Tom Cruise, who hits the half-century mark in July, sat down for a candid and lengthy Q&A that appears in the magazine's June issue, on newsstands May 18. PEOPLE has been provided an exclusive first look.
Asked why he "sued over some particularly personal things that have been written about you and your family," Cruise tells Playboy, "They know I mean it, that if I have to, I will sue."
He also says, "Does refuting things help? Not really. There comes a point when you just have to go, 'You know what? Here's how I've lived my life: I've never been late to a set. I make films I believe in. I feel privileged to be able to do what I love.' You just have to keep going and remember that."
As for the gossip, "I hear it, I read it, I get it." he says, "But life is not a matter of trying to prove anything to anybody."
When the rumors go too far, however, he says, "You start with a letter saying, 'Okay, you know it's not true. Apologize.' But with certain ones you have to go, 'Okay, you crossed a line, and now you have the attention of my lawyers.' [laughs] When it involves your kids, you have to go, 'Here's the line.' "
Scientology in His LifeHe also suggests he's in a no-win position when it comes to his discussing his belief in Scientology.
"If I don't talk about my religion, if I say I'm not discussing it or different humanitarian things I'm working on, they're like, 'He's avoiding it.' If I do talk about it, it becomes, 'Oh, he's proselytizing.' "
On attributing his success to Scientology, the actor, soon to be seen in Rock of Ages, says, "I have respect for what other people believe. What I believe in my own life is that it's a search for how I can do things better, whether it's being a better man or a better father or finding ways for myself to improve. Individuals have to decide what is true and real for them. I'm fortunate in the life I have."
Other topics? "I haven't, and I never would" have cosmetic surgery, he tells interviewer Michael Fleming, crediting his youthful look to the fact "I'm always with family. I train, go without sleep. I just go hard."
Katie Holmes, Cruise says, "is an extraordinary person, and if you spent five minutes with her, you'd see it. Everything she does, she does with this beautiful creativity."
He describes his wife, and mother of their 6-year daughter, Suri, as "funny and charming, and when she walks into the room, I just feel better. I'm a romantic. I like doing things like creating romantic dinners, and she enjoys that. I don't know what to say – I'm just happy, and I have been since the moment I met her. What we have is very special."