Tom Cruise, Katie Holmes to divorce

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Pardon the cynicism, but no amount of public couch-jumping could convince some people that Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes were ever a love match.

The terse announcement from Holmes’ attorney Friday about an impending divorce no doubt came as news to some, but Hollywood marriages are notoriously tricky — think of the duelling egos — so this split is hardly out of left field.

Early reports put Cruise, who turns 50 this Tuesday, away working in Iceland and “blindsided” by his wife’s filing. It’s difficult to believe he was truly surprised by this turn of events, not merely because it was first reported by People magazine. For reasons of common courtesy and good business (and an A-list actor’s life is all about business), it seems unlikely that Cruise was entirely unprepared for this news.

It’s believed Holmes, 33, has asked for sole legal custody and primary residential custody of the couple’s six-year-old daughter, Suri; this is the most telling item in any news of the divorce. The current rumours are that Holmes wants her child away from the influence of the Church of Scientology, to which Cruise has strong ties. It’s also a custody arrangement that could help dampen the enthusiasm of paparazzi, something Holmes would no doubt welcome.

Holmes and Cruise were married in the fall of 2006 after what is generally described as a whirlwind courtship. Their daughter had been born in April that year. There has always been plenty of material in their relationship for gossip websites, starting with Holmes’ confession that she had had a crush on Cruise as an adolescent and fantasized about marrying him one day.

Cruise has had his orientation questioned and his religion mocked, and just about every aspect of his life has been under the microscope. He was previously married to Mimi Rogers and Nicole Kidman; he and Kidman have two children together. That marriage also ended in a cloud of speculation and odd publicity, and the meaning of Cruise’s mysterious public statement at the time, “Nic knows what she did,” is still cause for gossip.

Holmes’ marriage to Cruise was her first. She was engaged to actor Chris Klein (American Pie) from December 2003 to early spring of 2005.

From the beginning, Cruise’s relationship with Holmes was talked about, and often in a cruel fashion. Conjecture and guesswork made their union a business arrangement, for example, involving contracts and payoffs.

One way or another, this may work out to be a knock-down, drag ‘em out split, rife with malicious chat and ugly rumours. Cruise and Holmes were married for six years. The couple is said to have a pre-nup agreement which would see Holmes leave the marriage with about $15 million.