Hollywood celebrities giving confusing, eccentric, and – at times – controversial interviews is not a new concept. But what Tom Cruise did in 2005 went down as one of the few most entertainingly bizarre celebrity interviews in television history.
By this time, Oprah had transformed her daytime talk show into something beyond the ordinary, sitting herself on the throne of American pop culture. Tom Cruise was at the height of popularity, coming off recent hits War of the Worlds, The Last Samurai, and Minority Report – all in the midst of the revolutionary Mission: Impossible franchise.
Mere minutes into the two stars' interview, Cruise was compelled to leap onto Oprah's couch, declaring his love for fellow Hollywood icon Katie Holmes.
"I feel that way about her," Cruise ranted. "I can't even articulate it – that feeling, that connection, just who she is and what she means to me."
He pumped his fists, shouted to the crowd – a crowd that symbiotically fed and received energy. He knelt on the floor, beaming his all-American smile the entire time.
By no means his only odd public appearance, this incident occurred just at the breaking dawn of social media. His energetic rants and peculiar demeanor became a staple of the internet, still viewed and mocked to this day.
Neither party has spoken much publicly about the incident in the 17 years since. No indication of drug usage was given, nor did Cruise give any reasoning. The closest comment Cruise gave on the matter was joking that he was in his "year of jumping dangerously" (a reference to The Year of Living Dangerously starring Mel Gibson, who's given his fair share of entertainingly bizarre interviews).
Over a decade and a half later, Seth Rogen gave what might be a little insight into the bizarre situation.
Cruise hasn't yet commented on its validity, but Rogen revealed details in his memoir Yearbook – a collection of true stories in Rogen's life. The conversation in question occurred during a five-hour meeting for Knocked Up, the 2007 Judd Apatow film that helped cement Rogen among Hollywood's comedy elites.
In Rogen's words, Cruise didn't think the interview was as bad as it seemed. In fact, Rogen was told that the interview was meant to look that way, that he was edited to look delusional. He was made to look bad, whether for entertainment value or to tarnish his reputation.
If true, this would stay consistent with Cruise's feelings on the media's intervention.
In 2008, Cruise said he didn't stress about his reputation. After all, the media spins it how they choose, according to Cruise. The same year as his appearance on Oprah's show, Cruise had a confrontational interview with Matt Lauer which Cruise believed was staged to be that way. He said pharmaceutical companies were out to get him because of his exposure of their fraud.
Cruise still enjoys commercial success, with his film career now spanning five separate decades. His 2022 film Top Gun: Maverick has been one of the year's most popular blockbusters. He's starred in every imaginable genre. He's been one of the most famous living men since he was in his 20s. On the surface, he truly seems to be content with his reputation.
But if what Rogen said truly happened, why wouldn't Cruise tell that to the public? He certainly has no worries outing the media when at odds with them.
Maybe it is, in fact, more personal than that. His outburst on Oprah was a deeply personal one. When it was clear Cruise was more excitable than usual, Oprah said, "Something happened to you!" To which Cruise gleefully replied, "I'm in love."
Cruise and Holmes have now quite publicly gone their separate ways. His "connection" he admitted on so public a platform didn't last, which may explain his refusal to speak on the subject.
Whatever his reasons and whether Rogen's memoir recounts the truth, one thing is certain: the viral interview will never cease to entertain pop culture fanatics.