Tom Cruise’s feud with Steven Spielberg got dark, with Scientology involved

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But in the coverage of the Oscars luncheon, nothing much was made of the fact that the two had been estranged for nearly 20 years and the turbulent reasons for that estrangement. Industry veterans Kim Masters and Matthew Belloni have since come forward to discuss Cruise and Spielberg’s falling out and their apparent rapprochement last week in a new episode of Masters’ KRCW-FM radio show, “The Business.”

The estrangement goes back to when Cruise was supposed to be promoting “War of the Worlds” in 2005, but he let his passion for new girlfriend Katie Holmes and the Church of Scientology get the better of him.

“People will remember that Tom Cruise was very enthusiastic about Scientology and Katie Holmes in that period,” Masters, a longtime entertainment journalist, said.

During an appearance on Oprah Winfrey’s talk-show in May 2005 to promote the “War of the Worlds,” Cruise notoriously jumped on her couch to proclaim his love for Holmes. In another interview, Cruise lashed out at his friend Brooke Shields, calling her “irresponsible” for using antidepressants to treat postpartum depression. As of one Scientology’s leading members, Cruise would have been opposed to psychiatric therapy and the use of psychiatric medications.

When then-“Today” host Matt Lauer asked Cruise about his criticism of Shields, Cruise became visibly combative and called psychiatry a “pseudoscience.” He also accused Lauer of being “glib” when the host mentioned knowing people for whom the prescription drug Ritalin worked. Cruise ranted against the drug, often used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and told Lauer: “You don’t even know what Ritalin is.”

While Cruise later apologized to Shields and invited her to his 2006 fairy-tale wedding to Holmes in an Italian castle, the damage was done to the actor’s once sterling reputation.

“There was a lot of negative publicity,” Masters said. At the time, she reported that Spielberg believed that Cruise’s “antics” had overshadowed the release of “War of the Worlds” and cost the film some $30 million in box office. “I’m not sure how he calculates that,” Masters said. The film still ended up earning $603 million in worldwide box office.

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1 comment

  1. Tom Cruise learned the hard way that talking about Scientology and its beliefs publicly in an interview is a box office killer and not good for his career.

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