Did Scientology almost ruin Tom Cruise's career? The actor's long-time publicist Pat Kingsley is opening up for the first time about how she struggled to get him to keep quiet about his association with the controversial church, in a no-holds-barred tell-all with The Hollywood Reporter. She admits, "I did have that conversation with him, about cooling it with the Scientology talk."
Kingsley and Cruise first met on the set of A Few Good Men in 1992, when Cruise asked Kingsley to come by for a job interview of sorts. "He grilled me in his trailer," she remembers. "It was fabulous! 'What do you think about this? How important do you think Japan is? And how important do you think TV is as opposed to print?'"
"I was quite taken with him," Kingsley says. "And then he called me and said, 'Let's start tomorrow.'"
That call would begin more than a decade of working and personal relationship between the two that was notorious in Hollywood circles for its closeness.
In daily late-night calls and trips in Cruise's plane, they discussed every aspect of his life. "We could almost finish each other's sentences," Kingsley says.
"I liked the fact that he was so much fun," she continues. "And he was so thoughtful. He remembered birthdays, my daughter's birthday. He came to her wedding. She was registered somewhere for the china, and he bought out everything!"
"We never really had a disagreement about direction or any particular interview," Kingsley reveals. "There was complete trust on each side."
But there was one issue that came between them: the Church of Scientology.
Kingsley claims she experienced some meddling from church officials, "but it was taken care of very early in the game," she says. "I felt that they were involved in a story I was doing on Tom, and I said, 'It's not your story, it's Tom's. You have to step aside.' And they did."
Still, she was troubled by the actor's association with the controversial church. "I did have that conversation with Tom, about cooling it with Scientology," she reveals.
In the run-up to his promotional tour for 2003's The Last Samurai, Kingsley claims she told Cruise, "'Scientology is fine. You want to do a tour for Scientology? Do a tour for Scientology. But Warner Bros. is sponsoring this tour.'
She remembers, "He did not discuss Scientology on that European tour."
Just a few months later, however, he made the decision to end their professional and personal relationship.
"His assistant called and made an appointment for Tom to come into my office," she says. "He had never been to my office before. And he came in, had a few minutes of chitchat, and he said, 'I want you to know I've decided to make a change.'"
"I said, 'I knew this was going to happen today,'" Kingsley claims. "'I guess I'll probably take a pretty big hit with the media.' And he said, 'Well, we've all had those hits, haven't we?'"
Kingsley claims that the pair haven't spoken since.