For almost 10 years, Tom Cruise‘s home base was a Beverly Hills compound befitting one of the top-grossing movie stars of all time: a 10,000-square-foot main manor house, tennis court, swimming pool, playground and guest apartments.
But as he spent increasingly little time in Hollywood in recent years — instead making movies in London and around the world – Cruise decided to pick up stakes, selling the estate for $39 million in 2016 (he bought it in 2006 for $30.5 million.) “He made an amazing profit, and he was very involved in the process,” says a source.
Since then, he has spent much of his time living in a London hotel while filming movies including The Mummy and his new blockbuster Mission: Impossible—Fallout. But he’s also been busy renovating a penthouse apartment in Clearwater, Fla. as a new home base.
For much more about Cruise’s life now, pick up the new issue of PEOPLE.
The two-story apartment, which boasts a gym, home theater and flight simulator, is just a block from the Church of Scientology’s international headquarters, and Cruise’s son Connor, 23, lives in the area, as do other Cruise family members.
“It was obvious that he didn’t want to be in L.A. any more,” says a source. “He has been filming around the world nonstop
and when he is off, he prefers Florida.”
The renovations are still in the finishing stages, but Cruise has already stayed in the apartment, sources tell PEOPLE in the new cover story. “He’s very relaxed when he’s here,” says a local source. Adds Donna Li, who works nearby and has spotted Cruise out and about with Scientology staffers: “When Tom is here, he’s surrounded by people, but he really seems very happy. He’ll wave and smile, but he doesn’t really engage in conversation.”
Cruise has been a committed Scientology member since the late ’80s after his first wife, Mimi Rogers, introduced him to the religion, and is close with its leader, David Miscavige. He has credited the church with helping him find success after a difficult childhood and a struggle with dyslexia.
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He told Playboy in 2012 that Scientology was “a search for how I can do things better”—but bristled at the scrutiny of his involvement: “If I don’t talk about my religion, if I say I’m not discussing it or different humanitarian things I’m working on, they’re like, ‘He’s avoiding it.’ If I do talk about it, it becomes, ‘Oh, he’s proselytizing.'”
Mission: Impossible — Fallout opens Friday.