Tom Cruise Would “Surprise” Penélope Cruz with Baths and Home-Cooked Meals
#TBT: Check in every Thursday as we throw it back to some of our favorite celebrity couples of all time.
Who: Three-time Oscar-nominated actor Tom Cruise, 57, and Oscar-winning actress Penélope Cruz, 45.
How They Met: The actor couple met in 2000 on the set of Cameron Crowe’s Vanilla Sky. Though Cruise was married to ex-wife Nicole Kidman when shooting began (and not when it ended), he and Cruz have long maintained that their relationship began after the film wrapped. “I've never fallen in love with someone I'm working with. It's always been afterwards,” Cruz told The Telegraph in 2008.
In July of 2001, about six months after Cruise filed divorce papers, he and Cruz made it official. "Tom Cruise invited Penelope Cruz to his 39th birthday party on July 6 and they've had a few dates since,” Cruise’s longtime publicist Pat Kingsley told reporters at the time.
Why We Loved Them: Though they were fairly private, Cruise and Cruz were always incredibly sweet when they did open up about their relationship in the press. During a press conference for Vanilla Sky, Cruz praised Cruise for his “generosity,” adding, “He cares about everyone that is around him.”
In 2003, Cruise told Marie Claire about the “different things” he liked to surprise Cruz with. “She’ll come home, and I’ll have her favorite kind of food made, have a bath drawn. I like doing stuff like that. She likes my food, so I cook for her. It’s always the little things I like in a relationship.”
The couple was understandably coy with the media, considering the many false reports that followed their relationship. In 2003, Cruz sued Australian magazine New Idea after they ran an article insinuating she’d had an affair with a Spanish actor. Cruz was vindicated in court months later, awarded with a $3,200 settlement paid to the charity of her choosing.
When They Peaked: Early signs of Cruise’s couch-jumping tendencies were all over this relationship. We had the Jerry Maguire star manically “blurting out fragments of romantic thoughts” to Vanity Fair, like “I thought, My God, I’m your boyfriend. You’re my girlfriend!” and laughing over their homophonic last names: “Cruise and Cruz!” Then there was this weird vehicle power move at the U.K. premiere of Vanilla Sky:
The Breakup: After two-and-a-half years together, Cruz and Cruise’s relationship came to an end in late January 2004. Cruise’s publicist assured reporters that the split was “amicable,” while Cruz’s rep said, “They remain good friends and still talk often,” noting, “There is no other person involved.” A source told People, “The relationship just ran its course and they decided not to be girlfriend and boyfriend anymore. Through most of the relationship they were both shooting movies in separate parts of the world.”
Though Cruz’s rep maintained that Cruise’s involvement with the Church of Scientology was not a factor in the breakup, a 2012 Vanity Fair exposé later provided a conflicting report. According to VF’s Maureen Orth, Cruz “ran afoul of [church leader David Miscavige]” due to her unwillingness to “forsake her Buddhist beliefs.”
Years earlier, in 2006, Cruz defended Scientology (and Cruise) in an interview with The Guardian. “I would feel bad with myself if I didn't say that I was grateful to [Scientology] because of what I've learned about it,” she explained. Cruz went on to insist she and Cruise were still on friendly terms, telling the reporter, “Tom is a very good man, and I am close to his whole family, his children. I love his children, and his mum, and all of his family, and he's a great man. The people who have been good to me, they are untouchable, I am very loyal to the people who have meant something to me and have been good to me, very, very loyal.”
Whatever the cause for the split, the actors have appeared to stay friendly through the years. Though they reportedly shared an “awkward” run-in at a party in 2009, the two were spotted at dinner in London together in 2015 along with Salma Hayek.
Where They Are Now:
Cruise went on to date, marry, and have a child with actress Katie Holmes. They welcomed daughter Suri, 13, in 2006, wed later that same year. They divorced in 2012.
Though Cruise has since kept his personal life out of the spotlight, his career hasn’t slowed. He has several major projects slated for the coming years, including Top Gun: Maverick and Mission: Impossible 7.
Cruz wed fellow Spanish actor Javier Bardem in 2010. They welcomed son Leo in 2011 and daughter Luna in 2013.
Next up for Cruz is thriller 355 and a reunion with Antonio Banderas in Spanish film Official Competition.