In a telling new interview out this weekend in PARADE magazine, Tom Cruise talks candidly about his father -- a father he claims was abusive and "a merchant of chaos."
Speaking at his home to PARADE Contributing Editor Dotson Rader, Tom says his childhood was difficult. "I had no really close friend, someone who understands you. I was always the new kid with the wrong shoes, the wrong accent. I didn't have the friend to share things with and confide in." He says that loneliness, combined with a father who he calls "a bully and a coward," made growing up extremely hard.
Tom says his father was "the kind of person where, if something goes wrong, they kick you. It was a great lesson in my life -- how he'd lull you in, make you feel safe and then, bang! For me, it was like, 'There's something wrong with this guy. Don't trust him. Be careful around him.' There's that anxiety."
As a young boy, Cruise could not read and was placed in remedial classes. That, he says, combined with his small stature, made him feel isolated and excluded -- and also caused him to be picked on. "So many times the big bully comes up, pushes me," he said. "Your heart's pounding, you sweat, and you feel like you're going to vomit. I'm not the biggest guy, I never liked hitting someone, but I know if I don't hit that guy hard he's going to pick on me all year. I go, 'You better fight.' I just laid it down. I don't like bullies."
Cruise also discusses his two previous marriages to Mimi Rogers and Nicole Kidman. "I don't forget the good times I had with those people," he says. "I'm respectful of what we had together. I don't try to think about every horrible thing there was. But you don't live life and not know heartache, sorrow and fear. You learn that those things are just part of life. That takes some doing, but it can be done."
Before ending the interview, Cruise introduced Rader to his his current fiancee Katie Holmes. In the article, Rader describes her as "dazed, passive and vacant."
"He began hooting how beautiful she was," says the author. "Touching and kissing her like a teenage boy on his first backseat date, aware that he was being watched."