Cruise's first big movie, Risky Business, opens. Dancing in his underwear, Cruise, 21, lands at the top of Hollywood. EW calls it a "teen comedy that had the unexpected grace of a screwball farce."
Cruise takes to the skies as jet jock Maverick in Top Gun, the year's biggest moneymaker. It earns $170 million by December.
In a ceremony so secret even his publicist is left in the dark, Cruise marries girlfriend of a year and a half Mimi Rogers in a Unitarian ceremony in upstate New York. The actor's close friend Emilio Estevez is the best man. In January 1990, Cruise and Rogers call it quits.
Cruise shares the screen with acting heavyweight Dustin Hoffman in the Oscar-winning Rain Man. "His talent is young, his body is young, his spirit is young," Hoffman told PEOPLE in 1990. "He's a Christmas tree – he's lit from head to toe."
Oliver Stone's Born on the Fourth of July, in which Cruise plays Vietnam veteran Ron Kovic, opens. It earns Cruise his first Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor. Around this time, Cruise joins the Church of Scientology. He later credits Scientology with helping him overcome dyslexia.
Days of Thunder premieres. During filming, the actor quickly warms to his costar: Aussie actress Nicole Kidman. Cruise developed the idea for the film after catching the racing bug from Color of Money costar Paul Newman.
Cruise is named PEOPLE's Sexiest Man Alive. "His smile is a little off, nose a little off," Rain Man producer Mark Johnson tells PEOPLE. "But it's the sum total." Kidman, his new love interest, agrees, as they secretly wed on December 24 in Telluride, Colo. The union, witnessed by only a handful of guests, takes place in a $2 million rented home with views of the Rockies.
Cruise and Kidman hit the big screen together in Far and Away, but the movie is far from a blockbuster. The flop cost more than $45 million, but grosses only $50 million. Still, the couple return onscreen as husband and wife in director Stanley Kubrick's final film Eyes Wide Shut. Reflecting on the relationship between the famous pair and Kubrick, who died in March prior to the film's July 16, 1999 release, producer Jan Harlan told PEOPLE, "They and Stanley absolutely got on like a house on fire."
The couple adopt their first child, 2-month-old Isabella Jane. In February 1995, the couple will adopt a second baby, 2-week-old Connor Antony. Of her growing family, Mrs. Cruise gushes to PEOPLE, "It's your kids who bring you the most joy."
Tabloids circulate rumors that Cruise's marriage to Kidman is an arrangement, claiming she is a salaried wife and he is gay. The couple expressly deny the reports, and Cruise tells Premiere, "[That] is a hard-line cynicism. . . This is my relationship, and I'm being called a liar about it." The story surfaces again in 1998. Cruise sues the British tabloid and successfully wins $330,000 in damages, which he donates to charity.
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