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Tuesday, 4 December, 2001, 14:32 GMT
Cruise speaks out on Cruz
Cruise and Cruz
The couple met on the set of Vanilla Sky
Hollywood star Tom Cruise has spoken for the first time of his relationship with new girlfriend Penelope Cruz.

The newly-divorced 39-year-old star compared the 26-year-old star of Captina Corelli's Mandolin to screen legend Audrey Hepburn, and said: "She's beautiful."

Interviewed for Vanity Fair magazine, Cruise also defended his, religion, Scientology, which was rumoured to have played a part in the breakdown in February of his marriage to actress Nicole Kidman.

There were claims Kidman wanted to bring up their two adopted children, Isabella, eight, and six-year-old Connor, as Catholics.

Nicole Kidman
Kidman and Cruise kept their distance at the première of The Others
Cruise told the magazine of his feelings for Cruz, with whom he first appeared in public in July, at the Los Angeles première of Captain Corelli's Mandolin.

"Cruise and Cruz - I thought: 'My God, I'm your boyfriend. You're my girlfriend,"' he said.

"She's incredibly romantic, and yet real."

He said Cruz had an "effortless" quality.

"You look at Audrey Hepburn. She had that kind of elegance and yet was accessible."

Cruse told Vanity Fair he did not want to dwell on his relationship with Kidman or disclose the reasons for the couple's sudden split.

"She knows why, and she is the mother of my children, and I wish her well,'' Cruise said.

"I don't care if it piques people's interest.

"Honestly people should mind their own damn business and get a life of their own.

"My personal life isn't here to sell newspapers.''

The actor vigorously defended his religion, Scientology, which he said had kept him on the straight and narrow since he was 24 years old.

"I started reading books on it and I thought "God, this makes sense'," he said.

See also:

13 Jul 01 | Showbiz
Kidman and Crowe 'holiday in Fiji'
08 Aug 01 | Showbiz
Kidman and Cruise keep distance
08 Aug 01 | Showbiz
Kidman and Cruise divorce
17 Jul 01 | Showbiz
Cruise and Cruz 'dating'
06 Feb 01 | Entertainment
Cruise and Kidman: In pictures
06 Feb 01 | Entertainment
Cruise and Kidman: Broken dream
06 Feb 01 | Entertainment
Hollywood's hardest performances
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