The divorce of Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes is either, depending on your perspective, something no one saw coming or something everyone saw coming back in 2005, when Tom Cruise jumped on Oprah Winfrey’s couch to declare his love for Joey Potter and cemented the impression — again, for some — that the whole relationship was just for show.
Whether it was a show, a genuinely happy romance or something in between, it seems to be over. So cue up Barbra Streisand’s “The Way We Were” and let’s run through some of the highlights of this celebrity couple’s existence via a segment I’ll call “TomKat: In Memoriam.”
April 29, 2005: Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes very publicly declare that they are dating just months after Cruise ended his romance with Penelope Cruz and weeks following the end of Holmes’s engagement to Chris Klein. They visually confirm it by engaging in much PDA in Rome.
May 23, 2005: On a day that would later inspire a significant exhibit at the Weird Celebrity Interview Hall of Fame, Cruise appears on “The Oprah Winfrey Show”and declares his love for Holmes while jumping on Oprah’s sofa like a crazed kid in the freakiest bouncy castle of all time. (Ironically, Cruise and Holmes would later marry in an actual, non-bouncy castle.)
Bafflement — wait, they really are dating? — abounds among the celeb-watching community. Viral video spoofs of the incident are created. Twitter did not yet exist, but if it had it would have exploded in a manner so epic, it would have made the subsequent Chesapeake Bay Bridge scene in “Mission Impossible: III” look like the tiny pop-pop-pop of sparklers. The legend of TomKat is born. No one is sure what to believe.
May 26, 2005: Tina Brown is sure what to believe. In her Style column for The Washington Post, she proclaims that the whole thing is an act, one that even her then-14-year-old daughter sees right through. “This would be sweet,” the young Brown tells her mother, “if it wasn’t so fake.”
June 17, 2005: Less than a month after the Oprah incident, Cruise proposes marriage to Holmes at the Eiffel Tower and the newly affianced couple poses for a lot of pictures that are puzzling, adorable and impossible for the nation to stop looking at. (Their smiles — they’re almost ... hypnotic.)
Oct. 5, 2005: In an obvious attempt to make every Cruise fan’s head spin around “Exorcist”-style, Cruise and Holmes announce they are expecting their first child together. Once the shock subsides, the celebrity conspiracy community gets to work on a thousand theories about Holmes’s pregnancy.
December, 2005: Cruise and Holmes reportedly buy a sonogram machine for at-home use, giving Cruise critics — and at this point, they are legion — a new reason to say he’s being crazy.
May 7, 2006: The Post’s Hank Stuever publicly breaks up with Tom Cruise. Sadly for Hank, there was no pre-nup.
April 18, 2006: Suri Cruise arrives in the world via a silent birth, prompting responses of “Oh, I guess that’s nice,” and “How could there not have been noise while she was pushing a person out of her?” and “What the heck does Suri mean?” (For the record, People noted it was Hebrew for princess.) We get our first glimpse of the princess in a Vanity Fair spread in October of that year. She is indeed a beautiful child who clearly has no idea that in a few short years she’ll be the subject of a million blog posts about why she can’t give up her binky and why she’s wearing lip gloss at such a young age.
Sept. 11, 2006: TomKat attend a Washington Redskins game with pal Dan Snyder. They both look super-cool and Hollywoody in sunglasses. Apparently no one told them it was a night game.
Nov. 18, 2006: The wedding! It happens in a medieval castle in Rome, city of those initial smoochy photos, with Snyder and Jennifer Lopez and Will Smith and many other famous people in attendance. It also yields a wedding photo that looks like a Polaroid from an ‘80s prom (theme: “Take My Breath Away”), a touching poem by former Celebritology blogger Liz Kelly and a lively Celebritology discussion.
August of 2008: Katie Holmes is spotted wearing her husband’s jeans, prompting Liz Kelly to write an angry blog-letter requesting that she stop.
May 1, 2010: Holmes performs “Whatever Lola Wants” from “Damn Yankees” at a Motion Picture and Television Fund Benefit in L.A., and dance-seduces Cruise onstage. The video is a reminder that almost five years have passed since these two first got together, yet despite expectations that the marriage wouldn’t last, they are still together.
June 23, 2010: Tom Cruise comes before the Court of Celebritology, with Liz Kelly acting as prosecutor and Jen Chaney representing the defense. The Celebritology jury sides with the prosecution, but 45% of the readers either agree with the defense, can’t decide or want to declare a mistrial until “Mission: Impossible IV” is released.
Nov. 4, 2010: Katie Holmes runs the New York Marathon; Tom and Suri Cruise are there to offer moral support. Mr. Cruise is dressed in classic runner’s wear: a turtleneck and blazer. (Hey, he wasn’t running. He was cold!)
Various dates, 2008-2012: Rumors that Holmes is pregnant with the couples’s second child appear in tabloids and celeb blogs on numerous occasions but are never substantiated. Rumors that Holmes and Cruise are on the outs are also frequently floated in the tabloid/blogosphere and never substantiated.
Feb. 26, 2012: Holmes and Cruise attend the Vanity Fair Oscar bash together and appear to still be quite happily married, at least based on the photos.
June 29, 2012: Seven years and 12 days after Cruise proposed to the woman who made him jump on a couch, the TomKat divorce is announced. We are still processing.