Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes: Can We Handle the Truth?

Guest Blog: There are certain subjects — and celebrity marital travails can be one of them — that even our increasingly invasive media choose to stay away from 

So Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes are kaput. This is the way a Hollywood marriage ends – not with a bang but a whimper?

Isn’t there something disappointing about the non-reaction to a megawatt relationship ending especially when the inception of this union played out so dramatically in front of us?

Even those of you who couldn’t care less about celebrity relationships know exactly what I mean if I use the word couch in relation to Cruise and Holmes. How can anyone forget the whirlwind courtship montage — the barrage of red carpet kisses, the proposal on top of the Eiffel Tower, the wedding at the Italian castle and of course, the most eagerly awaited (non Jolie-Pitt) birth of all time, baby Suri.

Immediately, the quiet pre-4th of July Friday was filled with stories about his net worth and her filing in New York, how her career suffered, his being blindsided and who’ll get primary custody of Suri. Inevitably, there’ll be weeks of “what went wrong” type coverage, followed by tearful interviews of either or both of them soldiering in.

If you keep rolling
your eyes like that, you’ll need to see an optometrist.

It’s tough to write anything real about this because we have a concept called libel in this country. While my legal knowledge stems mostly from TV shows and movies, I do have a fair grasp of what I can’t write.

So let’s all agree that we’ve heard the same rumors regarding the same things but that our belief in them ranges from skeptical to cynical.

There are two things that continue to amaze me – on one hand, we have a media that’s as invasive and pervasive as ever. On the other, there is still an enormous contingent of people that know extremely private details about public figures and keep their mouths shut regardless of the size of the pockets in front of them.

Their loyalty is admirable but their commitment to maintaining fraud isn’t. I don’t have to look much further that John Edwards’ recent trial to see what becomes of an all-encompassing need to protect the image you’ve helped built and are completely enthralled by.

I know that it’s a very simplistic view. All public figures have the right to live life wrapped in as many layers as they want to. My issue is with the falseness of their public image – I don’t mind if you have a harem of 20-year-olds stashed at an estate in Mexico, I mind that you try to sell me the image of yourself as a devoted and righteous family man.

It’s not the reality that’s the problem, it’s the con. I know that honesty can be a con too – confess to lesser foibles in order to hide the worse ones. We’re a country that hides our
scandal behind toothy grins and courteousness. Maybe we don’t mind being lied to as
much as we mind when the lie ends.

In F. Scott Fitzgerald’s “A Diamond as Big as the Ritz,” five miles in Montana are left off the map of the U.S., the domain of the world’s secretly richest man where he lives at the base of a mountainous diamond. He shoots down any plane that flies into his airspace and keeps the pilots in a huge underground prison. His children invite friends for the summer that are killed at the end of the vacation. Everything is done to protect and conceal this secret world and everyone who comes in contact with it is doomed, including the secret king because in the end, no secret lasts forever.

That may not sound like a fairy tale but it’s my idea of a happy ending.