The Transformation Of Tom Cruise From 21 To 58 Years Old

There's a lot that can be said about Tom Cruise. The star is a Golden Globe-winning actor, producer, and dad of three. Cruise is known in Hollywood as one of the highest-paid stars, and he's held that status for decades.

Cruise is the only son of four children, who was raised by his mom, Mary Lee (née Pfeiffer), a special education teacher, and dad, Thomas Cruise Mapother III, an electrical engineer. His parents were both from Louisville, Kentucky, where he lived for 11 years, but Cruise moved to Glen Ridge, New Jersey, with his mother following his parents' divorce in 1973, per IMDb.

As a kid, Cruise struggled to fit in, and in school, he spent his years trying to hide his dyslexia, which he was diagnosed with at age 7. The actor once described his younger self as "functionally illiterate" (via, but fortunately, he excelled in sports. In fact, he once considered pursuing a career in professional wrestling, but he suffered a knee injury during high school that , per Biography

After a teacher encouraged Cruise to join the school's production of the musical "Guys and Dolls," he fell in love with acting, and well, the rest is history. Since then, Cruise has captivated audiences around the globe, and his transformation is nothing short of amazing.

Tom Cruise sets off to New York City with dreams of becoming a star

Tom Cruise had big plans to become a Hollywood star, and he set off to New York City with his dreams at the forefront. Though he struggled to get his career off the ground in the beginning, he persevered and kept auditioning before landing his debut gig in 1981's "Endless Love," starring icon Brooke Shields. That same year, he appeared alongside Sean Penn in "Taps."

By 1983, Cruise was establishing himself as an up-and-coming heavyweight, snagging roles in 1983's "Losin' It," "Risky Business," and "The Outsiders." He portrayed the character of Steve Randle, a member of the group of young actors dubbed the "Brat Pack," with Emilio Estevez, Matt Dillon, and Rob Lowe. Though "The Outsiders" didn't receive the praise it was hoping, the gig led to roles in 1985's "Legend," and ultimately, his iconic starring appearance in 1986's "Top Gun."

"Top Gun," which became the highest-grossing film of that year (via Chicago Tribune), confirmed Cruise's status as an A-list actor and catapulted the star into a life of fame and superstardom. According to Box Office Mojo, the action-romance flick, which follows the story of Cruise's character, Lt. Pete "Maverick" Mitchell, as he joins an elite naval flight school, has earned more than $176 million in the box office to this day.

Tom Cruise becomes one of Hollywood's highest-paid actors by the 1990s

With "Top Gun" on his résumé, Tom Cruise established himself as a Hollywood hotshot, and by that time, he was making the big bucks. In the late 1990s, Cruise snagged the title of one of showbiz's highest-paid actors in the world, according to Celebrity Net Worth.

The handsome heartthrob had already earned $9 million for 1990's "Days of Thunder" and another $15 million for his work on "Interview With the Vampire" in 1994, but his bank account skyrocketed when he landed the starring role in "Mission Impossible" in 1996. Entertainment Weekly reported he "pocketed $70 million" for the hit action film, and he also "negotiated a chunk of 'Mission's' overall $465 million gross."

Cruise's monetary gain is so impressive that a report from Casumo claims he pockets more than $7,000 per word. "When taking into account everything he's been in for almost 40 years, supposedly it's as much as $7,091 per word," CinemaBlend reported in April 2020.

But, while Cruise has more money than one could ever imagine, the producer knows he has earned every dollar in his $600 million fortune. "I get paid because I'm worth it and they should pay me that much. But I've never done work for money, ever," he shared with Vanity Fair in 2000 (via The Uncool). "It is my life, it is what I do, it is what I love to do."

Tom Cruise falls in love with Nicole Kidman and starts a family

As he was cementing his place in the entertainment industry, Tom Cruise was also experiencing changes in his love life. The star walked down the aisle with his first wife, Mimi Rogers, in 1987, and they were together for three years. After they split in 1990, though, Cruise was not single for long, as he developed a deep bond with Nicole Kidman when they met on the set of "Days of Thunder."

Cruise wasn't the only one who was instantly smitten. "He swept me off my feet," Kidman recalled to Vanity Fair in December 2002. "I fell madly, passionately in love." Later that year, Cruise and Kidman said "I do," and by 1995, they were the parents of their adopted kids, daughter Isabella Jane Cruise and son Connor Cruise.

Over the next few years, Cruise and Kidman raised their kids while juggling their busy careers as Hollywood stars. In 1997 and 1998, they worked together on "Eyes Wide Shut," an erotic thriller directed by legend Stanley Kubrick. The actor landed other gigs, including 1999's "Magnolia" — which earned him a Golden Globe and Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor — followed by "Mission: Impossible II" in 2000 (via IMDb).

Just one year later, though, Cruise experienced turmoil in his personal life as he and Kidman split in 2001. Per Entertainment Weekly, the "Vanilla Sky" lead filed for divorce, citing "irreconcilable differences" as the reason.

Tom Cruise marries wife No. 3 Katie Holmes

Following his split from Nicole Kidman, Tom Cruise fixated his focus on his acting career, and throughout the early 2000s, he balanced several roles in "Minority Report," "Austin Powers in Goldmember," and "Collateral." By April 2005, Cruise's personal life started making headlines once again when he publicly debuted his relationship with Katie Holmes.

While many speculated their romance was a publicity stunt, as Cruise was starring in "War of the Worlds" while Holmes was cast as the lead in "Batman Begins," they proved how serious they were when they got engaged less than two months later in June, per The Hollywood Reporter. Before they got the chance to walk down the aisle, though, Cruise expanded his family when Holmes gave birth to their daughter, Suri Cruise, in April 2006.

The duo wed seven months later in November, marking Cruise's third trip down the aisle. Marrying the Hollywood hunk was an unbelievable moment for Holmes, who told Seventeen magazine she "used to think I was going to marry Tom Cruise" as a little girl (via The Hollywood Reporter). However, their romance eventually came to end in June 2012 when Holmes filed for divorce. At the time, Cruise's attorney called their split "a private matter," adding the actor's No. 1 priority was their "daughter's best interests" (via People).  

Tom Cruise focuses on his career, Scientology, and love

Following his a string of unsuccessful marriages, Tom Cruise became much more guarded in terms of his personal life. By 2016, Cruise sold both his L.A. mansions and purchased a penthouse in Clearwater, Florida, to focus on his work as a Scientologist. According to People, the home happens to be just one block away from the Church of Scientology's international headquarters.

Cruise has been a committed member of the controversial church since 1990, per Insider, and his involvement has been debated for years, especially since a source told Us Weekly in July 2019 that he's "not allowed" to see Suri. Regardless of the claims, plus the fact that Cruise has not been seen in public with Suri since 2013, the Church fought back, telling Us, "Everything about your inquiry misrepresents the Church of Scientology."

These days, Cruise is also heavily involved in Hollywood, as he's set to star in several upcoming films. Most impressively, he's cast in an untitled project that will be filmed in space, per The Space Shuttle Almanac (via The Independent).

Cruise isn't just busy in his professional life, though. The actor is reportedly dating actress Hayley Atwell. The two met on the set of "Mission: Impossible 7" and "hit it off from day one," The Sun reported in December 2020. "They've become fairly inseparable. They get on brilliantly, and both seem very happy." It looks like Cruise's long and admirable journey has certainly paid off.