Posted: 4:39 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 12, 2013
Tom Cruise’s longtime former publicist Pat Kingsley is finally spilling the beans on one of Hollywood’s worst kept secrets. The superstar fired her after she told him to cool it with his heavy promotion of the Church of Scientology and it’s beliefs.
Kingsley - who at the height of her career was the most powerful publicist in Hollywood – signed Cruise as a client in 1992 and had one of the closest star/publicist relationships in the business. The now 81-year-old has told The Hollywood Reporter in a new interview that they became so close “we could almost finish each other’s sentence. We never really had a disagreement about direction or any particular interview. The trust became pretty complete on both sides.”
Towards the end of their working relationship she says, Cruise wanted to be more vocal about his beliefs. “I did have that conversation with Tom, about cooling it,” says Kingsley, telling him “Scientology is fine. You want to do a tour for Scientology? Do a tour for Scientology. But Warner Brothers is sponsoring this tour. That was for (2003′s) The Last Samurai. He didn’t say yes or no, except he did not discuss Scientology on that European tour.”
Then after 14 years their partnership came to an end. ”He felt ‘I think it’s time I tried something different.’ And I certainly had no quarrel with that. It was his life, his career. It was not working.”
Cruise made it clear he wanted to do things differently and in 2004 fired Kingsley and replaced her with his sister – and fellow Scientologist LeAnne Devette. And then came Tom’s astonishing number of publicity blunders including jumping on Oprah Winfrey’s couch while declaring his love for Katie Holmes, his televised argument with Matt Lauer on the Today Show over anti-depressants (calling Matt “glib”) and publicly shaming Brooke Shields for admitting using anti-depressants to get through post-partum depression (Scientology is vehemently against psychotherapy and drugs to treat psychological issues).
After almost two years of P.R. debacles, Cruise eventually turned to top PR firm Rogers & Cowan to help repair his image.
But looking back Kingsley does not think ill of him, noting that ”Tom Cruise was a prince.”