13 Wild Facts We Never Knew About Tom Cruise

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Vote up the Tom Cruise facts more fascinating than his movies.

Tom Cruise has been one of the top movie stars in the world for decades. There is a lot that is known about the soon-to-be 60-year-old actor, such as his three marriages and divorces to well-known actresses and his devotion to Scientology.

But there are a lot of facts and stories about Cruise that may not be as well known, such as the fact that he was a real-life hero not once but twice in 1996, coming to the aid of a woman who was hit by a car and a group of people stuck on a burning yacht. Or that his iconic dance scene in Risky Business helped to boost the sales of Ray-Bans. Or that a talk-show appearance by Cruise was the model for Christian Bale's performance in American Psycho.

Hopefully, these stories will give readers more insight into Tom Cruise.

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  • The Church Of Scientology Allegedly Picked Out A Girlfriend For Him
    Photo: Saedniplea / Wikimedia Commons / Public domain
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    The Church Of Scientology Allegedly Picked Out A Girlfriend For Him

    It has been widely reported that Tom Cruise is a member of the Church of Scientology. In Going Clear, the 2015 HBO documentary about Scientology, former church executive Mike Rinder claimed, “In the eyes of [Scientology leader] David Miscavige, Tom Cruise is the perfect Scientology celebrity,” and that the church would do favors for Cruise, such as tricking out his cars and motorcycles, in order to keep him happy.

    The documentary also reveals that the church handpicked and groomed a young woman to become the movie star's new girlfriend. According to Lawrence Wright, author of the book Going Clear, on which the HBO documentary was based:

    Tom was in Spain. They were opening a new Scientology church in Madrid, and he was overheard complaining that he needed a new girlfriend. Soon after that… a young Scientologist pre-med student named Nazanin Boniadi was told she was going to get a special assignment.

    Alex Gibney, the director of the HBO documentary, claimed he learned the details of her experience through FBI testimony:

    David Miscavige assigned Nazanin's case to a key church official, Greg Wilhere. He put her through a one-month program of on-camera interviews, intensive auditing, and some security checks.

    Wright added that Boniadi was separated from her family and moved to the church's Celebrity Center. At the time, she had a boyfriend but broke up with him after the church gave her evidence that he'd had an affair. According to Wright, once she was officially single, Boniadi was given a makeover so she would appear more attractive to Cruise:

    Nazanin was told that her makeover was part of the church's humanitarian mission because she had to look her best for conferences with world leaders. Only after she was flown first class to New York, did she discover the actual role that the church wanted her to play - she was to be the girlfriend of Scientology's biggest star. Within a month, Nazanin was living with Cruise. While at his house in Telluride, Miscavige came to visit. Overcome by a severe headache, Nazanin had a hard time understanding Miscavige, which infuriated him. The next day, Cruise - inches from her face - pounded on the table and screamed at her for insulting the head of the church.

    Two weeks after Miscavige's visit, Boniadi learned that her relationship with Cruise was over. But Cruise wasn't the one who informed her of the breakup; instead, a church executive named Tommy Davis allegedly did the dirty work. Film director Paul Haggis, a former Scientologist, said Boniadi told him that after she was informed that her relationship was over, people from the church came to her apartment and removed any evidence (photos, letters, etc.) of her involvement with the movie star.

    In her memoir Troublemaker: Surviving Hollywood and Scientology, actor Leah Remini, a former Scientologist, claimed that the church punished Boniadi because she had confided in another church member about the end of the relationship:

    [She was] subjected to doing four months of menial labor, including tasks such as digging ditches and cleaning public toilets with a toothbrush. Eventually she was promoted to selling Dianetics books on the streets of Tampa… She wasn’t allowed to talk to anyone, particularly her Scientology friends, since she was considered a traitor. She was not allowed to go anywhere alone unless escorted by either church security, ethics staff, or a representative of Flag’s President’s Office.

    Boniadi eventually left the church and has since become a successful actress. Although neither she nor Cruise have ever spoken publicly about their alleged relationship, the Church of Scientology has denied having any involvement in Cruise's romantic life.

  • In 1976, Anne Rice saw her debut novel, a gothic horror and vampire story called Interview with the Vampire, published. This first book was followed by a number of sequels, collectively known as The Vampire Chronicles. In 1994, Interview with the Vampire was adapted into a film, with Tom Cruise and Brad Pitt in the lead roles.

    Reportedly, while director Neil Jordan was too lazy to read all of the books, and Pitt didn't make it past the first chapter because he found it a waste of time, Cruise read the entire series of books in preparation for portraying the vampire Lestat.

  • Christian Bale portrayed Patrick Bateman in the 2000 film adaptation of Bret Easton Ellis's novel, American Psycho. Bale replaced Leonardo DiCaprio in the role and physically transformed himself in order to play the stock market investor/serial killer. He also decided to try and model Bateman on a real person in order to make the portrayal more authentic. 

    As American Psycho director told BlackBook magazine, she and Bale had several discussions about how Bateman should be portrayed: 

    We talked a lot, but he was in L.A. and I was in New York. We didn’t actually meet in person a lot, just talked on the phone. We talked about how Martian-like Patrick Bateman was, how he was looking at the world like somebody from another planet, watching what people did and trying to work out the right way to behave.

    Finally, Bale came up with his inspiration on how to play the character:

    [Bale] called me and he had been watching Tom Cruise on David Letterman, and he [Cruise] just had this very intense friendliness with nothing behind the eyes, and he [Bale] was really taken with this energy.

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    Cruise Witnessed A Pedestrian Get Hit By Car, Followed Her To A Hospital, And Paid Her ER Bill

    Cruise often plays a hero in his films, but in 1996, the actor was a real-life hero in two separate incidents.

    In March 1996, Cruise saw a pedestrian named Heloísa Vinhas get struck by a car in a hit-and-run incident. The actor asked another pedestrian to call an ambulance, which he then followed to the UCLA Medical Center. Vinhas was treated for a broken leg and bruised ribs, and when Cruise learned she didn't have any insurance, he ended up paying her $7,000 hospital bill. A grateful Vinhas told People magazine:

    If he's not Superman, he can be Batman - Batman doesn't have super powers.

    A few months later, Cruise and then-wife Nicole Kidman were sailing off the island of Capri when they spotted a nearby yacht that had caught fire. Cruise sent over a skiff to rescue the five people on board. They were able to get to safety just before the yacht sank. The actor's publicist later told People magazine:

    [Cruise] did what any decent person would do. If I ever get in trouble, I hope Tom Cruise is nearby.

  • He Basically Saved Ray-Bans From Extinction
    Photo: Risky Business / Warner Bros.
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    He Basically Saved Ray-Bans From Extinction

    In the years just before WWII, US fighter pilots were experiencing issues with major glare at high altitudes. So the US military approached optical company Bausch & Lomb to create anti-glare aviation glasses. General Douglas MacArthur was reportedly the first person to be photographed wearing the glasses.

    The company decided to brand the glasses as Ray-Bans, because the anti-glare glasses blocked UV rays. In the 1950s they became popular with movie stars like Humphrey Bogart, Marlon Brando, and James Dean. 

    But by the early 1980s, the sales of Ray-Bans were in a steep decline. That is, until a little-known actor named Tom Cruise wore nothing but a white button-down shirt, boxers, socks, and a pair of Ray-Ban Wayfarers in a famous scene in the 1983 film Risky Business. Not only did the film give Cruise a breakthrough role, but the scene also boosted the sales of Wayfarers - which Bausch & Lomb had planned to discontinue - by 50%. 

    Three years later Bausch & Lomb saw a 40% boost in sales after Cruise wore Ray-Ban aviator glasses in the blockbuster film Top Gun.

  • Cruise has been married and divorced three times, with all of his wives being actresses. He was married to Mimi Rogers from 1987 to 1990, to Nicole Kidman from 1990 to 2001, and to Katie Holmes from 2006 to 2012.

    All three women turned 33 the year that they separated from Cruise (although Rogers and Kidman were 34 when their divorces were finalized). While this could be just a strange coincidence, the number 33 has special significance in Scientology. An unnamed former Scientologist explained the number's meaning to HuffPost:

    The number 33 is known as the “Master Teacher.” It represents altruism and increasing your positive energy. It’s associated with healing powers through love.

    Still, the source didn't believe that the number's significance in Scientology had anything to do with when the movie star's marriages fell apart:

    Marriage problems come from what Scientologists call “withholds” or what the rest of us call “not communicating.” Tom's divorces have nothing to do with his wives turning 33. Plus, if Katie did blindside Tom with the divorce, unless she plans to continue to study [Scientology], then the number 33 significance has nothing to do with the split.

    Another odd coincidence? Each of Cruise's wives have been 11 years younger than his previous wife.