People just confirmed that Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes are divorcing. When Katie and Tom started their whirlwind romance back in 2005 (they didn’t marry until 2006) there was a lot of speculation that she only married him to boost her career. Katie was best known for her work on Dawson’s Creek up to that point and was on the brink of a promising film career with roles in Pieces of April, Wonder Boys and the big blockbuster of the summer of 2005, Batman Begins. But she had kept a fairly low profile as a celebrity so a relationship with a major movie star would bring her exposure on to a whole new level. Katie did become a bigger celebrity but did it actually didn’t help her film career that much. Could this divorce actually help her career?
If you look at Katie’s film choices since she married Cruise, they have been a little bizarre. According to Nicole LaPorte of The Daily Beast her marriage to Tom actually set her career back. She wrote in November after the release of the very poorly received Jack & Jill:
“The role is part of a rolled-out comeback for Holmes that has included the Sundance cop drama Son of No One; the controversial Reelz Channel miniseries The Kennedys, in which Holmes played Jackie O.; and Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark, the Guillermo del Toro horror film released in August that made a mere $23 million at the domestic box office. There was also Holmes’s recent appearance as a “slutty pumpkin” on How I Met Your Mother.
It’s an odd potpourri of choices for an actress who was once one of the most sought-after young stars in Hollywood, but who virtually disappeared from the screen in the years following her marriage to Tom Cruise in 2005.”
Their marriage got so much attention not only because Tom was an a-list movie star but because Katie had been so under the radar in many ways, which she seemed to prefer. She had had a very low-profile long relationship with actor Chris Klein and then was suddenly thrust into the spotlight with her whirlwind relationship with Cruise. But she seemed to enjoy the boost in her celebrity status despite speculation that the marriage was purely done for business reasons that would be beneficial to both: he was trying to quash rumors of his homosexuality and she for some reason thought she needed to boost her celebrity status.
But what the marriage didn’t do was help her career. First of all, she had a baby right away and took a little time off. But then the films she chose (Mad Money, The Romantics, Don’t be Afraid of the Dark) were mostly box office and critical failures. She also turned down the sequel to Batman Begins, The Dark Knight, which seemed like an odd move.
A divorce may give Katie the freedom to explore her career and get it back to where it was. Nicole wrote of Katie’s odd film choices:
“But it also follows the trajectory Holmes has always stuck to as a performer, which is to throw everything against the wall and see what sticks. Which raises the question: how does an actress who was never really defined in the first place go about defining herself at the age of 32, which, in movie terms, is more like 48?”
What Katie should do is look at Nicole Kidman. The year Nicole and Tom divorced (2001) was the year Moulin Rouge came out which was a career breakthrough for the actress. She was nominated for an Oscar for that role, made a slew of critically acclaimed films and won an Oscar for The Hours the very next year. And in Hollywood terms, Nicole was no spring chicken either (she was 34.)