Why Hollywood can't stand Tom Cruise

Over the course of more than 35 years, Tom Cruise has evolved from a floppy haired heartthrob into one of the most powerful and polarizing figures in Hollywood. He flew straight into the hearts of female viewers the world over as Pete "Maverick" Mitchell in aerial romance Top Gun (1986), and he won the male vote as Ethan Hunt in the stunt-laden Mission: Impossible franchise (1996-), gradually building a reputation as one of the film industry's genuine megastars. But somewhere along the way, the love Cruise had grown accustomed to began to fade, and the public's perception of him changed drastically. Once the man that every guy wanted to be and every girl wanted to be with, the name Tom Cruise has since come to mean something completely different on both sides of the gender divide, but why? This is how Cruise became so hated in Hollywood.

People grew skeptical of his beliefs

Acting aside, Cruise is best known for his passionate advocacy of the Church of Scientology. He credits the faith with helping him overcome dyslexia and plays an active role in the controversial church. Cruise was introduced to Scientology by his first wife, actress Mimi Rogers, whose father, Phil Spickler, was a prominent member of the movement.

According to a Radar Online interview with ex-member Nancy Many, Cruise was targeted by the church. "I knew some of the people who kid-gloved him into becoming a member," she said. "The manipulation is often unseen or unnoticed by the person being manipulated."

While no sane person will hate someone based solely on their faith, Cruise's perceived hypocrisy when it comes to Scientology often grinds people's gears. The A-lister made headlines when he tried to have an official video of him ranting about the privilege he felt as a Scientologist removed from YouTube.

He started getting involved in politics

Despite Rogers and Cruise separating in 1990 after three years of marriage, his dedication to Scientology continued to intensify. Cruise's fervent beliefs transformed him into an international lobbyist, spearheading the church's drive to become a recognized religion in Europe with little success. According to the Irish Examiner, leaders in Paris came to an agreement in 2005 not to make him an honorary citizen because of his affiliation with the church.

Cruise's mission didn't fare much better in Germany. The BBC reported in 2007 that the country was refusing to allow World War II thriller Valkyrie (2008) to be shot on its military sites because of the Hollywood star's affiliation with Scientology. While the government did finally soften its stance and allow the production access, German religious leaders were not so welcoming, with a chief spokesman from the Protestant Church comparing Cruise with Nazi Minister of Propaganda Joseph Goebbels. Spokesman Thomas Gandow claimed Valkyrie would "have the same propaganda advantages for Scientology as the 1936 Olympics had for the Nazis."

He's been divorced three times

Not long after splitting from Rogers, Cruise tied the knot with Days of Thunder (1990) co-star Nicole Kidman. That duo became the Hollywood power couple of the '90s, but when their union ended after 11 years, it marked the beginning of the end for Cruise's untarnished public image.

After his brief relationship with Vanilla Sky (2001) co-star Penélope Cruz, the Church of Scientology allegedly launched a secret auditioning process to find Cruise a new wife. According to Vanity Fair, English-Iranian actress Nazanin Boniadi was selected as a suitable match, but then reportedly booted months later in favor of actress Katie Holmes. The Dawson's Creek (1998-03)star became Cruise's third wife, marrying him in a fairy-tale ceremony in a 15th Century Italian castle, and thus, TomKat was born. Less than six years later, Holmes filed for divorce, with the Daily Mail reporting she feared their daughter, Suri, would be brainwashed by Scientologists if she didn't end her marriage and get her kid out while she still could.

He developed a reputation as a control freak

Persistent rumors that Cruise is controlling behind closed doors have followed the actor for years. Us Weekly reported that Kidman often lived in the shadow of Cruise. "We would go to the Oscars and I would think, I'm here to support him," the Australian stunner said. "I felt it was my job to put on a beautiful dress and to be seen and not heard."

In an interview with David Letterman not long after their divorce, Kidman joked that she was now able to wear high heels again (Kidman is several inches taller than Cruise), though her ex's behavior at the end of their marriage was no laughing matter. Alex Gibney's documentary Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief (2015) alleges Cruise had members of the church wiretap Kidman's phone so they could keep tabs on her and manipulate divorce proceedings.

According to the Daily Mail, Cruise became even more controlling in his next marriage, reportedly telling Holmes exactly what she could wear and who she could see. As if to show solidarity with Kidman, one of Holmes' first public appearances after her separation from Cruise was in a pair of 4-inch heels.

His controls issues extend to the set

Cruise's alleged control over his exes pales in comparison to claims of his disastrous micromanagement of his films. As Variety reports, Curise's reboot of The Mummy, which they claim has gotten "brutal" reviews, is the latest of his films to be negatively impacted by his interference. According to insiders, Cruise revamped the entire script, heavily influenced the direction, editing, and even marketing of the film, which produced a dismal $32 million dollar domestic opening weekend. International returns have been better, though insiders still doubt the film will recoup its combined production and marketing costs.

And The Mummy wasn't the first film tainted by Cruise's obsessive meddling. According to actor R. Lee Ermey, collaborator and friend to the late director, Stanley Kubrick, the failure of Eyes Wide Shut was also due to the star's ego-tripping. Ermey told Radar Online (via The Guardian) that Kubrick had confided in him that he felt the film was "a piece of s**t," because "Cruise and Kidman had their way with him."

He's lost the female fan base

Telling women what they can and can't wear is one way to make yourself extremely unpopular among the female demographic, but telling them how to give birth is a different kind of insult entirely. When Holmes was pregnant, Cruise was forced to address rumors that he was demanding his wife give birth in complete silence, a practice Scientologists believe prevents permanent psychic scars caused by a negative vibe at birth. According to ABC News, Cruise was even rumored to have had a special pacifier made to keep Holmes quiet during delivery, though the A-lister insisted the church's "silent birth" method isn't as strict as many believe.

It wasn't the first time Cruise stuck his nose into the childbirth debate. He made headlines in 2005 when he openly criticized Endless Love (1981) co-star Brooke Shields for taking medication to help her cope with postpartum depression. Shields responded by telling Cruise that he "should stick to saving the world from aliens and let women who are experiencing postpartum depression decide what treatment options are best for them."

Cruise's third and final strike came when his alleged on-set infidelity was exposed. Rumors that Scientology big wigs encouraged Cruise to cheat on first wife Rogers with second wife Kidman on the set of Days of Thunder were reportedly confirmed by former senior church executive Marty Rathbun.

Studios got sick of him, too

Cruise's behavior off the big screen eventually began to affect his career. In 2006, Paramount Pictures ended its 14-year working relationship with the actor, fearing his erratic actions were going to negatively impact receipts for the upcoming Mission: Impossible III. Apparently, it wasn't just the actor's affiliation with Scientology that had the studio sweating. Cruise's bizarre appearance on Oprah led many to question his sanity, with viewers watching in disbelief as he jumped up and down on his chair maniacally while declaring his undying love for Holmes.

Redstone was quoted by CNN saying that although "we like him personally, we thought it was wrong to renew his deal. His recent conduct has not been acceptable to Paramount."

He became one of Hollywood's most overpaid actors

The gender pay gap has been an issue in Hollywood for a long time. According to Tinseltown stalwart Alec Baldwin, the problem is not sexism, but a select few A-listers, such as Cruise, who demand ridiculous pay. In a 2009 comedic monologue, Baldwin cracked (via E! Online,) "I believe we can balance the scales if Tom Cruise would lower his quote by a mere $29 million. I realize this may be a bit unfair since he's not here to defend himself and I really don't want to put this all on one man, but if I had to, that man would be Tom Cruise."

Cruise didn't seem to take notice. The Hollywood Reporter revealed in 2016 that Mission: Impossible 6 hit a roadblock in the form of Cruise's hefty wage demands, with disagreements over back-end profit delaying production. It's now scheduled for a 2018 release. In fact, Forbes named him one of the most overpaid actors of 2015, returning just $13.60 for every dollar he was paid that year.

He's become too powerful for his own good

Despite questioning the diminutive star's profitability, Forbes is well aware of the influence Cruise holds, naming him the most powerful actor on a number of occasions. He topped the list in 2006 after War of the Worlds (2005) cleaned up at the box office, and again in 2012 after Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol (2011) brought the franchise back from the brink. While most studios strive to get the big names on board, when those egos get too inflated and start calling the shots themselves, it can become a problem.

Cruise's reputation now precedes him, but Cruise has had better luck cracking the increasingly lucrative Asian market. Japan's crush on Cruise exploded into a full on affair after the release of 2003's The Last Samurai, with the country declaring a national holiday in his honor. October 10 was named Tom Cruise Day, a celebration that apparently involves some pretty bizarre Cruise cosplay.

He's tried to convert other celebs

Devoting one's life to a faith created by a science fiction writer is all well and good, but trying to coerce other A-list celebs into doing the same sounds, to many, like propaganda. Former high-ranking Scientologist Gary Morehead told the Daily Mail that Cruise had an unhealthy obsession with David Beckham and viewed the British soccer star as the ideal convert. That conversation never came to pass, but it allegedly wasn't for a lack of trying on Cruise's part.

According to the 2015 report, in an attempt to lure Beckham to Scientology headquarters, Cruise ordered Sea Org members to create a full-size soccer field. It was all for nothing, as Beckham and wife Victoria reportedly pulled a no-show, doing their budding pop star son Cruz Beckham a huge favor in the process—"If Everyday Was Auditor's Day" doesn't quite have the same ring to it as the original.

Did he abandon his daughter?

Cruise has three children: Isabella and Connor were adopted with Kidman during their marriage, and Suri was fathered with Holmes before they split. Eyebrows were raised when Cruise missed his eldest daughter's Scientologist wedding in 2015, though Bella (who now has a child of her own) claims she does keep in contact with her dad. The same cannot be said for Cruise's youngest, however.

According to a June 2016 report from In Touch, Cruise has not had contact of any kind with Suri in years. Cruise has allegedly blamed his absence on a busy work schedule, though the excuses have been supposedly wearing thin with both Holmes and Suri, according to an insider. "Tom eats, breathes and sleeps Scientology," the source told In Touch. "He's disconnected from Katie, and then de facto from Suri, because of her connection to Katie. He hasn't seen her since she was 7." Suri turned 10 in 2016.

It became popular to hate him

Does Cruise really deserve to be hated in Hollywood and beyond? Some say all this negativity boils down to a simple case of jumping on the bandwagon. For every film fan that harbors a genuine hate for the man, there's another who will avoid his movies based solely on the sway of public opinion.

Still, the old adage "there's no such thing as bad publicity" seems to ring true in this case. Gossip has followed Cruise his entire life, yet his star power has continued to prevail. Despite his questionable beliefs and erratic outbursts, Cruise remains in high demand, reaffirming his position as one of the industry's top leading men. He continues to regularly release blockbusters, and while some have failed to recoup their huge outlays domestically, all have pulled in profits from the worldwide market.