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THAT FIRST PHOTO
A month after Katie Holmes and Chris Klein call off their engagement, the former Dawson's Creek star, then 26, steps out April 27, 2005, in Rome with a new man: Tom Cruise, her childhood crush, who is 16 years her senior. "When I met Tom I was completely in love and, yes, I admired him growing up – he's Tom Cruise!" she told T: The New York Times Style Magazine.
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Two days later, the couple – dubbed TomKat by the media – make their first official (and very smoochy) public appearance together, attending the April 29 David di Donatello awards in Rome. "When I met him, he was so warm and I thought, Wow! You can be a superstar and a human being," Holmes said.
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JUMP FOR JOY (A LOT)
It was the couch-jump heard (and seen) 'round the world, when Cruise, during a May 23 appearance on Oprah Winfrey's talk show, exuberantly jumps on her couch, gushing, "I'm in love!" At the end of the show, Winfrey brings Holmes out from backstage, and the actress admits again that her childhood dream was to marry the actor. "I'm glad I was a big dreamer," she says.
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It was Christian Bale's movie, but the paparazzi only had eyes for Cruise and Holmes at the June 6 Batman Begins premiere in Hollywood.
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PUT A RING ON IT
Two months after their first appearance as a couple, Cruise uses a press conference for his upcoming film, War of the Worlds, to announce that he and Holmes are engaged. The actor says he popped the question on June 17 at Le Jules Verne restaurant atop the Eiffel Tower. "Today is a magnificent day for me, I'm engaged to a magnificent woman," he added. Holmes flaunts the ring that night at the film's French premiere.
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A SWEEPING KISS
Cruise and Holmes continue their PDA tour June 23, taking their romance stateside with a grand kiss on the red carpet at the War of the Worlds New York premiere. When asked by reporters if their over-the-top romance is a well-timed publicity stunt (after all, they both have movies to promote), Cruise says, "Something magnificent has happened to me and something extraordinary, and I'm so happy I can't restrain myself."
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A GRAND ENTRANCE
How can they top their previous red carpet appearances? How about by arriving on a motorcycle? A grinning TomKat blast onto the red carpet at a June 27 fan screening of War of the Worlds. But not everyone finds their joy infectious – Steven Spielberg tells Newsweek he's "a little upset" by claims that the romance is overshadowing their film, and French press dubs the PDA tour "The Tom and Katie Show."
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"Blue-eyed beauty" Suri Cruise is born April 18 – but the couple keep their baby under wraps until her very public debut on the Sept. 6, 2006, cover of Vanity Fair. "The moment the doctor handed me Suri," Holmes tells the magazine, "I was just ready. The feeling is indescribable. All I can say is the moment I looked in her eyes I felt like ... Mom."
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THE NIGHT BEFORE
The twosome prep to tie the knot in an extravagant, star-studded, weeklong wedding fest in Italy. The night before the big event, Holmes's parents, Martin and Kathleen, host a rehearsal dinner for the pair on Nov. 17, 2006, at the 17th-century Villa Aurelia. "It didn't take much time before I realized this Tom guy was a special guy – that he loved Katie, that he cared for her and supported her," Martin says in his toast to the actor.
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On Nov. 18 – a year and a half after their first appearance as a couple – Cruise and Holmes marry in a 20-minute "double ring" Scientology wedding at Odescalchi Castle as Victoria and David Beckham, Jennifer Lopez, Will and Jada Pinkett Smith and more stars look on, bringing their very extravagant – and very public – courtship to a close.