It's part of Movie Premiere Etiquette 101: The final celeb to hit the red carpet is almost always the film's biggest star. During Batman Begins' June 6 premiere in L.A., the premium position belonged not to Liam Neeson or even Batman himself, Christian Bale, but to leading lady Katie Holmes, 26. Her arrival—with new boyfriend Tom Cruise on her arm—caused a frenzy among fans, who shouted "Congratulations" to the couple and sent the paparazzi into overdrive. Holmes nuzzled her man and seemed right at home in the spotlight. "I'm really happy," she says. "I think it's going to be a great summer."

It will be tough to top her spring. Her two new high-profile relationships—with Cruise and Batman (in the film, she plays Bruce Wayne's childhood friend and love interest)—have suddenly made the former Dawson's Creek beauty one of the most talked about women in the world. (On CBS's Tony Awards June 5, Billy Crystal kicked off the telecast by announcing that "I too am head over heels in love with Katie Holmes.") Her new happiness with Cruise, 42, is "infectious," says Batman Begins coproducer Charles Roven. "I think the sky is the limit for her. She can be whatever she wants to be."

But whereas Cruise has been extravagantly professing his love for her—notably on Oprah May 23, where he jumped on the couch and fell to his knees—Holmes had remained silent. Now the female half of the couple known as Tom Kat is gushing back, revealing that she is equally enamored of him. "[I'm] totally in love," she says. "He's amazing, he's kind, he's generous. He made me laugh like I've never laughed." To the Chicago Sun-Times, she praised his romantic side. "He's the epitome of romance: flowers, love notes, everything." She told Access Hollywood that her parents—homemaker mom Kathleen, 58, and attorney dad Martin, 60—"couldn't be happier."

Their daughter also seems to be enjoying herself. At the MTV Movie Awards on June 4, she spoofed Cruise's Oprah appearance before presenting him with the MTV Generation Award. The next day, at the Batman press junket at the Regent Beverly Wilshire, she unabashedly smooched with Cruise between interviews. Engagement rumors intensified on the evening of June 5, when they dined with family—including her parents and Cruise's mother—at the Ivy, not far from Cruise's Beverly Hills estate. For now, however, "I'm not engaged," Holmes told USA Today. "But it makes me smile to think about it."

There are some serious considerations as well. Lisa Bublick, a childhood friend from Toledo, Ohio, says Holmes was "brought up Catholic. I don't think she'd be willing to change that for a man." But Holmes has taken an interest in Cruise's religion, Scientology. "I'm learning about it," she told USA Today. "And I'm excited." Holmes will spend the summer on the set of Cruise's Mission: Impossible 3, but only as his offscreen love interest. "Obviously I would be honored to work with Tom," she says. "But right now, I just love loving him."

Jason Lynch. Tom Cunneff, Marisa Laudadio, Amy Longsdorf and Brenda Rodriguez in Los Angeles and Amy Mindell in Toledo

  • Contributors:
  • Tom Cunneff,
  • Marisa Laudadio,
  • Amy Longsdorf,
  • Brenda Rodriguez,
  • Amy Mindwell.