Prediction: Within 10 years, Cruise will renounce Scientology and write a best-selling tell-all. The new religious movement sure seems to be mucking up an otherwise brilliant career.

At least everything’s peachy in the TomKat household, according to a gushing profile of Katie Holmes in the January issue of InStyle. It’s actually kind of refreshing seeing this sort of pap in the midst of all the raunchy blogging and tabloid screamers surrounding the controversial couple of the moment. Tongues are wagging, rumors flying, publishers and
editors and hacks are frothing at the mouth, checkout-lane moms and dandies are feverish over gay rumors...and InStyle turns out this mawkish piece of careful adoration.

But not to worry. On January 15, an unauthorized Tom Cruise biography by Andrew Morton, the Brit who wrote a tantalizing bio on Princess Diana in 1992 that may have led to the royal divorce that followed, hit shelves—Scientology, gay rumors, warts, and all.

It’s a shame the tabloid speculation and lawsuits and Cruise’s own weird behavior have come to overshadow an otherwise spectacularly all-American film career.

“I’ve never made a film that I didn’t believe in,” he’s said. “However the picture turns out, I’ve always given everything to it. That’s kind of how I approach life. I can’t help it. There’s no partway with me on anything in any area of my life.”

The actor was born Thomas Cruise Mapother IV on July 3, 1962, in Syracuse, New York. His mother, Mary Lee, a special education teacher, left his father, an electrical engineer, when Cruise was 12. Cruise and his sister, Lee Anne, moved from town to town with their mother throughout their childhoods.

“Because I grew up in so many different places,” the actor has said, “I was used to rumors [about me]. You know, I didn’t have the right shoes, I didn’t have the right clothes. I even had the wrong accent.”
Cruise, who suffers from dyslexia, went to eight different grade schools and three high schools. For a time he attended a Franciscan seminary, where he studied to be a priest. He ended up graduating from Glen Ridge High School in New Jersey in 1980.

He has spoken publicly about his abusive father, describing
him as a “bully” and a “merchant of chaos.” He has also said
that he “knew from being around my father that not everyone
means me well.” He changed his name at age 12.

Cruise wrestled in high school, and got into acting after injuring his knee. He got the lead in a production of Guys and Dolls, and never went back to grappling.

“Ah, so this is life—
it’s a little bigger than I thought!”

After moving to New York City in 1980, Cruise kept afloat
on odd jobs before getting his first break with 1981’s Endless
Love, which starred Brooke Shields—whom Cruise would
controversially take to task over anti-depressants, on national
television, more than two decades later.

It was 1983’s Risky Business that catapulted Cruise and stamped him forever into the American consciousness as a high schooler sliding around in his socks and undershorts to Bob Seger’s now unlistenable “Old Time Rock & Roll.”

“I remember getting through high school and thinking, ‘Boy, I’m glad I got that behind me!’ ” he’s said. “Then, when I was 19, I got Risky Business, and I realized, ‘Ah, so this is life—it’s a little bigger than I thought!’ ”

Cruise was lucky to avoid the same fate of many members of the so-called Brat Pack, his contemporaries who specialized in eighties teen-angst films, only to become relegated to the straight-to-video heap today.

His first big actioner and adult role was Top Gun, which dominated the summer of 1986 and also ruined a perfectly good song. Does anyone get misty anymore over the Righteous Brothers’ “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’ ”?

Top Gun tipped the Hollywood domino, and his subsequent movies are some of the highest-grossing films of all time. Still, the actor has been quoted, “Every single time I start to do a picture, without fail, I feel as if I don’t know what I’m doing.”

In 1987 Cruise married actress Mimi Rogers, who is believed
to have introduced him to Scientology. They divorced in 1990.
Years later, defending his faith in no uncertain terms, he was quoted: “Some people, well, if they don’t like Scientology, well, then, f--k you. Really. F--k you. Period.”

He met Nicole Kidman on the set of 1990’s Days of Thunder, and they married that year. The couple adopted two children. They starred together in 1992’s forgettable Far and Away. They reunited for the super-secretive filming of Stanley Kubrick’s Eyes Wide Shut in 1999.

Their marriage ended in 2001, and Kidman later had a miscarriage. The new unauthorized biography claims that Scientology officials encouraged Cruise to leave Kidman after an interview she gave Newsweek in 1998, in which she called herself “a catholic girl.” Author Morton writes that Cruise took a church course in 1999 designed to identify “those in his life who create problems and difficulties.”

“Shortly after Kidman’s Newsweek interview, senior Scientology leaders discussed their strategy to keep Tom in the fold,” writes Morton. “The fear was that a lukewarm Nicole could fatally compromise Tom’s commitment to his faith.”

The book says Kidman was given the heave-ho in January 2001 via a lawyer’s letter, in which the actress “was told she would never make another movie.”

Cruise met gorgeous prancing pony Penelope Cruz on the set of 2001’s Vanilla Sky. They dated for three years.

Things got weird around 2005, the year Cruise announced his relationship with Katie Holmes. Fans scratched their heads when he jumped the couch on The Oprah Winfrey Show while professing his love for Holmes.

His public enthusiasm seemed suspect: “This woman is magnificent!” he gushed on TV. “I got to tell ya, this woman is magnificent and I’m having the best time...and I’m really, really, really happy.”

On June 24, he got into it with Matt Lauer on The Today Show over psychiatry, a discipline frowned upon by Scientology and which he called a “pseudoscience.” He attacked Brooke Shields for taking medication for postpartum depression, and called psychotherapy a “Nazi science” in Entertainment Weekly.

The Cruise buzz was raging by the time he announced he’d proposed to Holmes atop the Eiffel Tower. They got hitched in Italy in November 2006. Holmes gave birth to daughter Suri on April 18, 2006, amid tabloid speculation over supposedly strange Scientology birthing practices.

In August 2006, during all the Scientology hoopla, Viacom chairman Sumner Redstone announced that Viacom subsidiary Paramount was ending its development deal with Cruise after 14 years. Redstone cited the under-performance at the box office of Mission: Impossible III, saying it was due to the actor’s “bad behavior.” In November Cruise and some MGM execs revived United Artists, through which Cruise will produce and star in his own films.

“Every single time I start to do a picture, without fail, I feel as if I don’t know what I’m doing.”

In his new book, Andrew Morton claims that members of the Scientology sect Sea Org told him that Suri is actually the daughter of founder L. Ron Hubbard, the result of in vitro fertilization with his frozen sperm.

“Some sect members sincerely believed that Katie Holmes was carrying the baby that would be the vessel for L. Ron Hubbard’s spirit when he returned from his trip around the galaxy,” writes Morton. “Some Sea Org fanatics even wondered if the actress had been impregnated with Hubbard’s frozen sperm. In her more reflective moments, Katie might have felt as if she were in the middle of a real-life version of the horror movie Rosemary’s Baby. ...”

Burt Fields, Cruise’s longtime friend and attorney, said his client is “very angry” over the book.

“It’s so bizarre and grotesque to imply that [Suri] is fathered by the frozen sperm of L. Ron Hubbard.... You just look at Suri, and you see Tom and Katie,” Fields told the NY Post. Fields told London’s Daily Mail that the bio is “poorly researched and badly written, and it’s not really even about Tom Cruise—it’s an attack on Scientology.”

“It’s just the lowest of the low,” said Scientology’s chief counsel, Elliot Abelson.

The Morton book also suggests that Cruise is No. 2 in the church hierarchy. Church reps say there is no such position. “The church is run by executives in the church, and he is not part of that and has never been a part of that,” said Abelson. The church is reportedly considering legal action.

Morton researched the book for two years, and hired an ex-gay porn star named Paul Baressi, who now works as a private investigator in L.A., to prove Cruise is gay. It was reported that Baressi had given Morton letters from Fields confirming Cruise had had a gay affair while shooting Eyes Wide Shut. Cruise first threatened to sue Morton over the book two years ago.

Since the book’s publication, the church has been feverishly trying to suppress a made-for-Scientologists video popping up on the Internet in which Tom Cruise is imploring members of the religion to “get in the game or get out of the stadium.” It’s set to a Mission: Impossible-style theme music.

There have been several successful lawsuits, many having to do with rumors of Cruise having gay relationships. In 1998 he sued the British tabloid Daily Express for an article claiming his marriage to Kidman was a front. His lawyers threatened to sue author David Ehrenstein because his book, Open Secret: Gay Hollywood 1928­1998, stated that Cruise was appealing to both sexes. Gay porn actor Chad Slater was ordered to pay him $10 million in damages for claiming he’d had an affair with Cruise. Magazine publisher Michael Davis was sued for claiming he had photos that proved Cruise was gay; he retracted the claim in exchange for the suit being dropped.

Whatever the truth about Tom Cruise, as long as he puts out the occasional decent blow-’em-up or sci-fi chase flick, who cares whom he beds, votes for, or prays to? Still, his autobiography will make for interesting reading someday.