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Tom Cruise’s lawyers have taken at a swipe at Katie Holmes, accusing her and her legal team of “playing the media”.

While Tom Cruise, 50, has kept silent save for the statement he issued immediately after Katie Holmes made her announcement, his lawyer Bert Fields spoke to the BBC yesterday about the impending battle between the couple and their fight for custody of Suri, 6.

In a thinly veiled attack on Katie Holmes, he said: “We are letting <<the other side>> [Katie and her team], play the media until they wear everyone out and then we’ll have something to say.”

Bert Fields added: “Tactically we can’t say where Tom will file a divorce case and if he’ll be seeking joint custody of Suri.”

It was certainly an unprecedented broadside intended to draw sympathy away from Tom Cruise’s estranged wife, and all the more notable as the actor, who celebrated turning 50 this week is notoriously private.

Bert Fields, who spoke to BBC Radio 1’s Newsbeat, would not be drawn on specific details of the divorce – but did use his opportunity to express that his client was “really sad about what’s happening”.

The lawyer added: “It’s not Tom’s style to do this publicly. He is really sad about what’s happening.”

It is believed Katie Holmes wants legal custody because she is worried about Tom’s devotion to sci-fi cult Scientology and the effect the quasi-religious sect may have on their six-year-old daughter.

However a source told TMZ: “[Katie] was totally committed to Scientology. She had enthusiasm for it and would voluntarily and gladly participate in it when Tom was off shooting movies.

“This is not a fight over religion. It’s being used as a way to hurt Tom.”

Tom Cruise's lawyers have taken at a swipe at Katie Holmes, accusing her and her legal team of “playing the media

Tom Cruise's lawyers have taken at a swipe at Katie Holmes, accusing her and her legal team of “playing the media

The now warring spouses are not speaking, but Tom Cruise is reportedly calling Suri “several times a day”.

Tom Cruise has borne the brunt of the negative publicity surrounding the divorce, and it seems his lawyer is keen to redress the balance.

But yet more revelations emerged today claiming Tom Cruise controlled Katie Holmes “like a puppetmaster making every major and minor decision in her personal and professional life”, wrote TMZ.

And sources close to Katie Holmes claimed: “In the end, she felt like she couldn’t breathe without his permission.”

In 2005, early in the couple’s relationship, during filming of Thank You for Smoking, Tom Cruise allegedly instructed producers to “kill” any promotional photos which showed Katie Holmes and co-star Aaron Eckhart engaged in kissing or “anything else compromising”.

Tom Cruise is also said to have imposed his will during her stint on Batman Begins to prevent Katie Holmes from flying with the rest of the cast. Instead, Katie Holmes was made to travel to set on Tom Cruise’s private jet.

A source told TMZ actor Morgan Freeman was supposedly “disgusted” by the situation.

Bert Field’s attack came as Katie Holmes stepped out looking worryingly thin with a tired looking Suri.

Katie carried her daughter during a trip with friends – accompanied by security – to the Children’s Museum of the Arts in the Soho area of New York City.

It emerged yesterday that Katie Holmes had been secretly planning her divorce assault for several weeks with the help of her father Martin Holmes.

The secretive plan included switching all her cell phones and email addresses.

Katie Holmes was said to be contact with Tom Cruise, right up until last week, playing the role of doting wife.

“She was talking to Tom on the phone up until last week saying, <<I love you>>,” a source told People magazine.

But the escape plan was well underway when Katie Holmes recently visited China for work commitments.

“Her inner circle has been planning this and switching out cell phones since she was in China [in mid-June],” the source said.

“When new cell phones arrived, then nobody could reach her. Her old best friends from last week don’t have her new number, no e-mail. She’s unreachable.”

Katie Holmes even allegedly bent the truth to Tom Cruise about her new Chelsea apartment.

“[Tom] knew that she moved there, but [he thought it was] for different reasons,” the source told People.

“She said she moved there to drive into the underground garage. There are fewer paparazzi and it’s less intrusive for her,” the source continued.

“It was the first phase of getting everything out of the house, and that’s why she was able to say she’s moving without giving an indication that she was going to divorce him.”

Katie Holmes’ father also fired some of his daughter’s assistants and hired new ones in place to help out with the grand plan.

In their new apartment building, neighbors say mother and daughter are a joy to have.

“Katie and Suri have been very friendly to everyone they see in the building,” a source told Radaronline.

“But they mostly keep to themselves.”

However the pair has been spotted using the communal children’s playroom.

“Suri was there playing. Katie was with her and they were very sweet to the other people in the room.

“There were a few other kids there and Suri quietly played with them. She seemed like a nice little girl and the other kids looked like they were having fun with her.”

Tom Cruise, who has kept busy by shooting his latest movie Oblivion in Iceland, returned to Los Angeles earlier this week where he marked his 50th birthday with a quiet lunch alongside adopted children Connor and Isabella, but not Suri.

He is said to have made it his “first priority” to get temporary visitation rights to his daughter Suri.

Tom Cruise intends to go to court in Los Angeles in person to ensure he is legally allowed to see the youngster.

Katie Holmes filed for the divorce in New York because she believes she has a better chance of winning sole custody, and although Tom Cruise was encouraged to file in California, the law states divorce cannot be filed in separate states at the same time.

A source said: “Tom has told Dennis Wasser and Bert Fields, his long-time entertainment lawyer, that his first priority is getting a court order in place, obviously a temporary one, that will allow him to legally see his daughter.

“Team Cruise has extensive documentation to prove that Los Angeles is where the case should proceed, because this is where he says they have lived.

“Tom is extremely disappointed that Katie filed in New York, and he feels that she is trying to cut him out of their daughter’s life.

“Tom won’t tolerate it and told his lawyers that if he personally needs to go to court and make a plea in front of the judge for an order allowing him to see his daughter, he will.”