Cruise and Holmes are spotted kissing, and the actress's dad says he's "happy and excited for Katie"

By Stephen M. Silverman
Updated April 29, 2005 09:00 AM

With photographers in Rome having captured a magic moment on Thursday – Tom Cruise nuzzling and kissing Katie Holmes – her father, attorney Martin Holmes, has something positive to say about the just-revealed relationship.

“I’m happy and excited for Katie,” the elder Holmes tells TV’s Access Hollywood. “She has a good head on her shoulders, and we must trust her judgment.”

Cruise, 42, and Holmes, 26, “have been dating a couple of weeks,” a friend of Cruise’s told PEOPLE this week.

The romance was confirmed by Cruise’s rep after he and Holmes were photographed together, hand in hand, in Rome on Wednesday evening. Later, photogs snapped the couple kissing, with Holmes sporting heels making her just a little bit taller than Cruise.

As for Holmes, “she’s a really genuine person,” says the friend of Cruise. “She’s the real deal.”

Another source says it was Cruise who made the first move: “He asked her out on a date.”

It may have been a fantasy come true for Holmes, who once told Seventeen magazine: “I think every little girl dreams about (her wedding). I used to think I was going to marry Tom Cruise.”

The actress, who launched her career on TV’s Dawson’s Creek, appears in the summer action film Batman Begins, which opens June 15. Cruise stars in director Steven Spielberg’s War of the Worlds, which hits theaters two weeks later, on June 29.

Cruise split with girlfriend Penelope Cruz last year. He and Nicole Kidman, who have two children, divorced in 2001. He was previously married to actress Mimi Rogers.

Holmes was previously engaged to actor Chris Klein, though they recently broke off their relationship.