K A T I E   H O L M E S :
The Girl Next Door


Becoming Kate

Fairlady magazine - South Africa
May 2008

She has a promising acting career, a beautiful daughter and has managed to bag herself an A-list actor husband. So where to now for the inimitable Katie Holmes?

Katie Holmes entered the public consciousness as 16-year-old Joey Potter, the angst-filled, wide-eyed innocent patiently waiting to be saved by Dawson Leery.

Somewhere along the line, though, the world forgot to let go of the Potter persona. Now 29, the former "Dawson's Creek" star juggles a family and a career.

But to call Katie a normal mom would be completely misleading. After all, her marriage to film star Tom Cruise catapulted her into the A-list celebrity stratosphere and brought with it unprecedented media scrutiny. As one half of TomKat, Katie's name has launched a million gossip rag rumours.

A lesser starlet would have cracked under the pressure, but, amid the speculation and 'Free Katie' T-shirts, level-headed Katie maintains that her life is everything she's ever wanted.

'I feel very lucky. I have a husband and children that I adore. I have a career that I really love. When I sit back and reflect, it's – Wow! I am very grateful,' she told Harper's Bazaar.

When the gossip became overwhelming, Katie eventually spoke out. 'I was overjoyed in being pregnant and then had to withstand ridicule about my pregnancy when it was the most normal, non-controversial thing imaginable. All those things were invented,' she told Vanity Fair.

Behind all the Suri-watch urban legends, the public lost the plot and Katie felt attacked. 'I do know what's being said in the press,' she says.

'This is my future. This is my family and I care so much about them. The stories are not okay. It eats away at me because it's just not okay.' Her positive approach is anchored in the fact that she has no regrets about her life. 'I feel I really lived my 20s and I'm happy about that.'

Kate went from being sweet little Katie Holmes to Kate Cruise,' close friend Jada Pinkett-Smith told American People magazine. 'That's a really huge leap from one world into another.' It certainly was.

In the space of two years since meeting Tom, Katie has got married, acquired two stepchildren (Tom's adopted children with ex-wife Nicole Kidman) and had a baby.

Suri Cruise was born a year to the day of Tom and Katie's first date – 18 April 2006. Unlike other celebrity parents, at the time of Suri's birth the Cruises released minimal information to the public. The media, hungry for news, grew restless and controversy swirled around the newborn.

Katie says she wasn't hiding Suri: 'We were always going to release a photo. We just didn't want to get into the whole production of setting up a photo shoot at that time. I really just wanted to enjoy this precious time with my daughter. I knew I'd never get that time back,' she said in the Vanity Fair edition in which Suri made her magazine cover debut.

'She's the miracle of our life,' Katie says about her 'glorious girl' Suri. Throughout the pregnancy, Katie craved the colour pink and the Cruises settled on the name Suri long before the child's sex was determined.

'I felt so proud to be having a baby and so excited,' she says in Harper's Bazaar, 'I've really enjoyed this time that I have taken to be with Suri as well as the challenges of the first couple of months: feeding and pumping, learning to decipher what each cry means.'

Katie's definitely not short of helpers, with stepchildren Isabella and Connor fighting to spend time with Suri. 'It's really special to see them holding their little sister, to hear them talk,' says Katie.

Now that Suri's older – she's just turned two years old – Katie has returned to work. She stars alongside Queen Latifah and Diane Keaton in "Mad Money," an action-comedy due for release in South Africa in April, about a trio of employees who plot to rob the Federal Reserve Bank.

Katie told "Entertainment Tonight": 'I really enjoyed the time that I had to be at home and be just a mom, and now I'm excited to be back at work. I always planned on it and I feel really lucky because Suri has come; my trailer is a nursery.'

Katie Noelle Holmes's upbringing in Toledo, Ohio, seems light years away from the life she now leads. She was born in 1978 to housewife Kathleen and divorce lawyer Martin Joseph Holmes.

The youngest of five children, she describes her upbringing in a middle-class Catholic home as 'sheltered, sheltered, sheltered'.

'I had a very happy childhood. I grew up naïve, but I liked that. I feel sad when kids experience too much too young,' she told Interview Magazine.

Throughout school, Katie modelled and acted in plays. In 1996 she was taken to a New York talent expo by the modelling school owner, where an acting agent snapped her up. In 1997 she was cast in Ang Lee's "The Ice Storm" alongside Kevin Kline and Sigourney Weaver.

She was then asked to audition for a part in a new series, "Dawson's Creek," but she called it off because it conflicted with her school play. Instead, she submitted a videotape, but still won the part, which made her a household name.

Katie has often spoken of the similarities between herself and Joey. 'Her life parallels mine, which is all about a new everything – relationships, personal perceptions – and about being guarded,' she told Toledo's local newspaper, The Blade.

Her television success hasn't been replicated in film and, although she's starred in some 15 movies, she admits that many were box office bombs. Her most notable movies include "Disturbing Behavior" (1998), "Wonder Boys" (2000), "The Gift" (2000), "Phone Booth" (2003), "Batman Begins" (2005) and the recent "Thank You For Smoking" (2005).

In "The Gift," Katie attempted to shed her sweet girl image by appearing topless.

In recent years, Katie's career has been eclipsed by the attention devoted to her love life. Her first real romance happened on the set of "Dawson's Creek," with co-star Joshua Jackson.

This was followed by a five-year relationship with American Pie actor Chris Klein. The couple got engaged in 2004, but they broke up in early 2005. 'We grew up, the fantasy was over and reality set in,' says Klein about the split in Us Weekly.

Barely three months after her relationship with Klein ended, Katie made a red carpet appearance with Cruise at the David di Donatello Awards.

Theories abounded that the pairing was a publicity stunt for their new movies, but throughout the press tour for Batman Begins, Katie assured us she'd fallen in love with Tom – her celebrity crush since his Risky Business days. 'From the moment I met him, it just felt like I'd known him forever – I was blown away,' she told W magazine.

The actor, 16 years her senior, swept her off her feet and made exuberant proclamations of love, followed by an Eiffel Tower proposal. Four months later they announced Katie's pregnancy. In November 2006 the couple were married in an opulent Scientology ceremony in a 15th Century Italian castle.

The media reacted to TomKat with suspicion and cynicism, allegedly concerned that Katie had fallen under the influence of Scientology – the religious movement Tom staunchly supports.

Katie, however, says she finds the religion 'exciting'. 'What I like about it is that I was raised Catholic and you can be a Catholic and a Scientologist,' she says in W.

Pinkett-Smith jumped to Katie's defence, slamming reports that she's living in captivity. '[This idea that] Tom's this monster and he's got her chained up in the basement and he's forcing Scientology down her throat – it's bulls**t. Let me tell you: Kate ain't no little wimpy kitty-cat.'

With all the media attention, it's hard to separate Katie from the TomKat phenomenon. Recently, though, she's held the spotlight without her husband. She's been holding court at the biggest fashion events, often with Victoria Beckham. Katie's short bob hairstyle has also inspired thousands of copycats and her style choices have landed her kudos aplenty.

'I wanted a change,' she says. 'I had never had short hair. I thought "why not?" It is so much easier and it's fun to do something different.'

Yes, the perfect finishing touch to the new, improved Kate Cruise.