Tom Cruise: ‘Nothing Is More Important’ Than Fatherhood

05/25/2010 at 03:00 PM ET
Courtesy Esquire

Having played several iconic characters throughout the years, Tom Cruise says he’s realized there’s only one role he cherishes most: Dad.

“I’ll never forget the moment I became a dad,” the actor, 47, tells Esquire in its June/July issue.

“It’s hard to describe — that level of responsibility, the desire to give such joy,” he says. “[And] the clarity: Nothing is more important than this.”

Cruise, who has three kids — Isabella, 17, and Connor, 15, with ex-wife Nicole Kidman, and Suri, 4, with Katie Holmes — says he was instantly enamored when he laid eyes on his daughter.

“I remember that first night, just staring at Bella,” he recalls. “I was checking her every second, just looking at her, feeling that immediate bond. I was probably looking at her so much that I was keeping her up.”

When he became a parent, Cruise says he made a promise: “All I can do is the best I can,” he tells the magazine. “But I’m not going to say I’m gonna do something and then not do it.”

Now that his youngest daughter is at an age where she understands what her famous dad does for a living, Cruise says he likes getting Suri’s input on scripts and doesn’t mind bringing work back home.

“I’ll start with the beginning of the movie and take her through the story beat by beat,” he says, adding that he makes it age-appropriate. “She asks all the right questions: Why does that happen? Those are the bad guys? You’re the good guy, right?”

Adds Cruise: “It comes down to the same thing as when I was a kid. Can I create a character that will make her happy, that will make her laugh? And you know what? She makes me get better and better because she’s always asking me to do it again.”

— Eunice Oh

FILED UNDER: News , Parenting

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Showing 22 comments

jen on

aw. he’s kinda likeable in this interview. how special for bella 🙂

Kelly on

I totally love this guy. You are great Tom,and always thrill me with your movies. By my count, you should have won three Oscars by now for: Rain man, Jerry Mcguire, and A few good man. And still the cutest man in Hollywood. CAN’T WAIT TO SEE KNIGH AND DAY. Love Cameron too, so can’t wait to see your new movie, I know it would be worth my $10.

KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK. Congrats to Katie for her up coming role as Lady Jackie O.

Megan on

LOVE you Tom. Love the fact that you stayed clean in Hollywood for so many years, that’s a testament to the amazing human being you are. Keep you head up. Love your beautiful wife and children also.

Chris on

It’s nice to hear fathers gush about fatherhood. Sweet!

maryhelenc on

Scientology or whatever, he’s just so darn likeable. He seems to adore his three kids & brags about them every chance he gets. Love doting dads!

Mame on


I had exactly the same thought! Very nice…

Laura on

I am not personally a fan of Tom Cruise but he does seem like a great dad.

Heather on

I agree, he seems so likeable. I’ve heard really neat stories about him being nice to fans. One story I can’t fully remember all of the details, but he kept in touch with one and sends cards and such. There is a lot of criticism around him due to Scientology; but he does seem to be very humble, well grounded, appreciative of his fans and quite the family man! This was a nice interview 🙂

Gaylee1949 on

I have no use for Tom Cruise. Anyone who buys off on Scientology has a screw loose, and I would prefer that he weren’t raising children!

Robin on

This just goes to show you that you shouldn’t believe EVERYTHING you read…celebrities have to live their lives in a goldfish bowl and aren’t allowed to make mistakes and when they do they have it held against them forever…some people need to really lighten up…good for Tom I say…He adores his kids and loves his family and seriously who can find fault with that?!

maggie on

wow Gaylee1949 saying that tom shouldn’t be raising his kids… harsh much? also just because you don’t buy into other peoples religion doesn’t mean you have to criticize it and make fun of those who believe it (i’m catholic by the way). besides that tom seems really likeable and that was very sweet about isabella.

Stephanie on

Great interview! Wish every father would love their children as Tom Cruise does:)

izzy on

@Gaylee1949 you obviously had a use for him if you’re commenting about him. i think you’re just jealous haha

Lorus on

I love seeing fathers gush about their children. It’s so lovable!

I can relate about your firstborn. My neck was so sore for the first 3 or so months because I couldn’t stop gazing at my daughter while she nursed (which was often!).

Sophia on

Surely he cannot be criticised for this interview. The way he described his first night with Bella was so beautiful. I don’t care if everyone thinks he’s nuts, a father gushing about their children is a beautiful thing no matter what.

JM on

isn’t it quite a well known fact that connor and isabella were raised mainly by tom’s mother and sister? he even said recently i an interview didn’t he that connor was raised mostly by women? i’m sure he loves all his kids but it seems that he wasn’t exactly very present as a father. not to mention his kids have been homeschooled…

Lila on

I think it refreshing to see a guy talk so openly about the love he has for his children and his spouse. I don’t understand the hate people have for this guy. So his religious views are different, this is still a free country, right?

As far as his kids, they all seem very happy and well rounded!

Monique on

Does anyone else feel like Nicole doesn’t really keep in touch with her older kids? I feel like you only see them with Tom.

Camille Baron on

I’m glad to see Tom Cruise is allowed to love his children and it is truly wonderful that he is able to be there for all of them and support them like all parents should be allowed to.

Unfortunately not all members of Church of Scientology followers are allowed this opportunity. Members of the Church’s staff or Sea Org are often coaxed into post-poning parenthood for the benefit of the church to the extent they are almost literally forced into ending unplanned pregnancies. Those Sea Org members who do have children will often be denied access to them except for short periods of time every month. ( One ex-member has recently spoken out saying she was only allowed to see her parents 20 minutes a month and spent the rest of her time living with other Sea Org members who spent their time away from the home 9 AM-12AM everyday.) Children who are dubiously deemed ‘worthy’ enough will be allowed into the children’s form of the Sea Org, the Cadet Org, which is hardly any less abusive than the Sea Org many of their parents will spend their entire lives slaving for. They are pulled out of school and forced to do hard labor everyday and receive little more care than is needed to keep them alive.

Of course not all Church members live this way but the simple fact that even a small population do is disgusting to me. The Scientology celebrities like Tom Cruise practice is completely different from what the normal people get and many of the celebrities are completely oblivious to the own abuse in their church.

For more personal stories about the abuses within the Church and information on what is being done to help:

CelebBabyLover on

JM- Well, Tom’s sister lives with them, and Tom’s mother did for awhile as well (I don’t know if she still does), so it sounds to me like they just helped out a lot when Tom needed to go shoot a film (obviously now Bella and Connor are old enough that they don’t need much looking after).

As for Tom’s comment about Conner being raised mostly by women….I think he was probably just joking about the fact that Conner has been surronded by women for most of his life (and men are known to joke about that). 🙂

Anyway, it seems like Bella and Connor are very close to their father, so obviously he’s done something right. 🙂

Monique- I think it’s just that Nicole is a lot more private than Tom is. Keep in mind that we also see Sunday far less than we see Suri! 🙂

Laura on

I LOVE Tom Cruise! He is a very nice person who has been completely trashed for wrong reasons. He is a great actor and appears to be a great father.

carol on

Camille, you know so much about Scientology and their horrible practices and it’s so funny, we hear all kinds of things about religions we really don’t know any thing about. However one very big religion has a huge amount of proof that their religious leaders are molesting kids, thousands, maybe millions over the years. Other religions teach their children to kill millions in the name of theirs. So unless you are a Scientologist and are right their in the midst of this abuse, you need to be quiet and go after those whose crimes are documented~! I could never understand peoples dislike of Tom Cruise. Yeah, he had some major gaffs, but he seems to be a pretty cool human being…in other words, give it a rest!