Mission accomplished: divorce keeps lid on Scientology secrets

Cruise's swift deal heads off court case and gives Holmes sole custody of daughter

Los Angeles

It was fun while it lasted, but Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes have called time on their divorce battle, agreeing to what both sides called an "amicable" settlement which will prevent their dirty linen from being aired in court.

The deal is believed to allow the couple's six-year-old daughter, Suri, to live in New York with her mother, who will be responsible for all major decisions about her upbringing. But Mr Cruise, who is based in Los Angeles, will have extensive visitation rights.

Crucially, it will prevent both sides from having to take part in a hearing at New York's Civil Supreme Court which was scheduled for 17 July . Had the dispute not been settled by that date, gory details from their divorce filings would have entered the public domain.

"The case has been settled and the agreement has been signed. We are thrilled for Katie and her family and are excited to watch as she embarks on the next chapter of her life," said Jonathan Wolfe, an attorney for Holmes, last night. "We thank Tom's counsel for their professionalism and diligence that helped bring about this speedy resolution."

Dennis Wasser, a divorce attorney for Cruise, issued a statement to People magazine. "All the lawyers and the parties are happy that it's done," it read. "The deal was closed and we wish everyone well." Exact details of the agreement may never become public, but in a joint statement issued yesterday, the couple said they were working to reach a settlement which would be in their child's best interests.

"We are committed to working together as parents to accomplish what is in our daughter Suri's best interests," it read. "We want to keep matters affecting our family private and express our respect for each other's commitment to each of our respective beliefs and support each other's roles as parents."

The agreement caps a tumultuous 10 days which began when Holmes, 33, unexpectedly filed for divorce in New York. The move is said to have taken 50-year-old Cruise entirely by surprise. In the ensuing PR war, sources close to Holmes indicated that she had decided to end their marriage after growing concerned at the role that Cruise wanted his controversial religion, Scientology, to play in the child's upbringing.

Representatives of Cruise, meanwhile, accused his estranged wife of "playing" the media. Holmes and Cruise signed a pre-nuptial agreement which detailed how their financial interests, valued at $275m, would be shared in the event of a separation.

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