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Last Updated: Wednesday, 19 April 2006, 13:22 GMT 14:22 UK
Can Cruise turn his image round?
It has been a rollercoaster of a year for Tom Cruise - even by the standards of the average celebrity.

Katie Holmes and Tom Cruise
Tom Cruise laughed off claims his relationship with Holmes was a stunt

He has generated mountains of publicity, but also a media backlash as he became more outspoken about his personal views and his relationship with actress Katie Holmes.

In less than a year he has begun dating Holmes - best known for her role in teen TV drama Dawson' s Creek - announced their engagement and had a child with her.

Cruise, 43, has enjoyed a stellar movie career since the 1980s, quickly increasing his earning potential and his control over the movies in which he appears.

He has always had a high-profile love life. He has two actress ex-wives - Mimi Rogers and Nicole Kidman - and dated Penelope Cruz for three years.

But those relationships tended to be conducted out of the limelight, except for the odd appearances together at premieres and award ceremonies.

'Ridiculous' retort

Cruise tended not to shout about his private life in interviews, but that all changed when he began dating Holmes, 27.

The pair announced they were dating in April 2005, catching even the most seasoned gossip pages off guard, and just three months later they became engaged after Cruise proposed at the Eiffel Tower.

Because both of them were promoting films at the time there was talk that the relationship was merely a publicity stunt, but Cruise called this "ridiculous".

Tom Cruise and Penelope Cruz
Cruise's relationship with Penelope Cruz was less high-profile
But it was felt their fledgling relationship overshadowed the publicity campaigns for both his War of the Worlds and Holmes' Batman Begins, although both were box office hits. Holmes will not be returning for another Batman film.

Cruise has had some problems with his next big film, Mission Impossible III, which has been hit by delays to filming and has seen two directors leave in succession.

David Fincher was the first to leave - saying he was moving on to direct something else.

Staff changes

Joe Carnahan quit citing "creative differences". The delays also meant that co-star Scarlett Johansson had to drop out because of scheduling conflicts.

How Cruise carries out his promotional duties for MI:3 could indicate plans for a revised public image.

His original publicist, Pat Kingsley, one of the most respected in the business, had worked with Cruise for 14 years. But he ditched her in favour of his sister, Lee Anne DeVette.

It was during Ms DeVette's tenure as publicist that the media noted Cruise's erratic behaviour as he spoke more openly about his Scientology beliefs and his open displays of affection for Holmes.

His appearance on Oprah Winfrey's show bounding about on the sofa declaring his love for Holmes caused plenty of comment.

And he also suffered the embarrassment of being squirted with water by a TV crew during the London premiere of War of the Worlds.

His outspoken views on psychiatry and using drugs to treat post-natal depression drew the ire of doctors and women's groups.

Tom Cruise
Cruise remains one of Hollywood's biggest earners

'Irritating' tag

The American Psychiatric Association said Cruise was wrong to use his movie publicity slots to promote his views that psychiatry was "pseudo science".

Cruise went on to top a survey of "most irritating" actors conducted among 10,000 readers of the UK's Empire magazine.

He and Holmes also picked up the not-so-coveted Golden Raspberry, or Razzie, award for the "most tiresome tabloid target" over their very public relationship.

But he is still one of the most bankable movie stars in the world and has now hired a PR firm to manage his image.

It remains to be seen whether a new baby and an expected wedding can reignite the media and the general public's love for him.

Fans react to the birth of Tom and Katie's baby

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