1. Thomas Cruise Mapother IV was born on July 3, 1962, in Syracuse, N.Y., to Thomas Cruise Mapother III, an electrical engineer, and Mary Lee Pfeiffer, both of Louisville, Ky. (His grandfather and great-grandfather were both Thomas Cruise Mapother, as well.)
2. He has two older sisters, Lee Anne and Marian, and one younger sister, Catherine, nicknamed Cass.
3. Cruise wanted to act from around the time he was 4 and started doing impressions of everyone from Donald Duck to Humphrey Bogart and Elvis Presley.
4. In 1974, when the family was living in Ottawa, Mary Lee packed up and took the kids back to Louisville. She officially divorced Tom III in August 1975 and, six weeks later, he remarried, briefly. Joan Lebendiger, recently widowed, had four kids, one of whom later told biographer Andrew Morton that they never saw their stepbrother Tom again after the wedding.
“As a kid, I had a lot of hidden anger about that. I’d get hit, and I didn’t understand it,” Cruise recalled to Vanity Fair in 1994.
“He was the kind of guy who really got picked on a lot at school himself when he was growing up,” he said of his father. “He had also been small, though he ended up being six foot two. People had been quite brutal to him. Inside, I believe he was a really sensitive individual.” Tom III could also “actually be quite loving.”
But in 2006 he told Parade that his dad was “a bully and a coward—the person where, if something goes wrong, they kick you. It was a great lesson in my life, how he’d lull you in, make you feel safe and then, bang!”
Cruise visited his father in the hospital before he died of cancer in 1984 and Tom III said he’d get better and they would “‘talk about the whole thing,'” the actor told VF, but that never came to pass.