Just days ago he gushed about his wife and their close, loving family life
What went so wrong so quickly?
Sadly, those days appear to be over.
On Thursday, five days before Cruise’s 50th birthday, Holmes, 33, filed divorce papers in New York, leaving Cruise “deeply saddened” – and their fans searching for answers.
Although the couple have faced breakup rumors ever since their whirlwind romance led to an engagement, baby and then marriage, the timing and circumstances of the breakup still came as a shock – and raised the question of whether the actor was taken by surprise.
Cruise confirmed that it was Holmes who filed papers – not him – and the brief statement from his rep spoke of the star needing privacy to “work this out.”
The tone of the terse statement is a long way from his upbeat tone in interviews promoting Rock of Ages, gushing about Holmes, whom he married in November 2006 in a lavish ceremony in an Italian castle.
“She is an extraordinary person, and if you spent five minutes with her, you’d see it,” he told Playboy in last month’s issue. “Everything she does, she does with this beautiful creativity. She’s funny and charming, and when she walks into the room, I just feel better … What we have is very special.”
But even as he continued to sing her praises, several media outlets did take note that Holmes did not join her husband at the June 8 Hollywood premiere of Rock of Ages.
Cruise explained to PEOPLE that Holmes had another commitment in China with a charity organization, leaving Cruise with their 6-year-old daughter Suri.
Also, the couple were spotted strolling together June 18 in Reykjavik, Iceland, to visit Cruise’s film location. Holmes then returned without him to their home in New York, where she has been photographed on the street with Suri, the most recent sighting on Thursday – the day of the divorce filing.
Katie’s Primary Concern
The only clue to Holmes’s state of mind came from her lawyer’s statement saying the actress’s “primary concern” was Suri. To that end, perhaps, TMZ reports Holmes is seeking primary residential custody of their daughter.
If this is the first salvo in a divorce battle it would be a powerful one against Cruise, who in his PEOPLE interview spoke at length about his love of spending time with his daughter, whether at home playing games or during her visits to his film sets.
“It’s so much fun. Suri is just so lovely and so much fun to be with,” he said. “On weekends we do arts and crafts. With Kate, there’s always dancing and singing and all that kind of stuff in the house. Now Suri has friends all over the place, so wherever we go, they’re also there.”
His two older children with second wife Nicole Kidman, Bella, 19, and Connor, 17, are also frequently with them, along with Cruise’s nieces, nephews, his sisters and their families.
“They all love Suri,” he said, adding that he and Holmes are constantly striving to be the best parents possible – staggering their work schedules so somebody could always be with Suri and making a point to spend quality family time together.
“Every day, Kate and I go: How did we do?” he said. “Kate and I look at each other like: Well, we had a good day today. We all work at it.”
For more on the shocking split, follow PEOPLE.com and pick up the next issue of PEOPLE magazine, on newsstands Monday
Tom & Katie’s 1st Year of Marriage