Tom Cruise has been in the entertainment industry for nearly 40 years and is one of the highest-paid performers in the world.
As Cruise continues to make movies, his outlandish behavior has cast a shadow over his long career. Here are seven controversial moments from his long career.
1999: Tom Cruise laughed while recounting a story where he restricted oxygen for a passenger on a plane.
During an appearance on “Late Show with David Letterman” in 1999, Tom Cruise described a time when he restricted oxygen for a passenger while flying to Colorado. According to Cruise, he and his co-pilot, as well as a passenger, were wearing oxygen masks because they were flying at high altitudes. However, Cruise stated that he quickly recognized he didn’t have enough oxygen to stay attentive at that height.
Cruise then said he and the co-pilot decided to turn off the oxygen mask for the passenger so that they could continue their journey.
This made both the audience and Cruise laugh. As he continued to narrate the account of how the passenger passed out due to a lack of air, Cruise kept laughing, making Letterman feel uneasy.
At first, Letterman was confused and asked: “But honestly, looking at it from another direction isn’t that attempted manslaughter? You just turned a guy’s oxygen off. You’re lucky you’re not doing time, for the love of God.”
Once Letterman was assured of the passenger’s safety, the host joined in with Cruise’s laughter.
2005: Jumping on a couch on “The Oprah Winfrey Show.”
Inarguably Cruise’s most notorious incident, his 2005 interview on Oprah Winfrey’s talk show remains one of the most bizarre public displays of affection ever committed to video.
Though he was only appearing on the series to promote his role in Steven Spielberg’s War of the Worlds, people quickly forgot about the film entirely.
After Cruise appeared on the show to a loud cheer and applause from the audience, particularly women screaming their lungs out, the actor was left blushing and soon rather than sitting on the sofa, the actor sat down on the floor, pulled victory laps and later at one point even jumped on the sofa.
Oprah who was to interview Cruise for his then-upcoming film War of the Worlds was left stunned looking at Tom’s behavior and quipped, “What has happened to you?” to which a grinning Cruise then exclaimed, “I’m in love.”
While the moment seemed slightly over-the-top at the time and was clearly loved by the live audience, further inspection of the clip changed Cruise’s perception by the public forever.
Tom, according to Oprah, was one of the worst guests she ever had.
2005: Tom Cruise got into a feud with Brooke Shields over prescription medication
Towards the end of May 2005, Cruise got into a spat with Brooke Shields over her use of antidepressants to treat postpartum depression following the birth of her daughter Rowan in 2003. Cruise called her actions “irresponsible” and suggested women should take care of themselves with “vitamins and exercise.
Cruise was also asked about his views in an interview on the “Today Show” and got into a heated discussion with journalist Matt Lauer about taking antidepressants and accused Lauer of being “glib.”
Shields wrote an op-ed in The New York Times saying that Cruise’s comments were a “disservice to mothers everywhere.”
Shields said she considered swallowing a bottle of pills or jumping out the window at the lowest point of her depression following the birth of her daughter, Rowan Francis, in 2003. According to People, she said at the time, “Tom should stick to saving the world from aliens and let women who are experiencing postpartum depression decide what treatment options are best for them.
Shields later revealed on “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno” that Cruise came to her house and apologized to her. The relationship seemed to have recovered because Shields attended his wedding to Katie Holmes in 2006.
2015: In her memoir, former Scientologist Leah Remini said the actor shouted at assistants while baking cookies
After leaving Scientology, Leah Remini published her memoir “Troublemaker: Surviving Hollywood and Scientology” in November 2015. The actress discussed her interactions with Cruise, a Scientologist, and his family in her memoir.
According to Vulture, Cruise allegedly yelled at his aides on one occasion because he wanted to make cookies but couldn’t find the prepackaged cookie dough.
“‘Guys, where’s the cookie stuff?'” Remini recalled. “Goddamn it! Can I just get the stuff for the cookies, guys? Get in the fucking present time, is what you need to do.'”
A spokesperson for Scientology denied the claims in Remini’s book at the time of publishing in a public statement. In a recent email to Insider about this story, a Scientology spokesperson called Remini’s account “lies and malicious false claims.
2020: Thandiwe Newton said it was “a nightmare” working on “Mission: Impossible 2” with Tom Cruise
Thandiwe Newton told Vulture in 2020 that she was extremely afraid of Cruise during work on “Mission: Impossible 2.” Newton portrayed Nyah Nordoff-Hall, Cruise’s character Ethan Hunt’s love interest, in the 2000 flick.
“He was a very dominant individual,” the “Westworld” actress said. “He tries super hard to be a nice person. But the pressure. He takes on a lot. And I think he has this sense that only he can do everything as best as it can be done.”
Newton recalled a moment when she and Cruise were “frustrated” with each other because they were not able to get a balcony scene down.
“Tom was not happy with what I was doing because I had the shittiest lines.”
“And he gets so frustrated with having to try and explain that he goes, ‘Let me just—let’s just go do it. Let’s just rehearse on camera.’ So we rehearsed and they recorded it, and then he goes, ‘I’ll be you. You be me.’ So we filmed the entire scene with me being him—because, believe me, I knew the lines by then—and him playing me. And it was the most unhelpful … I can’t think of anything less revealing. It just pushed me further into a place of terror and insecurity. It was a real shame. And bless him. And I really do mean bless him, because he was trying his damnedest.”
“I can’t think of anything less revealing,” Newton said. “It just pushed me further into a place of terror and insecurity. It was a real shame. And bless him. And I really do mean bless him, because he was trying his damnedest.”
She continued: “He wasn’t horrible. It was just — he was really stressed.”
However, Newton recalled phoning a friend, Jonathan Demme, after the first night they shot the scene and saying it was “a nightmare.”
2020: Covid Rant
The Sun published leaked audio of Cruise yelling at “Mission: Impossible 7” crew members in December 2020 after COVID-19 safety rules were broken on set.
The crew had already ceased shooting at Warner Bros. Studios in Leavesden, England, earlier that year due to coronavirus regulations. The Sun reported that Cruise flew into a frenzy after noticing two crew members standing within 2 meters of one other.
Tom screamed in the video obtained by The Sun: “If I see you doing it again, you’re f***ing gone.”
The actor went on: “We are the gold standard. They’re back there in Hollywood making movies right now because of us. Because they believe in us and what we’re doing.
“We are creating thousands of jobs, you motherf***ers. I don’t ever want to see it again. Ever!”
Fans were divided over the outburst. Some took issue with Cruise’s aggressive tone and use of explicit language, while others agreed with his points, claiming he was taking a stand for health and safety during the global pandemic.
2022: Tom Cruise’s once refused to speak to a waitress because he was “still in character.”
In an interview, Cruise’s former manager, Eileen Berlin, told the Daily Mail that the actor once refused to speak to a waitress when she recognized him because he was still in character.
“The waitress asked him, ‘Aren’t you one of the actors?'” Berlin recalled, adding that Cruise was upset that she’d recognized him. “Tom said to us, ‘Please tell her not to ask me any questions. I’m still in character.'”
In the same interview, Berlin discussed an incident involving Cruise, a teen magazine, and her face. She claimed Cruise had a “terrible temper” and revealed that she showed the actor an album containing articles about him from teen magazines. His reaction was unexpected.
“He screamed, ‘I don’t want to be in the teen mags,’” she said. “He had told me he considered himself an adult, not a teen idol. He threw the album hard at me, and it hit me on the cheek.” The former manager also said she hadn’t seen the actor truly happy before.