Friday, January 9, 2009

Tom Cruise — Hollywood heart-throb, transformed by love

Hollywood heart-throb, sofa-jumping Scientologist and once Australia's favourite son-in-law. After all this time in the public eye, we think we know him so well. Yet, few actors remain as enigmatic.
How many reporters can say they had the opportunity to fly in a Cessna piloted by the one and only Tom Cruise — and turned it down? Probably not many.

I had my chance to fly with Tom back in the spring of 1996. At the time, I was scheduled to do an interview with him to talk about his film, Mission Impossible. On the appointed day, he called and asked me to meet him at an airport hangar in Burbank, California.

When I arrived, he greeted me in ripped jeans, a brown bomber jacket and matching boots. "Come on," he said with a firm handshake and gleaming smile, "I'm taking you up with me." I laughed. "Up where?" I asked. "Up there," he said, pointing to the billowing clouds above southern California. "We're goin' flyin', my man."

He then motioned over his shoulder, towards the smallest aircraft I had ever seen. When he sensed my hesitation, he explained that he'd got his flying licence two years earlier and had since logged hundreds of hours. I didn’t have to think too long or hard, though. I declined.

"But why?" he asked. "Because, to be honest, I’m afraid," I told him. He looked surprised. "Okay, that's cool," he said, unable to hide his disappointment. Then he added, "But why not think of it this way? If we do crash, you will have died with Tom Cruise behind the wheel. Now, how cool would that be?"

When he realised I thought he was serious, he smacked me on the back and burst out laughing. "I'm kidding, my friend. Maybe some other time then, okay? After all," he concluded, "you can't always just go with what you know, now can you?"

It could be said that he speaks from experience. In fact, it just so happens that Tom Cruise is a man who recently took a big chance himself — a chance on love. Luckily, he saw it pay off for him, big time.


Tom Cruise
Love him or loathe him Tom Cruise is renowned world-wide for his acting abilities as well as his involvement in a string of high profile relationships. Cruise has come a long way since his breakthrough in Risky Business in 1983.

A young Cruise
Casual and cool in a corduroy jacket and jeans, Cruise takes a break from the party for the 100th episode of 'Entertainment Tonight' in Los Angeles 1982.

Cheeky Grin
Cruise flashes his infamous grin outside the Bevely Hilton Hotel California in 1983.

Tom Cruise in Top Gun
Cruise is instantly recognisable for his role as LT Pete 'Maverick' Mitchell in Top Gun.The film was released in 1986 and broke box office records accumulating over $350 million world-wide.

Top Gun
Hearthrob Cruise as LT Pete 'Maverick' Mitchell in the film Top Gun. The film follows the struggles of 'Maverick' who aspires to be a top fighter pilot in the U.S Navy Fighter Weapons School.

Tom Cruise at Madrid's First Church Of Scientology
Tom Cruise is renowned for his strict and somewhat controversial devotion to Scientology.

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