Katie Holmes (born December 18, 1978) is an American actress who first achieved fame for her role as Joey Potter on The WB television teen drama Dawson's Creek from 1998 to 2003. Her movie roles have ranged from art house films such as The Ice Storm to thrillers such as Abandon to blockbusters such as Batman Begins.
In early 2005, Holmes began a highly publicized relationship with actor Tom Cruise, sixteen years her senior. In June, two months after they first met, Holmes and Cruise were engaged. Their relationship made Holmes the subject of international media attention, much of it negative, including speculation the relationship was a publicity stunt to promote the couple's films. Holmes, who raised a Roman Catholic, converted to Cruise's religion, Scientology, shortly after the couple began dating. The couple announced Holmes was pregnant in October 2005; on April 18, 2006, she gave birth to Suri Cruise. On November 18, 2006, she and Cruise were married in Italy.
Early life and career
Holmes was born in Toledo, Ohio, the youngest in a family of five children (four daughters, one son) of Kathleen A., a homemaker and a philanthropist, and Martin Joseph Holmes, Sr. (born 1945), a lawyer, an attorney specializing in divorces. She lived in the Corey Woods section of Sylvania Township, Lucas County, in a brick 1862 Italianate-style home. Her siblings are Tamera (born c. 1968), Holly Ann (born c. 1970), Martin Joseph, Jr. (born 1970), who works as a lawyer in Ohio, and Nancy Kay, Mrs. Blaylock (born c. 1975).
Holmes, baptized a Roman Catholic, attended Christ the King Church and parochial schools in Toledo. Her high school was the all-female Notre Dame Academy, her mother's alma mater, where Katie was a 4.0 student. At St. John's Jesuit, a nearby all-male high school, she appeared in school musicals, playing a waiter in Hello, Dolly! and Lola in Damn Yankees. She scored 1310 on her SAT and was accepted to Columbia University (and attended for a summer session); her father wanted her to be a doctor. Holmes loved reading: "I never feel lonely in a bookstore", she said. A British writer profiling her in 2003 said "The way Holmes approached her unusual education was as American as apple pie: she went to cheerleading practice, got straight A grades, and made a pledge that she would remain a virgin until marriage." Holmes told her hometown paper The Blade that the three words best describing herself were "honest, determined, and imaginative."
At age fourteen she began classes at a modeling school in Toledo run by Margaret O'Brien, who took her to a New York City talent expo in 1996. There she found an agent after performing a monologue from To Kill a Mockingbird. An audition tape was sent to the casting director for the 1997 film The Ice Storm, directed by Ang Lee. She was cast in the role of Libbets Casey, in the film which starred Kevin Kline and Sigourney Weaver. Ang Lee told The Blade, "Katie was cast because she had the perfect amount of innocence and worldliness that we needed for Libbets. I was really taken by her wide open eyes. She really is a beautiful girl but there is also a lot of intelligence there and it shows."
In January 1997, Holmes went to Los Angeles for pilot season, when producers cast and shoot new programs in the hopes of securing a spot on a network schedule. The Blade reported she was offered the lead in Buffy the Vampire Slayer but she turned it down.
Columbia Tri-Star Television, producer of a new show created by screenwriter Kevin Williamson, asked her to come to Los Angeles to audition, but there was a conflict with her schedule. "I was doing my school play, Damn Yankees. And I was playing Lola. I even got to wear the feather boa. I thought, 'There is no way I'm not playing Lola to go audition for some network. I couldn't let my school down. We had already sold a lot of tickets. So I told Kevin and The WB, 'I'm sorry. I just can't meet with you this week. I've got other commitments.'"
The producers permitted her to audition on videotape. Holmes read for the part of Joey Potter, the tomboy best friend of the title character Dawson, on a videotape shot in her basement, her mother reading Dawson's lines. The Hollywood Reporter claimed the story of Holmes's audition "has become the stuff of legend" and "no one even thought that it was weird that one of the female leads would audition via Federal Express."
Holmes won the part. Paul Stupin, executive producer of the show, said his first reaction on seeing her audition tape was "That's Joey Potter!" Creator and executive producer Kevin Williamson said Holmes has a "unique combination of talent, beauty and skill that makes Hollywood come calling. But that's just the beginning. To meet her is to instantly fall under her spell." Williamson thought she had exactly the right look for Joey Potter. "She had those eyes, those eyes just stained with loneliness."
"Joey Potter is a headstrong, vibrant, wily, sultry, and determined go-getter. And yet, in a gloriously contradictory manner, in spite of her tough-as-nails exterior demeanor, Joey's also a frail, sometimes uncertain, emotionally sensitive, in-need-of-love person", said the show's official book. Joey, named for Jo in Little Women, for years had been climbing in Dawson's bedroom window and platonically sharing his bed. Joey's mother had died from cancer when Joey was thirteen and her father, Mike (Gareth Williams), was in prison for "conspiracy to traffic in marijuana in excess of 10,000 pounds." Her harried, unmarried, and very pregnant sister, Bessie (Nina Repeta), about five years older than Joey, was raising her while running the Ice House restaurant, where Joey worked as a waitress. GQ described Joey as "kind of an uptight fussbudget—one who's always twisted up over doing the right thing and bungling-up ways to hook up with her crush and across the creek neighbor, Dawson."
"I'm a lot like Joey", said Holmes. "I think they saw that. I come from a small town. I was a tomboy. Joey tries to be articulate and deny that she doesn't have a lot of experience in life. Her life parallels mine, which is all about new everything—relationships, personal perceptions—and about being guarded." Holmes filmed the pilot of Dawson's Creek in Wilmington, North Carolina, during spring break of her senior year of high school in 1997. When the show was picked up by The WB, Holmes moved to Wilmington, where the show filmed.
The tall (5 ft 9 in.) brunette enchanted the press, writers of both sexes commenting how Holmes was the sort of girl one wants to bring home to meet the parents and to marry. "The Audrey Hepburn of her generation", was one typical comment. Time called her "impossibly lovely" and Entertainment Weekly said she was "next up for idolhood." Variety, reviewing the pilot, said Holmes "is a confident young performer who delivers her lines with slyness and conviction." Holmes made such an impression in Hollywood, The New York Times Magazine claimed everyone was seeking to cast a "Katie Holmes type", who, the reporter claimed, "is a throwback to the 1950s: she is a smart girl next door (as opposed to the babe-o-rama blondes)"—the sort represented by her Dawson's Creek co-star Michelle Williams. But her "type" was no less attractive, Arena magazine declaring her "the most coquettishly sexy woman on television. Anywhere."
The show was aggressively marketed by The WB Network before its premiere in January 1998. The cast was featured in the J. Crew catalog and trailers for the program were shown in movie theatres. Before the premiere, the show's talk of sex caused a stir in the press; one of the show's producers, Procter and Gamble, withdrew after negative press in its hometown newspapers. Holmes was soon on the covers of magazines such as Seventeen, TV Guide, and Rolling Stone. Jancee Dunn, an editor at Rolling Stone said she was chosen for the cover because "every time you mention Dawson's Creek you tend to get a lot of dolphin-like shrieks from teenage girls. The fact that she is drop-dead gorgeous didn't hurt either."
Reviews were mixed. The Blade said the characters "just talk like they came from a planet ruled by Manhattan psychologists, one where small talk is punishable by death." Holmes herself needed help with the dialogue. "Sometimes before we read a script, I have to get my dictionary and call people to make sure I'm pronouncing some of the words correctly." The show brought her national attention and many fans back home; Toledo's Thanksgiving Day parade in November 1998 had record attendance when Holmes was named grand marshal.
Dawson's Creek ran from 1998 to 2003, and Holmes was the only actor to appear in all 128 episodes. "It was very difficult for me to leave Wilmington, to have my little glass bubble burst and move on. I hate change. On the other hand it was refreshing to play someone else", she said in 2004. Holmes confirmed that, as is often the case on soaps, the character was a caricature of the actor:
“I miss her spirit, and her spunk, and I miss her anxiety. She always had these long speeches about her fears and her future and love. It was a great tool for me personally because I got to get it all out. I was able to psychoanalyze all of it everyday with her and then I wouldn't have to do it on my own. So much of me is in Joey and it really felt like I grew up on television.”
"As Joey", said Life magazine, "Holmes has had seismic influences on teen life... Through it all, Joey has managed to hang on to her integrity... The show—and Katie's character in particular—has touched a nerve."
In 2005, Holmes characterized her film career as being a string of "bombs." "Usually I'm not even in the top ten", she said, the highest grossing film of her career at that time being Phone Booth, in which she played a supporting role. She lamented "It's not like I have a lot of stuff that's great just waiting for me to sign on to."
Her first leading role came in Disturbing Behavior (1998), a Scream-era Stepford Wives-goes-to-high school thriller, where she was a loner from the wrong side of the tracks. Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times wrote her character, Rachel, "dresses in black and likes to strike poses on the beds of pickup trucks and is a bad girl who is in great danger of becoming a very good one." The actress won a MTV Movie Award for Best Breakthrough Performance for the role, though Holmes said the film was "just horrible."
Holmes played a disaffected supermarket clerk in Doug Liman's acclaimed ensemble piece Go (1999).
She had an uncredited cameo with Dawson's Creek co-star Joshua Jackson in Muppets from Space (1999), which was also filmed in Wilmington.
In Kevin Williamson's Teaching Mrs. Tingle (1999), which he wrote and directed, Holmes played a straight-A student whose vindictive teacher (Helen Mirren) threatens to keep her from a desperately needed scholarship.
In Wonder Boys (2000), directed by Curtis Hanson from the novel by Michael Chabon, Holmes had a small role (six and one-half minutes of screen time) but nevertheless attracted the attention of numerous film critics with her performance as Hannah Green, the talented student who lusts after Professor Grady Tripp (Michael Douglas), her creative writing instructor and landlord. Kenneth Turan of The Los Angeles Times said she was "just right as the beauty with kind of a crush on the old man."
In The Gift (2000), a Southern Gothic story directed by Sam Raimi and starring Cate Blanchett, she played the antithesis of Joey Potter: a promiscuous rich girl having affairs with everyone from a sociopathic wife-beater (Keanu Reeves) to the district attorney (Gary Cole), and is murdered by her fiancé (Greg Kinnear). Holmes did her first nude scene for the film, in a scene where her character was about to be murdered. Of the scene, she said, "I just hope there aren't a lot of pauses on DVD players." Her appearance was lamented by Variety's Steven Kotler: "It seems the only time we see a naked woman on screen is when someone like Katie Holmes needs to break with her sanitized WB past and march brazenly into a new future." In Ohio, the scene met with disapproval, Russ Lemmon writing in The Blade:
“Toledo's Katie Holmes—whose popularity is probably directly proportional to her perceived level of sweetness and innocence—bares her breasts in The Gift. . . Say it ain't so, Katie. . . Katie's topless scene was gratuitous. It added nothing to the movie . . I hope it added to her checking account, above and beyond what she would have received for appearing fully clothed throughout. I also hope her contract stipulated that she will receive a percentage of DVD rentals and sales. As one Internet writer on roughcut.com put it: Katie's topless scene assures that "The Gift will be the DVD most rented by teenage (and not teenage) boys in the history of freeze frame" . . . It seems to me that the four years that she spent cultivating a wholesome image vanished in just a few seconds—in a potential box-office bomb, no less.”
In Abandon (2002), written by Oscar winner Stephen Gaghan, Holmes was a delusional, homicidal college student named "Katie." Todd McCarthy of Variety and Roger Ebert commended her performance, but other critics and audiences savaged it. The actress played the mistress of the public relations flack played by Colin Farrell in Phone Booth (2002) and Robert Downey, Jr.'s nurse in The Singing Detective (2003). Holmes's next starring role was in Pieces of April (2003), a gritty comedy about a dysfunctional family on Thanksgiving.
Variety said it was "one of her best film performances." "Each actor shines", wrote Elvis Mitchell, "even Ms. Holmes, whose beauty seems to have fogged the minds of her previous directors" in playing "a brat who is slaving to find her inner decency and barely has the equipment for such an achievement, let alone to serve a meal whose salmonella potential could claim an entire borough. Yet it is her surliness, as well as her intransigent determination to make Thanksgiving work, that keeps the laughs coming."
Holmes played the President's daughter in First Daughter, which was originally to be released in January 2004 on the same day as Chasing Liberty, another film about a president's daughter, but was ultimately released in September 2004 to dismal reviews and ticket sales. First Daughter, directed by Forest Whitaker, also starred Michael Keaton as her father and Marc Blucas as her love interest. The Hollywood Reporter's Kirk Honeycutt called her character, Samantha Mackenzie, "a startling example of how a studio film can dumb down and neutralize the comic abilities of a lively young star." In the 2005 film Batman Begins, the most successful film of her career to date, she played Rachel Dawes, an attorney in the Gotham City district attorney's office and the childhood sweetheart of the title character. Variety was unenthusiastic. "Holmes is OK", was its critic's sole remark on her performance. She received a Golden Raspberry nomination for "worst supporting actress" for the film.
In 2005, she appeared in the film version of Christopher Buckley's satirical novel Thank You for Smoking about a tobacco lobbyist played by Aaron Eckhart, whom Holmes's character, a Washington reporter, seduces. Variety wrote one of the film's "sole relatively weak notes [came] from Holmes, who lacks even a hint of the wiliness of a ruthless reporter" and The New York Times said the cast was "exceptionally fine" except for Holmes, who "strain[ed] credulity" in her role.
After speculation about her reprising her role in The Dark Knight, the sequel to Batman Begins, it was finally confirmed by her agent that she would not appear because she didn't want to spend too much time away from her family. Instead, she decided to star in the comedy Mad Money, opposite Diane Keaton and Queen Latifah.
Holmes had agreed to play in Shame on You, a biopic about the country singer Spade Cooley written and directed by Dennis Quaid, as the wife whom Cooley (played by Quaid) stomps to death. But the picture, set to shoot in New Orleans, Louisiana, was delayed by Hurricane Katrina, and Holmes dropped out because of her pregnancy.
Holmes in the media
Holmes hosted Saturday Night Live on February 24, 2001, participating in a send-up of Dawson's Creek where she falls madly in love with Chris Kattan's Mr. Peepers character and singing "Hey, Big Spender" from Sweet Charity. On the November 9, 2003 episode, she was Punk'd by Ashton Kutcher and the next year she was the subject of an episode of the MTV program Diary.
Holmes was annually named by both the British and American editions of FHM magazine as one of the sexiest women in the world from 1999 forward. She was named one of People's "50 Most Beautiful People" in 2003; its sibling Teen People declared her one of the "25 Hottest Stars Under 25" that year; and in 2005, People said she was one of the ten best dressed stars that year. She has appeared in advertisements for Garnier Lumia haircolor, Coach leather goods, and clothing retailer The Gap.
On November 4, 2007 Holmes ran, and successfully completed, the New York Marathon in 5:29:58.
Holmes purchased a townhouse in Wilmington in 2002. When Dawson's Creek ended its run in 2003, she moved to Los Angeles, California, then New York City in 2005, before back to Los Angeles when she married Tom Cruise. " Holmes dated her Dawson's Creek co-star Joshua Jackson for all the first season and part of the second season, the relationship ending peacefully. She told Rolling Stone, "I fell in love, I had my first love, and it was something so incredible and indescribable that I will treasure it always. And that I feel so fortunate because he's now one of my best friends." Holmes met actor Chris Klein in 2000. A Midwesterner like Holmes—he grew up in Illinois and Nebraska—Klein and Holmes were engaged in late 2003, but in early 2005 she and Klein ended their relationship. Press accounts cited the distance imposed by their careers as a factor. In the fall of 2005, Klein said of the split "We grew up. The fantasy was over and reality set in."
Relationship with Tom Cruise
Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes at a Yahoo! press conference in March 2006.
Weeks after her relationship with Chris Klein ended, Holmes began dating actor Tom Cruise. Their first public appearance together was on April 29, 2005, in Rome, Italy, at the David di Donatello Awards, the Italian equivalent of the Oscars. Her family expressed support, with her father stating, "We're very excited for Katie", and saying his daughter was "a very mature young lady with a good head on her shoulders. From all we have read and heard about [Cruise], he's a humanitarian and a real class act. From the perspective of a parent, we're very excited for both of them". Holmes's sister Tamara said, "They're both wonderful people."
Holmes, baptized a Roman Catholic, became interested in the Church of Scientology soon after she began dating actor Cruise. On May 23, 2005, Cruise appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show, jumping on Winfrey's couch and vociferously declaring his love for Holmes. He went backstage and pulled the embarrassed actress onto the program. Cruise proposed to Holmes in the early morning of June 17, 2005, atop Paris's Eiffel Tower; she accepted. At the press conference, attended by Holmes's mother, Cruise announced the news, declaring, "Today is a magnificent day for me. I'm engaged to a magnificent woman."
Back in Toledo, the news was greeted with skepticism. Even before Holmes' engagement, her hometown paper was already speculating about "what happens if our very own 'good ole Katie' morphs into 'Katie Holmes, the former actress now better known as Tom Cruise's third wife.'" Following the engagement, the Chicago Tribune sent a reporter to Toledo who found the citizens felt the biggest star from their city was not Holmes, but Jamie Farr, who played Corporal Maxwell Klinger on M*A*S*H. "I think he's bigger than Katie. He's so humble and he's so proud of his hometown—he name-drops it all the time. If it wasn't for Jamie, I don't think people would really know about Toledo", said a Toledo waitress. Others quoted by the newspaper were puzzled by her interest in Scientology. Farr subsequently wrote a letter to the newspaper declaring "I admire Katie Holmes. She is a wonderful, beautiful actress" and "I do not feel that Katie and I are in any form of competition in the city of Toledo."
Soon after beginning her relationship with Cruise, Holmes fired her long-time manager and agent and acquired a new "best friend", Jessica Rodriguez, who is from a prominent family of Scientologists. Robert Haskell, who wrote W magazine's cover story on the actress, said Rodriguez "was described to me as Holmes's 'Scientology chaperone' and it was clear that she would be on hand during our interview despite my protests." This was in contrast to Holmes's earlier press, which noted approvingly she "arrives without the ubiquitous PR person in tow."
On April 18, 2006, Holmes gave birth to a baby girl named Suri. It was said in the Vanity Fair article that Suri arrived exactly one year after Cruise and Holmes met, April 18, 2005. The Los Angeles Times summarized the written statement Cruise released on the birth as saying the name "is a word with origins in both Hebrew and Persian. In Hebrew, it means 'princess' and in Persian, 'red rose,' it was claimed in the release." Although some Hebrew linguists had never seen the word for "princess" spelled this way and its meaning, others said it was a Jewish, not Hebrew, derivation of "Sarah".
Until September 2006, Suri had not been seen in public, which led to tabloid stories questioning the existence of the child, contrasting Holmes and Cruise to other celebrity couples with newborns such as Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt. Typical was the US Weekly cover story "BABY MYSTERY: Best friends' visits denied, baby photos cancelled, a wedding delayed, and Katie in seclusion."
The first photographs of the child appeared in the October 2006 issue of Vanity Fair, shot by Annie Leibovitz. In the accompanying story, Holmes said "we weren't trying to hide anything" and said she was bothered by the press coverage. "I do know what is being said in the press. 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."
In an April 2006 interview with ABC News's Diane Sawyer, Cruise said he and Holmes were "just Scientologists" and that Suri would not be baptized Catholic.
Marriage to Cruise
On November 18, 2006, Holmes and Cruise were married at the 15th-century Odescalchi Castle in Bracciano, Italy, in a Scientology ceremony attended by many Hollywood stars. The actors' publicist said the couple had "officialized" their marriage in Los Angeles the day before the Italian ceremony. The day after the ceremony, the couple left for a honeymoon in the Maldives.
1997, The Ice Storm, Libbets Casey, First professional role
1998, Disturbing Behavior, Rachel Wagner, Starred in The Flys' music video for "Got You (Where I Want You)," a song from the film's soundtrack
1999, Go, Claire Montgomery,
1999, Muppets from Space, Joey Potter, Uncredited cameo
1999, Teaching Mrs. Tingle, Leigh Ann Watson, First lead role
2000, Wonder Boys, Hannah Green,
2000, The Gift, Jessica King, First (and only) topless scene
2002, Abandon, Katie Burke, Lead role
2003, Phone Booth, Pamela McFadden,
2003, The Singing Detective, Nurse Mills,
2003, Pieces of April, April Burns, Lead role
2004, First Daughter, Samantha Mackenzie, Lead role
2005, Batman Begins, Rachel Dawes, Golden Raspberry nomination
2005, Thank You for Smoking, Heather Holloway,
2008, Mad Money, Jackie Truman,
2008, The Other Side, Max Mackenzie, Pre-production