Tom Cruise did not compare acting and shooting a movie to serving in Afghanistan, despite rampant tabloid reports and vicious Twitter criticism.
TMZ reported Friday that Cruise made the comparison in a recent deposition
for his $50 million libel lawsuit against magazine publisher Bauer Media. Cruise is accusing Bauer-run magazines Life & Style and In Touch of defamation for running stories that claimed he abandoned his daughter Suri when he and Katie Holmes were going through their divorce last year.
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"Tom Cruise not only thinks he trains harder than Olympic athletes, he believes his job as a professional actor is as grueling as fighting the war in Afghanistan," TMZ reported. "Tom says his location shoots are just like serving a tour in Afghanistan. 'That's what it feels like. And certainly on this last movie, it was brutal. It was brutal.'"
Twitter users immediately fed into the story.
But it turns out TMZ reported Cruise's quote out of context. In reality, the actor was talking about how hard it is for a parent to be away from his or her kids.
The Afghanistan reference originated from a letter that Cruise's attorney sent Bauer's lawyers refuting the magazines' claims that Cruise was an absentee father.
"But the truth, as you know, is that Mr. Cruise is a devoted father, who simply happens to be working in London on film," the letter read. "By your reasoning, any actor who is shooting on location in a foreign country could be charged with child abandonment, as could all of the mothers and fathers serving overseas in the military."
The issue was then revisited during the deposition. Here's an excerpt:
"Now your counsel has publicly equated your absence from Suri for these extended periods of time as being analogous to someone fighting in Afghanistan," opposing counsel asks him. "Are you aware of that?"
"I didn’t hear the Afghanistan," Cruise replies. "That's what it feels like and certainly on this last movie it was brutal. It was brutal."
"Do you believe that the situations are the same?" Cruise is asked.
"Oh come on," Cruise says, "you know, we're making a movie."
Bert Fields, another one of Cruise's lawyers, told TMZ Monday that his client's "oh, come on" response clearly means "of course not."
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