It's the end of TomKat but it could be the resurrection of Katie Holmes' acting career.
The 33-year-old Toledo native was a successful Hollywood actor before she met the action-film star, with roles in director Ang Lee's indie drama The Ice Storm in 1997, The WB teen TV drama Dawson's Creek, and Wonder Boys.
Then the Cruise-Holmes relationship and 2006 marriage propelled her to A-plus level celebrity overnight.
There is a significant difference between an actor and a celebrity. One requires talent, the other does not. And while the two circles often converge, as with Cruise, they can also be mutually exclusive as the parade of famous-for-a-moment reality stars like Paris Hilton proves.
Having the moniker of Mrs. Tom Cruise should have meant big roles in bigger films. And it mostly didn't. Since she and Cruise were first linked romantically in April, 2005, Holmes has made a trio of smaller comedy-dramas: Thank You for Smoking (2005), The Romantics (2010), The Extra Man (2010); a comedy flop Mad Money (2008) starring Diane Keaton and Queen Latifah; a little-seen police drama The Son of No One (2011) starring Channing Tatum, and the Guillermo del Toro-produced low-budget horror film Don't Be Afraid of the Dark (2011).
Her biggest films in that stretch are the blockbuster Batman Begins (2005) (though she was replaced in the role of Bruce Wayne's love interest by Maggie Gyllenhaal in 2008's The Dark Knight), and Adam Sandler's universally panned comedy disaster Jack and Jill, which made $74 million domestically -- a million dollars shy of its budget.
Nothing about her Hollywood career indicates her marriage made her a major star. In fact, in the July 17 issue of Elle magazine, Holmes says that roles weren't simply handed to her because of her husband.
"If anything, you work a little bit harder when you're in such visible circumstances," she tells the magazine. Excerpts from the story were aired on Thursday's Good Morning America.
An argument could be made her career was better before she met Cruise.
Perhaps that's one reason she turned to the stage, though in my December, 2008, interview with the actress just after she made her Broadway debut in a revived production of Arthur Miller's All My Sons, Holmes said the appeal of theater went back much further.
"I've always wanted to do Broadway. I started taking meetings on different plays and with different directors, I think it was probably about eight years ago. I was looking for plays during my hiatus during Dawson's Creek; it was always something I kept my eye on and wanted to do," she said. "I am very excited about it. I'm just coming from the theater right now and I'm having a really wonderful time. I love working with these actors."
She also noted in the same interview that she and Cruise were supportive of each other's career and offered advice about future projects.
"We are very much like most couples and we definitely bounce ideas off of each other," she said. "He's incredibly supportive and I'm really appreciative of him being here and being so supportive of this play. I also love going with him on his films and supporting him through that. We definitely talk about everything together. That's what partners do."
Maybe without Cruise, Holmes' career will flourish.
It certainly did for Nicole Kidman, who won an Oscar for the drama The Hours in 2002, a year after divorcing Cruise.
IMDB.com, meanwhile, has Holmes linked to actor Christian Camargo's untitled directorial debut next year, and a romantic comedy, Responsible Adults, due sometime this year, though the Web site lists the film's status as "announced."
What should be encouraging to Holmes fans is what does not appear in her filmography list: Jack and Jill 2.
The tabloids may have lost TomKat, but we may have regained Holmes as an actress.
Contact Kirk Baird at email@example.com or 419-724-6734.