Tom Cruise Sends This Former Co-Star a Birthday Gift Every Year

Superstar Tom Cruise is an established Hollywood icon. While he’s known as one of the top film actors in show business history, Cruise is also heralded as an all-around nice guy. Sharing the screen with co-stars of all ages, Cruise clearly made an impression on one of his younger cast mates by remembering her birthday for over a decade.

Actor Tom Cruise attends 'Mission: Impossible - Fallout' press conference
Tom Cruise | Visual China Group via Getty Images/Visual China Group via Getty Images

‘Mission: Impossible’ star helps out Zac Efron

Evidently, Cruise doesn’t need to co-star with someone in order to lend a hand. According to Vulture, High School Musical star Zac Efron learned how to ride a motorcycle thanks to the A-lister.

Vulture reports that Cruise invited Efron to his house and taught him everything from how the engine works to maneuvering the two-wheeled machine. When Efron was asked why Cruise took it upon himself to teach the young actor to ride, the Baywatch star didn’t want to overthink the situation.

“I don’t know,” Efron said in 2010. “I don’t even want to know. It’s just so cool that he gave a s*it, the fact that he cared at all. No one else did that.”

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Tom Cruise reaches out to a young actor

In the 1996 blockbuster Jerry Maguire, Cruise shared the screen with 6-year-old Jonathan Lipnicki, who played Renée Zellweger’s son in the film. Lipnicki was actually not the first choice to play the role. The first young actor selected actually worked with Cruise in the early stages of the movie but “ran out of gas” and quit. After speaking with the boy’s mother, director Cameron Crowe discovered that Cruise stayed in touch with young thespian to encourage him in future endeavors.

“She said, ‘It really helped my son,'” Crowe recalled the boy’s mother telling him, according to Deadline. “He’s over it now, he’s fine, and Tom did a beautiful job helping him transition back to his life.’”

Crowe asked Cruise why he took the time to make sure the young actor wasn’t negatively impacted by abruptly leaving the film.

“Tom said, ‘I just didn’t want that first actor to go to the movies, look at the screen and think he’d failed,'” Crowe shared. “‘I wanted him to love movies, his entire life.’ That is the quiet way Tom Cruise conducts his professional life.”

Young star considers Tom Cruise a ‘lifelong friend’

Steven Spielberg’s 2005 thriller War of the Worlds featured Cruise as a father trying to protect his two kids from invading aliens. Rising star Dakota Fanning, who was 11 at the time, portrayed his daughter. The young actor had already appeared onscreen alongside Hollywood heavy hitters like Sean Penn and Denzel Washington.

In a 2016 appearance on Watch What Happens Live, Fanning described her relationship with Cruise as being “lifelong friends.” The I Am Sam star also revealed that the superstar never forgets her birthday.

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“He has sent me a birthday gift every year since I was 11 years old,” Fanning told host Andy Cohen of Cruise. “I always think, ‘Oh, when I’m 18, he’ll probably stop. Oh, 21, he’ll stop.‘” 

At the time of her WWHL interview, Cruise remained consistent on sending birthday wishes to Fanning.

“Every year,” she said, adding he usually gets her shoes. “It’s really kind.”