Tom Cruise has spent more than thirty years in the public eye. He knows how the tabloids work, but he drew his line in the sand over claims of bad parenting, including an In Touch cover story headlined, "Abandoned by Daddy," which accused him of shutting out 7-year-old daughter Suri after his August 2012 divorce from Katie Holmes. Still, he may be wondering if his $50 million libel suit is really worth it, given the avalanche of bad publicity that's followed.
Cruise's camp has gone into crisis management mode over publicized portions of his Sept. 9 deposition in his suit against Bauer Publishing, including an exchange in which he seemingly compares his job as a moneybags, coddled movie star to that of a soldier serving in a combat zone.
Cruise, who acknowledged in the deposition that he didn't see Suri for more than a 100 days following a trip to Disney World that ended on Aug. 4, 2012, was responding to a question from Bauer's lawyer about how his counsel "has publicly equated your absence from Suri for these extended periods of time as being analogous to someone fighting in Afghanistan. Are you aware of that?"
Although his attorney, Bert Fields, raised an objection, the star, who has never served in the military ("A Few Good Men" doesn't count), is allowed to answer.
"I didn't hear the Afghanistan [part]," he says, "but that's what it feels like, and certainly on this last movie, it was brutal. It was brutal."
The public outcry, particularly from military families, over that comparison prompted Fields to issue a statement objecting to how Cruise's response has been categorized.
"The assertions that Tom Cruise likened making a movie to being at war in Afghanistan is a gross distortion of the record," he railed in a statement (via People). "What Tom said, laughingly, was that sometimes, 'That's what it feels like.'"
What's more, insists Fields, "As the video shows, he and the lawyer were laughing at his answer, and, when asked in the next question if the situations were comparable, Tom said, 'Oh, come on,' meaning of course not."
For good measure, the lawyer reiterates, "Tom is a staunch supporter of our troops and would never say that making a movie was even remotely comparable to fighting in Afghanistan."
So far, no correction has been issued over Cruise equating himself to a "sprinter for the Olympics," who "only have to run two races a day. When I'm shooting, I could potentially have to run 30, 40 races a day, day after day."
Meanwhile, another correction was issued over one of the more explosive parts of Cruise's testimony, in which he apparently confirmed that Holmes' decision to leave him in June 2012 was "to protect Suri from Scientology."
After some back and forth over the question, Cruise finally answers: "Did she say that? That was one of the assertions, yes."
But in an amended statement submitted on Nov. 5, he retracts that declaration, saying, "Katie has never told me that this [Scientology] was a reason for our divorce."
Cruise did not change his statement that Suri is no longer a practicing Scientologist.
Holmes, who has yet to comment on the lawsuit, is currently shooting a movie on location in South Africa, with Suri in tow.
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