Marriage impossible: End of a Hollywood romance

After six gossip-filled years, Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes are divorcing

Los Angeles

A match made in celebrity heaven, which blossomed on Oprah Winfrey's sofa and sparked a never-ending succession of glossy magazine spreads and paparazzi photographs, seems poised to end in acrimony after Tom Cruise and Katie announced that they are to divorce.

Lawyers for the high-profile couple, who have been husband and wife for almost six years, released competing statements tonight confirming reports that their marriage will suffer the traditional Hollywood ending. Their headline-profile double act began in 2005, and they have six-year-old daughter, Suri, together.

“This is a personal and private matter for Katie and her family,” read a comment from Jonathan Wolfe, a divorce attorney based in New Jersey, who is representing Ms Holmes. “Katie's primary concern remains, as it always has been, her daughter's best interest.”

Wolfe's client anonymously filed paperwork in New York this week, seeking separation due to what she called “irreconcilable differences.” The documents reveal that she is seeking sole legal custody and “primary residential custody” of Suri, along with a “suitable amount” of child support.

A spokesman for Cruise, who is in Iceland filming the action movie Oblivion said. “Kate has filed for divorce and Tom is deeply saddened and is concentrating on his three children.” His  media statement added optimistically: “Please allow them their privacy to work this out.”

At stake in the forthcoming legal showdown between the couple is not just the custody of their child, but also the spoils of a joint fortune estimated at roughly $275 million, most of which comes from Cruise’s long career as both an actor and Hollywood producer.

Under normal circumstances, US law dictates that divorcing spouses split their assets 50-50. But at the time of their wedding in 2006, it was widely reported that Holmes had signed a pre-nuptial agreement which would entitle her to a mere $3 million for each year of marriage.

Her divorce filing makes no mention of such an agreement, however, seeking instead a straightforward division of property. The tabloid news website TMZ, which quoted from the legal paperwork, cited both that and Holmes’s request for sole custody of Suri as evidence of “some nastiness” in the spilt.

Cruise began dating Holmes in 2005. Their relationship became public fodder in dramatic fashion shortly afterwards, when he gave a flamboyant interview to Oprah Winfrey.

That interview, which has since become part of Hollywood lore, saw the Top Gun and Mission Impossible star leap onto Winfrey's sofa and issued a surreal proclamation of love for his young paramour, who had achieved famme on the TV series Dawson's Creek. “I can't be cool... I can't be laid back. It's something that has happened and I feel I want to celebrate it and I wanna celebrate her," he declared. "She's a very special woman!”

A whirlwind romance ensued, which saw the couple married in November 2006 at a 15th Century Italian castle, in a ceremony presided over by David Miscavige, the head of the Church of Scientology, which counts Cruise as one of its most prominent members.

It’s unclear whether friction over the controversial faith contributed to the breakdown in the couple’s relationship, but Ms Holmes has never taken a prominent role in Church affairs. They are also reported to have clashed over Cruise’s hectic work schedule, which frequently saw him separated from his family for some time.

Holmes becomes the third ex-wife of Tom Cruise, who was married first to Mimi Rogers, in the 1980s, and secondly to Nicole Kidman, with whom he adopted two children, Connor and Isabella.

Despite that case history, Cruise does not seem to have seen the latest divorce coming. Only last month, he told People magazine of his affection for Holmes, saying: "She's funny and charming, and when she walks into the room, I just feel better. I'm a romantic... I'm just happy, and I have been since the moment I met her. What we have is very special.”

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