Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes have announced they are divorcing after five years of marriage.
Tom Cruise, 49, said he was “deeply saddened” that his younger wife, Katie Holmes, 33, had filed for a separation.
He revealed Katie Holmes had initiated the split, bringing a dramatic end to one of Hollywood’s most high-profile romances.
In a surprise move, Katie Holmes is understood to have filed for sole custody of the couple’s daughter Suri, six.
“This is a personal and private matter for Katie and her family,” Katie Holmes’s lawyer Jonathan Wolfe said in a statement to People magazine.
“Katie’s primary concern remains, as it always has been, her daughter’s best interest.”
A spokesperson for Tom Cruise, who is currently in Iceland filming his new sci-fi movie Oblivion, said: “Kate has filed for divorce and Tom is deeply saddened and is concentrating on his three children.”
The actress filed documents in New York this week citing “irreconcilable differences”.
Katie Holmes has asked for legal custody, primary residential custody and a “suitable amount” of child support from her husband, TMZ reports.
She is also asking for a division of property in the divorce documents, although there is a significant pre-nuptial agreement that is based on California law.
The couple is worth around $275 million – much of that owing to Tom Cruise’s box office success.
The terms of the pre-nup are understood to be clear – for each year the couple stay married, Katie Holmes collects $3million – to a maximum of $33 million after 11 years – as well as their palatial home in California.
If their marriage had lasted more than 11 years, Katie Holmes would have received half of Tom Cruise’s reportedly $250 million fortune.
After filing for divorce less than six years later, according to the agreement, Katie Holmes should only be entitled to $15 million as well as the couple’s $35 million Beverly Hills Mansion.
But with an estate worth upwards of $275 million, Katie Holmes is expected to seek much more and there is already intense speculation as to how much she will collect when the papers are signed.
Tom Cruise is believed to have “not seen” the divorce coming.
But sources insist that Katie Holmes did tell him that she was filing for divorce – but she didn’t give him a chance to control the spread of the news, as he did with Nicole Kidman.
The fact that she issued a solo statement speaks of some heat around the final extinguishing of the marriage.
The pair has not been seen together in public for almost three months – they were last pictured on April 5 while in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
Katie Holmes failed to turn up to at any of the worldwide premieres of her husband’s latest film Rock of Ages, despite Tom Cruise’s constant protestations of love for his wife.
The final arguments seem to have been over where Tom Cruise was going to spend his 50th birthday on Tuesday. He told her that he was planning to be on the set of his latest film Oblivion, in Iceland, and that seems to have been the last straw.
Katie Holmes had frequently been pictured looking drawn and exhausted during her marriage. One Hollywood source said she had been “utterly miserable with Tom for months, if not years”.
Indeed, the row over his birthday followed another bust-up over what Katie Holmes felt were embarrassingly bad taste pictures of him on the cover of W magazine last month.
He was dressed – or rather undressed – as the rock star Stacee Jaxx, the character he plays in Rock of Ages. Two half-dressed blondes were wrapped around him, one licking his face.
Katie Holmes, a nice girl from Ohio who is nevertheless very aware of why Tom Cruise feels the need to play the macho card in public, was apparently “speechless” with disgust and felt the pictures laid both of them open to ridicule.
The marriage has been in such poor shape that for the past year they have led almost entirely separate lives.
Katie Holmes has chosen to stay with Suri in Tom Cruise’s New York apartment while he has travelled the world working.
Suri has been her constant and only companion. They are often out together until late, and Katie Holmes – who gave up all the threads of her old life to become Mrs. Tom Cruise – seems to have no other friends at all.
A shopping and sundries budget reputed to run at $125,000-a- month could only keep her amused for so long.
One Hollywood source said today: “It was an open secret that she was utterly miserable with Tom, and had been for months if not years. They really couldn’t drag out the pretence any longer.”
Another source added: “Katie spent her time avoiding him, and they rowed terribly.”
When Tom Cruise was filming Rock of Ages in Miami, Katie Holmes came along with Suri and they made a family holiday of it. But since then they have spent no more than a handful of nights under the same roof.
Katie Holmes, who used to have a poster of Tom Cruise on her bedroom wall, found that being married to an intense, workaholic, and deeply religious megastar was no picnic.
In pictures of her going about her daily business she looked completely worn out. Her brown hair was prematurely grey, she never wore make up. One shapeless cardigan was succeeded by another baggy jumper.
Those close to her said that she felt he wasn’t putting any effort into her or the marriage.
Her once promising film career – she had been the love interest in Batman Begins – had been stifled. Roles evaporated. She ended up trying to find work as a fashion designer, endorsing the line Holmes and Yang.
The bigger picture is that this is the end of the third of Tom Cruise’s marriages and a spectacular failure of his strategy to re-launch himself as a “regular guy”.
And if the union was supposed to cease gossip about Tom Cruise and his personal life, in particular rumors of his homosexuality – always denied – it failed utterly.
The couple’s 2006 Italian wedding was choreographed like a massive movie premiere, with more bodyguards than guests and the ultimate goal seemingly the fantastically romantic images which were released to the media of the A list star and his pretty bride.
This came in the wake of the president of Paramount Sumner Redstone complaining that women found the actor “creepy”.
When the romance began – Katie Holmes had met Tom Cruise to discuss the possibility of appearing in Mission Impossible III – she was immediately sent on an intensive and lengthy study course about Scientology, the religion founded by sci-fi author L. Ron Hubbard in 1954, which holds that humans are descended from an exiled race of aliens called Thetans.
She was “audited” by Scientology counselors, and unlike Penelope Cruz and Nicole Kidman before her, has totally embraced the movement.
Tom Cruise proposed on June 17, 2005 on the top of the Eiffel Tower following a famously embarrassing declaration of his love on Oprah Winfrey’s show, where he jumped up on the couch yelling: “I’m in love, I’m in love, I can’t be cool, I can’t be laid back.”
Despite earlier reports that there would be a Roman Catholic ceremony of some sort – Katie Holmes was born a Catholic – it was a Scientology wedding. What’s more it was conducted by David Miscavige, Tom Cruise’s best friend who is the head of the movement.
From the outset Katie Holmes struggled to ever settle in their Los Angeles mansion. Cass Mapother is a key figure here, Tom Cruise’s sister – and she and her three sons share the house with Tom and his two adopted children Connor, 17, and Isabella, 19. But Katie Holmes never felt that the massive mansion, stuffed with bodyguards, was her home. Everyone who came through the doors was a Scientologist.
His devotion to the religion meant that he was widely regarded as “weird”. Andrew Morton unauthorized biography repeated claims that Suri was thought by some to have been conceived using the frozen sperm of Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard. This suggestion infuriated Tom Cruise, friends describing it as “sick, offensive and very upsetting”.
Before they met, Katie Holmes was a natural beauty, and her physical decline in the five and a half years that followed is almost shockingly obvious.