Welcome to Stepford
That Katie Holmes is either seriously deluded or seriously brainwashed:
"I've found the man of my dreams," says the 26-year-old actress ... "From the moment I met him," she continues, "it just felt like I'd known him forever. I was blown away. He's the most incredible man. He's so generous and kind, and he helps so many people, and, um, he makes me laugh like I've never laughed, and he's a great friend.…"My god, the crash and burn on this one is going to be something spectacular.
...Do you ever wonder whether this is just a honeymoon phase?
"Tom and I will always be in our honeymoon phase."
Anyone who has seen photos from the couple's June tour of European capitals in support of their summer movies will recognize the tall, cold-eyed Jessica Rodriguez, a third wheel at all of Holmes's recent public appearances. Rodriguez, 29, was described to me as Holmes's "Scientologist chaperone," and it was clear that she would be on hand during our interview despite my protests. Polite and restrained but alert to troublesome questions, Rodriguez chimes in only to offer an amen following one of Holmes's rhapsodies. ("You adore him," Rodriguez says after the actress explains that she can't keep her hands off Cruise.) But she rises from her chair when Holmes is asked how she feels about the widespread disbelief in her new union.
"The truth is, we don't read that stuff because it's just rude," Rodriguez says—referring to rumors that Cruise made a financial arrangement with Holmes (after auditioning a field of other young starlets, including Scarlett Johansson, Jessica Alba and Kate Bosworth).
Cruise may not be imposing his will on Holmes's career, but, with Rodriguez's help, he appears to have made a strong bid for her soul. After the interview, when I ask Rodriguez how long she's worked with Holmes—reports call her a longtime employee of the Church of Scientology—she waves her hand and says, "Oh, no, we're just best friends.… Well, Katie has a lot of friends." And how long have you been friends? "Oh, a while," Rodriguez answers. "I don't know."
It turns out the two women were introduced only six weeks earlier—right around the time when Holmes met Cruise. ... Rodriguez comes from a family of wealthy Bay area Scientologists; she attended a boarding school in Oregon linked to Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard, then went to work for the church, reportedly attaining membership in the Sea Org—Scientology's elite religious order, whose members commit to the church for one billion years—in 1998. No one close to Holmes will venture to say exactly what Rodriguez's role in the actress's life is these days.
No pressure from Cruise, she swears: "That's really ludicrous because, I mean, you have to know Tom. He is the most loving, generous man who… first of all, he wants to help people. He doesn't put pressure on people. He is the kindest, smartest, most adoring man. It's a pleasure and a privilege to be with him."
As if that weren't already perfectly clear, just then a security guard lumbers into the dressing room and presents Holmes with a giant silver box tied in a thick purple ribbon. A small crowd gathers to watch her gleefully tear open the package and pluck out a Chanel diamond necklace—a gift, naturally, from Cruise. "He's my man! He's my man!" she screams, then jumps up on her chair to do an impression of her fiancé's now-famous sofa shtick from Oprah.
People begin to cheer. "This is your moment!" cries the manicurist.
"I can do splits too," Holmes says, jumping down and splaying herself across the floor. On that note, I suggest, we should probably get the photo shoot started.
"On that note," she replies, "I love him."
...A billion years?