The proceedings were more covert than a Stanley Kubrick shoot. On May 9, 1987, in a small, upstate New York ceremony, 24-year-old Tom Cruise quietly exchanged nuptial vows with Mimi Rogers, an actress six years his senior. Present were the actor’s mother, Mary Lee Mapother, and best man Emilio Estevez. Even Cruise’s publicist was reportedly kept in the dark.
The secrecy gave the couple just what they wanted: sanctuary from the hungry press. After all, Cruise had broken from his (Brat) Pack brethren with the 1986 one-two of Top Gun and The Color of Money. Rogers, the ex-wife of Scientologist Jim Rogers, was better known for her men than for her movies: Tabloids had linked her with Tom Selleck, Christopher Reeve, and Kennedy kinsman Robert Shriver.
Cruise, on the other hand, led a very private personal life, having had only one high-profile love affair (with Risky Business costar Rebecca De Mornay). ”She took him under her wing,” Wensley Clarkson, author of Tom Cruise Unauthorized, told EW last year. And despite the age disparity, the pair certainly had something in common when it came to their shared religion: Scientology. But in the end, the union proved an impossible mission. On Jan. 16, 1990, the couple announced their impending divorce. (What’s more, Rogers today claims she is no longer a practicing Scientologist.)
”I think he outgrew her,” said Clarkson of the split. Cruise’s career had exploded with Rain Man (1988) and Born on the Fourth of July (1989). But the media had other theories: The couple was childless, and rumors about Cruise’s fertility ran rampant. It didn’t help when Rogers joked in a 1993 Playboy interview that ”Tom was seriously thinking of becoming a monk…he thought he had to be celibate to maintain the purity of his instrument.” Her own instrument, she added, ”needed tuning.”
Since then, neither party has seemed eager to revisit the past. And with his recently scuttled marriage to Nicole Kidman (with whom he adopted two children, Isabella, 8, and Connor, 6), Cruise has more pressing things to worry about. Rogers has kept busy as well, turning up in Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery and on TV’s The X-Files. She’s also juggling a new movie for Showtime (Charms for the Easy Life, which she is also executive-producing); a long-term relationship with Chris Ciaffa, which has yielded a daughter, Lucy, 6; and a production company.
As for the honor of being the first Mrs. Cruise, Rogers said in a 1995 PEOPLE story: ”[I’m] waiting for the moment when I don’t have to talk about that [blankety-blank] name anymore.”