The Wildest Tom Cruise Interviews Ever

After kicking off his acting career in the early '80s, Tom Cruise quickly became a household name, regularly fronting successful franchises like Mission: Impossible. However, the A-list actor hasn't been without his fair share of controversy. With his public ties to Scientology and high-profile relationships with the likes of Nicole Kidman, Katie Holmes, and Penélope Cruz, Cruise has found himself on the front page of many tabloids throughout his time in Tinseltown. Not to mention, he's also become known to give eyebrow-raising interviews on occasion ... and jump on the odd couch whenever the mood strikes him.

From seriously awkward interactions with interviewers to evasive answers to seemingly simple questions, and from leaked Scientology videos to publicly falling out with fellow celebs, Cruise has continued to keep his fans guessing. While the Hollywood heavyweight rounds out the fourth decade of his impressive movie career, let's take a look at the wildest Tom Cruise interviews ever.

Tom Cruise vs. the unbelievers

As one of Scientology's most famous proponents, Tom Cruise's involvement with the religion has been well-documented. So, it's entirely unsurprising that the actor has, well, enthusiastically, discussed his commitment to Scientology in multiple interviews throughout his career. In 2004, for example, the Jerry Maguire star opened up about the matter to The Guardian, saying, "Some people, well, if they don't like Scientology, well, then, f**k you." Apparently, the three-time Oscar nominee only got more animated about his beliefs as he discussed what he might say to a non-believer, with the journalist explaining, "He rises from the table. 'Really.' He points an angry finger at the imaginary enemy. 'F**k you.' His face reddens."

Cruise's intensity only continued throughout the interview. "Yeah, I lose my cool. But I'm not a hothead," the movie star revealed. "I'm not someone who screams at people. It takes a lot. It depends on the situation, know what I mean? You look at something and you think, 'How much is it going to take to get it done?'" Clearly, Cruise is a man of passion — but don't even think about criticizing Scientology when he's around.

Cruise took on psychiatry ... and Brooke Shields?

Cruise's vocal support of Scientology led him to make his feelings on psychiatry clear in 2005. "I've never agreed with psychiatry, ever," he told Matt Lauer on the Today show. "Before I was a Scientologist I never agreed with psychiatry. And when I started studying the history of psychiatry, I understood more and more why I didn't believe in psychology." Just weeks before what turned into a tense exchange with Lauer, Cruise had openly slammed actress-model Brooke Shields' use of anti-depressant medication to treat postpartum depression, according to People.

For her part, Shields penned an Op-Ed for The New York Times that July in response to the Magnolia star's ongoing public rants about psychiatry. "I'm going to take a wild guess and say that Mr. Cruise has never suffered from postpartum depression," she wrote, before taking umbrage with the actor's claim that vitamins and exercise could replace medication. Calling his comments "a disservice to mothers everywhere," Shields added, "To suggest that I was wrong to take drugs to deal with my depression ... shows an utter lack of understanding about postpartum depression and childbirth in general."

It's worth noting that Shields, who starred in Cruise's very first movie, 1981's Endless Love, appeared to put this drama behind her when she attended his wedding to Katie Holmes in November 2006.

On 'wild and woolly' Scientology

Nothing screams intense commitment like the video Tom Cruise recorded for the 2004 International Association of Scientologists meeting. The nearly 10-minutes worth of footage leaked four years later and saw the Top Gun actor address members of the church on important issues, per The Telegraph

While discussing how he felt Scientologists viewed the world, Cruise used the scene of a car accident as an example, claiming, "As you drive past, you know you have to do something about it because you know you're the only one that can really help." However, the wilder moments happened when Cruise connected this belief to his own life. Admitting that he wished "the world was a different place," he said, "I'd like to go on vacations and go and romp and play. But I can't because I know. I know — so I have to do something about it." Cruise later called the Scientologist lifestyle "rough and tumble," adding, "It's wild and woolly and it's a blast." He continued, "It really is fun because, dammit, there's nothing better than going out there and fighting the fight and suddenly you see things are better." Cruise's candid description of the religion was certainly unexpected, and probably gave everyone in attendance a little food for thought.

That couch-jumping moment

Cruise's 2005 interview on The Oprah Winfrey Show immediately caught the public's interest due to the actor's hyper on-air performance — from blushing profusely when pressed for details about his blossoming relationship with actress Katie Holmes to infamously jumping on the host's yellow couch. "I admired her and I thought that I wanted to meet her, so I called her," Cruise revealed when asked how they met. Calling his future bride "extraordinary," he added, "I can't be cool, you know what I mean? I can't be laid back." 

Indeed, Cruise was anything but "laid back" throughout the appearance, in which he even discussed his romantic side, which included taking the Dawson's Creek alum out on a motorcycle ride at the beach. "We've never seen you behave this way before," Winfrey opined, to which Cruise replied, "I know." He then jumped up on to the couch — a much-memed move — and laughed before saying, "I'm gone and I don't care." When asked if he was getting enough sleep, Cruise admitted, "No, I'm not." He later jumped on the couch a second time as Winfrey began to say, "Katie once told Seventeen magazine that her dream was to marry Tom Cruise." Much to the in-studio audience's delight, Cruise went on to drag Holmes out from the green room. However, the highly-gifable couch jump is one the internet has yet to forget, and, according to HuffPost, marked a distinct shift in Cruise's public image.

Who hasn't danced to the Mission: Impossible theme tune?

Celebrity reporter Katie Coyne's interview with Tom Cruise was nothing short of legendary. She detailed their extremely personal and slightly bizarre encounter in her 2016 book, I'm Your Biggest Fan: Awkward Encounters and Assorted Misadventures in Celebrity Journalism. The A-list actor began by showing off his impressive memory. Having genuinely remembered the journalist from a previous interview, he told his publicist, "You gotta ask her sometime about how she met her husband ... They were camp counselors together." But this wasn't the only unforgettable part of this particular interview.

Coyne went on to detail a surreal moment during which Cruise danced to Kanye West's version of the Mission: Impossible III theme tune. "To describe Tom's dance style as the white man's overbite (bite your bottom lip while pumping fists lamely) doesn't really do it justice," she wrote. "There is an additional move — something akin to pantomiming driving a car, whereby you must squat slightly while putting one arm straight out and moving it from side to side — that puts the Tom Cruise Dance truly over the edge." It sounds like Cruise can be endearing, surprising, and maybe even a little kooky on a good day ... but that image is pretty hard to shake.

Reflecting on his 'year of jumping dangerously'

In 2008, Cruise addressed the memorable year he'd had in 2005. Between jumping on Oprah Winfrey's couch, his tense interview with Matt Lauer, and his altercation in the press with Brooke Shields, the actor admitted to People magazine, "I think I could have handled things better." As for his exuberant, on-air spirit when interviewed by media mogul Oprah Winfrey, Cruise referred to it as "my year of jumping dangerously." 

Realizing that his enthusiastic behavior throughout 2005 had set off a chain reaction of rumors about his life, religious beliefs, and relationships, Cruise was ready to set the record straight three years later. Of his interview with Lauer, he told the publication, "All I want is to help people. I could've communicated it in a way that was better, no question." As for the misconception that he was a controlling husband, Cruise said, "Anyone with that perception doesn't know who I am — and doesn't know who Kate is at all." Despite this push back, his year of "jumping dangerously" certainly wouldn't be forgotten anytime soon.

Inspiration for American Psycho?

One of the wilder rumors surrounding Tom Cruise is that Christian Bale allegedly based his character in American Psycho, Patrick Bateman, on the actor after watching Cruise give an interview on the The Late Show with David Letterman. Mary Harron, who directed the film, told BlackBook in 2009, "We talked about how Martian-like Patrick Bateman was, how he was looking at the world like somebody from another planet, watching what people did and trying to work out the right way to behave." She added, "And then one day [Bale] called me and he had been watching Tom Cruise on David Letterman, and he just had this very intense friendliness with nothing behind the eyes, and he was really taken with this energy." 

It's never been confirmed which Late Show interview Bale reportedly saw. However, American Psycho came out in 2000, so it's possible he caught Cruise's 1999 appearance. During said interview, the movie star burst into hysterical laughter while regaling the titular host of the time he had to conserve limited oxygen on a plane he was piloting by turning off the air supply to the passenger section. (Don't worry — the passenger woke up unharmed after Cruise landed the plane.) Still, while Letterman joked that this act could've been deemed as "attempted manslaughter," Cruise just carried on laughing with tears in his eyes.

But does he watch his own movies?

In July 2018, comedy writer-director Ryan Perez tweeted out a screenshot of a magazine interview Tom Cruise had done with Moviebill, which started the internet's hilarious debate on whether or not the actor had ever actually seen a movie. We'll explain. When the publication asked Cruise about his "most memorable moviegoing experience," he replied, "Boy, that's hard to say because I can basically look at my whole life in terms of films I've seen. To just name one? There's so, so many films that have been memorable to me. I love movies." Cruise continued, "I can remember since I was a little kid, going to the theater or the drive-in and what it meant to me. When the lights go down and I'm just taken on a journey, going to places that I didn't even know existed or different worlds that I wished were real. Incredible adventures. Drama. Comedy. That's what I love." 

Readers may notice that the one thing Cruise didn't do was actually name any of his favorite movies. As a result, ScreenCrush conducted a tongue-in-cheek investigation, trying to decipher if Cruise had, in fact, ever watched a movie. Ultimately, the media outlet concluded that the actor had seemingly seen at least some movies during his life, but his seriously evasive Moviebill interview was still pretty funny — especially considering the fact that Tom Cruise is one of the world's most famous actors.