Tom Cruise: Inside His Life

Movie star, Scientologist, dad, fiancé: Get to know the War of the Worlds star. By Emily Fromm with Jess Cagle

01 of 11

KING OF THE WORLDS

KING OF THE WORLDS
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According to Forbes magazine, which ranked him No. 10 on its latest list of most powerful celebs, Tom Cruise (at the June 23 New York City premiere of War of the Worlds) earned $31 million in the past year. "He's the man – he's the top of the food chain," Jamie Foxx, Cruise's costar in 2004's Collateral, has said.

02 of 11

FULLY ENGAGED

FULLY ENGAGED
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After a courtship of just over two months, Cruise popped the question to Katie Holmes, 26, at the Eiffel Tower on June 17. "Today is my favorite day in my entire life," he said at a press conference in Marseilles hours after the proposal. Asked whether she and Cruise, who turned 43 on July 3, plan to have kids, Holmes told PEOPLE, "Yes."

03 of 11

SPEAKING HIS MIND

SPEAKING HIS MIND
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Cruise, whose Scientology religion opposes psychiatry, clashed with host Matt Lauer on the June 24 Today show. He asserted, among other things, that "there is no such thing as a chemical imbalance." After the appearance, the actor told PEOPLE, "I believe people should be able to think for themselves and they should be able to make decisions based on information."

04 of 11

ALL WET

ALL WET
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At War's London premiere on June 19, Cruise (with his sister and publicist Lee Anne DeVette, bottom) began giving an interview only to be squirted with water from a fake microphone. Cruise later said of the stunt (for British prank show Balls of Steel): "You can't be prepared for something like that. When things like that happen I have no hesitation in confronting it."

05 of 11

MAN OF FAITH

MAN OF FAITH
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"In 1986, the year Top Gun came out, I became a Scientologist," Cruise (at the opening of a new Church of Scientology branch in Madrid last year) says. "It gave me the ability to find out for myself how I can have a happier life." The actor, born Thomas Cruise Mapother IV, credits the controversial religion with helping him overcome severe dyslexia.

06 of 11

EARLY PROMISE

EARLY PROMISE
Yearbook Archives

Despite his learning difficulties, Cruise (in a 1980 yearbook photo from Glen Ridge High School in New Jersey) enjoyed school. "I went out for athletics – baseball, wrestling, soccer, football, hockey, you name it – and really blew off a lot of steam there," he says. The turning point that made him want to be an actor: "My senior year in New Jersey, I got the part of Nathan Detroit in the school's production of Guys and Dolls."

07 of 11

KIDDING AROUND

KIDDING AROUND
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"My kids are the most important thing in the world to me," Cruise told PEOPLE in 2001. "They always have been." The busy dad makes plenty of time for daughter Isabella, 12 (left, playing soccer in Brentwood, Calif., in September) and son Connor, 10 (going for a flight on an old war plane in Burbank, Calif., last year), whom he adopted with ex-wife Nicole Kidman.

08 of 11

HAPPIER TIMES

HAPPIER TIMES
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Cruise met Kidman, his second wife (he was married to Mimi Rogers from 1987 to 1990) while casting Days of Thunder. The couple (with Connor and Isabella in 1996) wed in 1990. "We've never been separated for more than 12 days," Cruise told PEOPLE nearly a decade later. Still, they split in 2000, and a Kidman pal said at the time, "She is devastated."

09 of 11

MR. CHARISMA

MR. CHARISMA
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Despite the current controversy surrounding him, Cruise (with Holmes and Will Smith at a June 27 War of the Worlds screening in L.A.) will likely remain popular among Hollywood A-listers. His pals include Smith and wife Jada Pinkett Smith, Cruise's Collateral costar. Pre-Katie, Cruise even stepped out with Colombian model-actress Sofia Vergara, whom he met at a party thrown by the Smiths in March.

10 of 11

HANDS ON

HANDS ON
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One of Cruise's biggest fans is his 11-year-old War of the Worlds daughter, Dakota Fanning (goofing around with the actor in Paris on June 17). "Tom and I had a blast together" filming the movie, says Fanning. "We would laugh all the time and play around in between (takes)."

11 of 11

FUTURE'S SO BRIGHT

FUTURE'S SO BRIGHT
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What's next for Cruise? Making Mission: Impossible 3 – scheduled to begin filming in Italy on July 18 – and, of course, planning a wedding with his "magnificent" new fiancée (on a wild ride in L.A. on June 27). But for now, Cruise says, he's just interested in "really, really enjoying this moment."

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