Stars, Politicians Join Tom Cruise Debate
Tom Cruise, with Matt Lauer
Dimitrios Kambouris/WireImage; Virgina Sherwood/NBC Universal
Tom Cruise has taken plenty of heat for his controversial comments about psychiatry on the Today show – and now celebs and politicians are joining in the fray, PEOPLE reports in its latest issue.
Marie Osmond, who wrote a book in 2001 about her struggle with postpartum depression, criticized the actor for his comments regarding Brooke Shields, whom Cruise took to task for using antidepressants to help her postpartum depression.
"What he said is very harsh for women who live it or have lived through it," says Osmond. "He should not sit in judgment."
Cruise has even sparked backlash from members of Congress. This week, the Congressional Mental Health Caucus criticized his remarks. "It is unfortunate that Tom Cruise has sought to use his celebrity to once again negatively reinforce the unfortunate stigma associated with mental illness," said Rep. Grace Napolitano (D-Calif.), co-chair of the caucus, The Hill newspaper reports.
Meanwhile, King of Queens actress Leah Remini, Cruise's friend and fellow Scientologist, defended him at the War of the Worlds premiere in L.A. on Monday, telling reporters, "Tom hasn't gone crazy. Tom is a beautiful person who does a lot of good things for good people."
In his personal life, Cruise's future in-laws – both devout Catholics – are wrestling with the issue of Cruise's faith in Scientology, which Katie Holmes has expressed her own interest in.
When asked about Scientology on June 23, Katie Holmes's father, attorney Martin Holmes, said: "I don't believe in it." Katie's mother, however, says: "Whatever somebody believes in is fine."
So what made one of Hollywood's most likable, bankable stars decide to tangle so publicly with such controversial issues? "What I believe in is that people should be able to think for themselves and they should be able to make decisions based on information," Cruise told PEOPLE senior editor and Early Show contributor Jess Cagle after his Today appearance.
In Hollywood, the question is: What impact, if any, will Cruise's Katie-smooching, Matt-scolding escapades have on a career? Although some industry experts note that Cruise' affable public persona plays a role in his drawing power, they predict that his recent behavior is unlikely to affect a surefire blockbuster like War of the Worlds.
One New York-based publicist tells PEOPLE: "Ultimately if the work is good and his movies are good, then all the other stuff will have a limited effect."
Meanwhile, whether humans are for or against him, Cruise told the German tabloid Bild on Wednesday, when asked if he believed aliens exist: "Yes, of course. … Are you really so arrogant as to believe we are alone in this universe? Millions of stars, and we're supposed to be the only living creatures? No. There are many things out there, we just don't know."
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