, as is often the case on soaps, the character was a caricature of the actor:
I miss her spirit, and her spunk, and I miss her anxiety. Katie Holmes always had these long speeches about her fears and her future and love. It was a great tool for me personally because I got to get it all out. I was able to psychoanalyze all of it everyday with her and then I wouldn't have to do it on my own. So much of me is in Joey and it really felt like I grew up on television.
"As Joey," claimed Life," Holmes has had seismic influences on teen life . . . Through it all, Joey has managed to hang on to her integrity. . . The show—and Katie's character in particular—has touched a nerve."
In 2005, Katie Holmes characterized her film career as being a string of "bombs." "Usually I'm not even in the top ten," she said, the highest grossing film of her career at that time being Phone Booth, in which she played a supporting role. Katie Holmes lamented "It's not like I have a lot of stuff that's great just waiting for me to sign on to."
Her first leading role came in Disturbing Behavior (1998), a Scream-era Stepford Wives-goes-to-high school thriller, where she was a loner from the wrong side of the tracks. Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times wrote her character, Rachel, "dresses in black and likes to strike poses on the beds of pickup trucks and is a bad girl who is in great danger of becoming a very good one." The actress won a MTV Movie Award for Best Breakthrough Performance for the role, though Holmes said the film was "just horrible.
Katie Holmes played a disaffected supermarket clerk in Doug Liman's acclaimed ensemble piece Go (1999). She had an uncredited cameo with Dawson's Creek co-star Joshua Jackson in Muppets from Space (1999), which was also filmed in Wilmington. Kevin Williamson's disaffection for his high school days spawned Teaching Mrs. Tingle (1999), which he wrote and directed. Holmes played a straight-A student whose vindictive teacher (Helen Mirren) threatens to keep her from a desperately needed scholarship.
In Wonder Boys (2000), directed by Curtis Hanson from the novel by Michael Chabon, Holmes had a small role (six and one-half minutes of screen time) but nevertheless attracted the attention of numerous film critics with her performance as Hannah Green, the talented student who lusts after Professor Grady Tripp (Michael Douglas), her creative writing instructor and landlord. Kenneth Turan of The Los Angeles Times said she was "just right as the beauty with kind of a crush on the old man." In The Gift (2000), a Southern Gothic story directed by Sam Raimi and starring Cate Blanchett, she played the antithesis of Joey Potter: a promiscuous rich girl having affairs with everyone from a sociopathic wife-beater (Keanu Reeves) to the district attorney (Gary Cole), and is murdered by her fiancé (Greg Kinnear). Holmes did her first nude scene for the film, baring her breasts in a scene where her character was about to be murdered. Of the scene, she said, "I just hope there aren't a lot of pauses on DVD players." Her appearance was lamented by Variety's Steven Kotler: "It seems the only time we see a naked woman on screen is when someone like Katie Holmes needs to break with her sanitized WB past and march brazenly into a new future."In Ohio, the scene met with disapproval, Russ Lemmon writing in The Blade:
Toledo's Katie Holmes—whose popularity is probably directly
proportional to her perceived level of sweetness and
innocence—bares her breasts in The Gift. . . Say it ain't so,
Katie. . . Katie's topless scene was gratuitous. It added
nothing to the movie . . I hope it added to her checking
account, above and beyond what she would have received for
appearing fully clothed throughout. I also hope her contract
stipulated that she will receive a percentage of DVD rentals and
sales. As one Internet writer on roughcut.com put it: Katie's
topless scene assures that "The Gift will be the DVD most rented
by teenage (and not teenage) boys in the history of freeze
frame" . . . It seems to me that the four years that she spent
cultivating a wholesome image vanished in just a few seconds—in
a potential box-office bomb, no less.
In Abandon (2002), written by Oscar winner Stephen Gaghan, Holmes was a delusional, homicidal college student named "Katie." Todd McCarthy of Variety and Roger Ebert commended her performance, but other critics and audiences savaged it. The actress played the mistress of the public relations flack played by Colin Farrell in Phone Booth (2002) and Robert Downey, Jr.'s nurse in The Singing Detective (2003). Holmes's next starring role was in Pieces of April (2003), a gritty comedy about a dysfunctional family on Thanksgiving. Variety said it was "one of her best film performances." "Each actor shines," wrote Elvis Mitchell, "even Ms. Holmes, whose beauty seems to have fogged the minds of her previous directors" in playing "a brat who is slaving to find her inner decency and barely has the equipment for such an achievement, let alone to serve a meal whose salmonella potential could claim an entire borough. Yet it is her surliness, as well as her intransigent determination to make Thanksgiving work, that keeps the laughs coming."
Katie Holmes played the President's daughter in First Daughter, which was originally to be released in January 2004 on the same day as Chasing Liberty, the Mandy Moore film about a presidential daughter, but was ultimately released in September 2004 to dismal reviews and ticket sales. First Daughter, directed by Forest Whitaker, also starred Michael Keaton as her father and Marc Blucas as her love interest. The Hollywood Reporter's Kirk Honeycutt called her character, Samantha Mackenzie, "a startling example of how a studio film can dumb down and neutralize the comic abilities of a lively young star." In the 2005 film Batman Begins, the most successful film of her career to date, she played Rachel Dawes, an attorney in the Gotham City district attorney's office and the childhood sweetheart of the title character. Variety was unenthusiastic. "Holmes is OK," was its critic's sole remark on her performance. She received a Golden Raspberry nomination for "worst supporting actress" for the film.
In 2006, Katie Holmes appeared in the film version of Christopher Buckley's satirical novel Thank You For Smoking about a tobacco lobbyist played by Aaron Eckhart, whom Holmes's character, a Washington reporter, seduces. Variety wrote one of the film's "sole relatively weak notes came from Holmes, who lacks even a hint of the wiliness of a ruthless reporter" and The New York Times said the cast was "exceptionally fine" except for Holmes, who "strained credulity" in her role.
Holmes had agreed to play the wife of Spade Cooley, who was stomped to death by the country singer, in a biopic, Shame on You, written and directed by Dennis Quaid, who is to play Cooley. But the picture, set to shoot in New Orleans, Louisiana, was delayed by Hurricane Katrina, and Holmes dropped out because of her pregnancy.
Katie Holmes hosted Saturday Night Live on February 24, 2001, participating in a send-up of Dawson's Creek where she falls madly in love with Chris Kattan's Mr. Peepers character and singing "Hey, Big Spender" from Sweet Charity. On the November 9, 2003 episode, she was Punk'd by Ashton Kutcher and the next year she was the subject of an episode of the MTV program Diary.
Katie Holmes was annually named by both the British and American editions of FHM magazine as one of the s--iest women in the world from 1999 forward. (See Category:FHM lists.) She was named one of People's "50 Most Beautiful People" in 2003; its sibling Teen People declared her one of the "25 Hottest Stars Under 25" that year; and in 2005, People said she was one of the ten best dressed stars that year. She has appeared in advertisements for Garnier Lumia shampoos and clothing retailer The Gap.
Mark Bashian, a student at the Los Angeles Film School, wrote and directed a short film entitled Kissing Katie Holmes, released in August 2005, about a student filmmaker attempting to get Holmes to appear in his film. The picture was an official selection of the 2006 San Fernando International Film Festival.
Katie Holmes purchased a townhouse in Wilmington in 2002. When Dawson's Creek ended its run in 2003, she moved to Los Angeles, California, then New York City in 2005. Holmes dated her Dawson's Creek co-star Joshua Jackson for several months early in the show's run, the relationship ending amicably. She told Rolling Stone, "I fell in love, I had my first love, and it was something so incredible and indescribable that I will treasure it always. And that I feel so fortunate because he's now one of my best friends."Holmes met actor Chris Klein in 2000. A Midwesterner like Holmes—he grew up in Illinois and Nebraska—Klein and Holmes were engaged in late 2003, but in early 2005 she and Klein ended their relationship. Press accounts cited the distance imposed by their careers as a factor. Klein in the fall of 2005 said of the split "We grew up. The fantasy was over and reality set in." He denied they were still friends or talked as Holmes had claimed.
Weeks after her relationship with Chris Klein ended, Holmes began dating actor Tom Cruise. Their first public appearance together was on April 29 in Rome, Italy, at the David di Donatello Awards, the Italian equivalent of the Oscars. Her family expressed support, with her father stating, "We're very excited for Katie," and saying his daughter was "a very mature young lady with a good head on her shoulders. From all we have read and heard about Cruise, he's a humanitarian and a real class act. From the perspective of a parent, we're very excited for both of them." Holmes's sister Tamara said, "They're both wonderful people."
Holmes, born a Roman Catholic, began to "embrace" the Church of Scientology soon after she began dating Cruise, a longtime member of and outspoken advocate for the church, who had himself been raised as a Catholic. On May 23, Cruise appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show, jumping on Winfrey's couch and vociferously declaring his love for Holmes. He went backstage and pulled the embarrassed actress onto the program. Cruise proposed to Holmes in the early morning of June 17 atop Paris's Eiffel Tower; she accepted. At the press conference, attended by Holmes's mother, Cruise announced the news, declaring, "Today is a magnificent day for me. I'm engaged to a magnificent woman."
Gossip columnists dubbed the pair "TomKat." Articles appeared doubting the actors' sincerity and speculating their very public relationship was artifice designed to promote the actors' upcoming films. They noted that Cruise had been extremely private about his personal life and the flaunting of his new relationship was a marked contrast from his past behavior; the series of "bombs" Holmes has appeared in; the succession of actresses Cruise has dated since his divorce from Nicole Kidman, e.g. Penelope Cruz and Sofia Vergara; and Holmes's recent breakup. A poll in People found that 62 percent of readers believed the Cruise-Holmes affair was merely a publicity stunt. The New York Times published a story with the skeptical headline "I Love You With All My Hype" and compared the relationship to the public relationships of actors Rock Hudson and Tab Hunter. The Boston Globe was equally dubious, claiming "If this is a romance, it looks more like a tireless campaign, and he seems less like a man giddily in love than an overbearing used car salesman. It may also explain why few seem to be buying whatever it is Cruise is working so hard to sell." The New York Post asked "What if they concocted a publicity stunt and nobody bought it?" and quoted CNN's Bill Hemmer wondering "what kind of sham is this?" The entertainment trade paper The Hollywood Reporter quoted an observer. "One minute, they were having a professional meeting. The next they were lovers." Ray Richmond of the Reporter envisioned a scene in a publicist's office:
While the Cruise-Holmes pairing could be legit, it just seems like the kind of made-for-Us-Weekly pairing that was cooked up in a backroom with the stars, their reps and various image consultants in attendance. Had you been a fly on the wall, you might have heard, "OK, Tom, you get to be linked with an actress in her mid-20s to help people forget that even actors who can open blockbusters are not immune from the aging process. Katie, you get the boost of being associated with a hunky superstar as your career is starting to gain steam. Just sign right here."
Katie Holmes's sister and publicist, Lee Anne DeVette, protested the talk of such a stunt proclaiming, "I don't understand it. It's just insane. There's nothing going on here except that there's a man and a woman who are dating each other and are exceptionally happy."
Many stories in the press negatively noted Holmes's interest in Cruise's religion, the Church of Scientology, some suggesting she had been coerced or "brainwashed" into it. Soon after beginning her relationship with him, Holmes fired her long-time manager and agent and acquired a new "best friend", Jessica Rodriguez, a prominent member of the Church of Scientology described as part of its "royalty." Rodriguez has been referred to as Holmes’s Scientology "minder" as she follows the actress everywhere and tells Holmes what to say during interviews. Robert Haskell, who wrote W magazine's cover story on the actress, said Rodriguez "was described to me as Holmes's 'Scientology chaperone' and it was clear that she would be on hand during our interview despite my protests." This was in contrast to Holmes's earlier press, which noted approvingly she "arrives without the ubiquitous PR person in tow."In an April 2006 interview with ABC News's Diane Sawyer, Cruise said he and Holmes were "just Scientologists" and that their child would not be baptized Catholic.
Even before Katie Holmes' engagement, her hometown paper was already speculating about "what happens if our very own 'good ole Katie' morphs into 'Katie Holmes, the former actress now better known as Tom Cruise's third wife.'"Following the engagement, the Chicago Tribune sent a reporter to Toledo who found the citizens felt the biggest star from their city was not Holmes, but Jamie Farr, who played Corporal Maxwell Klinger on M*A*S*H. "I think he's bigger than Katie. He's so humble and he's so proud of his hometown—he name-drops it all the time. If it wasn't for Jamie, I don't think people would really know about Toledo," said a Toledo waitress. Others quoted by the newspaper were puzzled by her interest in Scientology. Farr subsequently wrote a letter to the newspaper declaring "I admire Katie Holmes. She is a wonderful, beautiful actress" and "I do not feel that Katie and I are in any form of competition in the city of Toledo."
On October 6, 2005, Holmes and Cruise announced they were expecting a child and days later took a walk in a Los Angeles park to show to the world Holmes's very visible pregnancy. Holmes's Dawson's Creek co-star Oliver Hudson said, "She almost seems born for motherhood. She's a nurturer. She's got mother qualities a lot of girls her age don't have.
On April 18, 2006, Holmes gave birth to a daughter, Suri. The Los Angeles Times quoted Cruise's publicist Arnold Robinson saying "everyone is wonderful" but noted "He declined to give any other details, saying the couple wished no comments to be made beyond those in the release. He declined to give the time or place of birth or the rest of Suri's name, nor would he discuss the duration or nature of the labor." The Times summarized the written statement Cruise released on the birth as saying the name "is a word with origins in both Hebrew and Persian."
The Associated Press reported that "Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes's choice of a Hebrew-flavored name for their newborn daughter has speakers of the language scratching their heads" and quoted an Israeli television anchor saying "We seem to have learned a new Hebrew word—and from Tom Cruise, no less," while Reuters quoted a linguistics professor at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem who said "I really don't know what they were thinking when they chose this name. It's a term that denotes expulsion, like 'Get out of here'. It's pretty blunt."
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