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Just weeks after shrugging off breakup rumors, Tom Cruise, 43, and Katie Holmes, 27 (pictured earlier in Sydney Harbour), welcomed their first child together. As for a wedding, Cruise told GQ, "We're kind of looking at late summer, early fall."
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A REGULAR MOM
Before the birth, Holmes went about business as usual, shopping solo around L.A. "She's so quiet and demure," an observer told PEOPLE of the actress (on April 15). "If she wasn't surrounded by bodyguards, you wouldn't even know she was famous."
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ON THE RUN
Holmes flashed her bump March 18 as she and Cruise snuck out of a Beverly Hills gym after watching his daughter Isabella, 13, play basketball. The action scene was typical for the globetrotting couple. "I think that this kid, if I had to guess, will be a stuntperson," said JJ Abrams, Cruise's Mission: Impossible 3 director.
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Going for a dip Down Under, the couple stayed in sync despite a tabloid report of a split – a story their rep called "100 percent false." "They appeared to be a happy, loving couple," Aussie broadcaster Richard Wilkins told PEOPLE. "He looked loving and attentive, and she appeared to be equally happy and in love."
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After announcing her pregnancy in October, Holmes debuted her bump – and previewed her parenting skills – at one of Isabella's soccer games in Beverly Hills (the couple also often watch Cruise's son Connor, 11, play baseball). The pregnancy "is a great thing for them," a source says. "They are totally happy."
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FUEL FOR TWO
Holmes, in West Hollywood in February, hasn't done press for her new movie, Thank You for Smoking – perhaps because she's been too busy prepping for motherhood. She told Access Hollywood she and Cruise had started putting together a baby room, and confessed, "I'm learning how to knit."
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At the Le Taha'a resort in French Polynesia last month, Holmes shared some quality time with Connor and Isabella. "She almost seems born for motherhood," says her Dawson's Creek costar Oliver Hudson. "She's a nurturer. She's got mother qualities a lot of girls her age don't have. She wouldn't be having a baby if she wasn't ready."
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On Dec. 15, Cruise threw Holmes a 27th birthday party, complete with balloons and stuffed giraffes, at New York City's FAO Schwarz toy store. "She found her happiness," says a Holmes pal. "She's going to be a mother at 27. She has everything she wants."
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HOLIDAY ON ICE
Later that night, the party moved to Central Park's Wollman Rink, where they had the ice to themselves. Holmes was "beaming," says a bartender at the Post House restaurant, where the couple dined before the bash. "Pregnancy doesn't treat every woman well, but it suits her."
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After their New York City celebration, the pair flew to Miami, where they shared a stage with married pals Will and Jada Pinkett Smith (Cruise's Collateral costar). When will Cruise and Holmes, who have been engaged since June, tie the knot themselves? Most likely "in the summer or early fall," Cruise told Barbara Walters.
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In December, Holmes shopped with mom Kathleen (pictured), dad Marty and Cruise's mother, Mary Lee South, at Barney's New York in Manhattan. Despite the distance, Holmes's Toledo-based parents "are staying in close contact with her, and they are positive and loving," says a family friend. "That's how they are."
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In Las Vegas in January, the beaming parents-to-be chatted up Ellen DeGeneres at a promotional event. When the couple appeared on her talk show that month, they promised to name their child Ellen (Dellen if it's a boy) after DeGeneres offered her babysitting services.
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IN HER SHOES
Proving pregnancy hasn't cooled her heels, Holmes shoe shopped with fellow famous mom Victoria Beckham at Barneys New York in Beverly Hills in January. Holmes already has a head start on her little one's footwear: Cruise's War of the Worlds costar Dakota Fanning, 11, says she sent the couple "little baby Uggs."
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Boy or girl, Cruise and Holmes's child will be welcomed by delighted parents (in Rome last year). "That baby is going to have a good life, because of the good, caring people that (Tom and Katie) are," says Cruise's pal, King of Queens star Leah Remini. "That baby is going to be very, very loved."