What Is Tom Cruise’s Real Name?

Tom Cruise is one of the biggest names in the entertainment industry. With over 40 movies on his resume ranging from dramas to action, he has earned his superstar stature. Cruise has made major headlines throughout his career both for professional and personal reasons. His love of Scientology and superstar wives have made him an easy target for gossip. Privacy can be difficult to achieve for celebrities, and much of the information is questionable. Even so, there are a lot of facts we know for sure about Cruise, and that the name Tom Cruise is a stage name.

Tom Cruise smiling on stage in front of a green curtain
Tom Cruise | Michael Kovac/Getty Images

Cruise’s roots

Having a permanent home was not something Cruise grew up knowing. His family frequently moved for his father’s job, according to Biography. His home life was tumultuous, leading to Cruise’s parents divorcing when he was 11. His mother first moved the children for a brief three years before remarrying and relocating the family to Glendale, NJ. 

Cruise’s career aspirations changed almost as frequently as his hometown. Early on, he excelled in wrestling and hoped to make it a career, but an injury crashed his professional athletic dreams. He was dealing with the loss of his vision, so dove into his faith by joining a seminary at only 14 years old to pursue joining the priesthood. Luckily Hollywood, a high school production of Guys and Dolls, segued Cruise’s dreams once again. He decided to move to New York to pursue his acting career. 

A new name and a Hollywood life

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Taking himself and his career seriously are traits Cruise is known for. Today he is famous for extreme focus in his roles to the extent of performing his own stunts. He started his career laced with the same determination and focus. When deciding to pursue acting, he allowed himself a ten-year deadline to succeed. He did not need 10 years, however. In 1981 he landed his first role in Endless Love. Since then, he has led multitudes of blockbusters to success, including Top Gun, Mission Impossible, and Risky Business

Even with the monumental success Cruise has achieved in his professional life, his personal life has not always been smooth sailing. He has had three failed marriages filled with strange accusations, including a possible marriage contract with Katie Holmes. The contract was said to have been orchestrated by the Church of Scientology, which Cruise has vocally supported for decades. His religious affiliation has caused him a lot of negative attention, but he has stayed resolute in his beliefs. Of course, his wives, friends, and fellow Scientologists do not know him by Cruise, but instead by his full birth name. Originally Cruise was born in 1962 under the name Thomas Cruise Mapother IV

Family of Actors

Changes in names are frequent in Hollywood for a myriad of reasons. His agent prompted the decision to go by his first and middle names according to speculation. Whether he would have been successful with his given last name is something we will never know, but we do know that other family members have found success using the Mapother name. Cruise’s first cousin, William Mapother. The award-winning drama, Lost, is probably the role Mapother is most familiar for, but there is evidence that the cousins maintain a good relationship. Mapother acted alongside his cousin in Mission Impossible II

It is not surprising Cruise is friendly with his cousin. He is known for being a genuine, nice guy. In fact, he has saved lives on multiple occasions. It is visible Cruise’s mother was successful in raising her son, even if her own acting endeavors never left the amateur realm. She was a teacher as a profession, and inevitably she taught her son everything she knew. It is probably that she may have even passed on her love of theater to her now-famous son.