Tom Cruise is one of the world’s biggest superstars, with films from Top Gun to Mission Impossible amassing him a multi-million dollar fortune – and the ego to match.
But the A-lister’s first girlfriend has come forward to reveal a previously unseen side to the film star – a vulnerable and loving yet intensely ambitious teen dreaming of the bright lights of Hollywood,
Opening up her high school photo album to DailyMail.com, Diane Cox showed herself embracing the young Tom Mapother, as he was then, the sweethearts cuddling up together with friends, fresh-faced and carefree.
But Cox also reveals a darker side to her first love, talking of Cruise’s ‘intensity’ and ‘controlling’ nature during their two-year relationship, which ended after she cheated on him just as he began to find the fame he craved.
In a storyline fit for a Hollywood rom-com, Cox reveals how she met Cruise, then 18, when he attended the school prom with a friend as his date.
Diane, a grade below and aged 17, caught his eye and once prom wrapped up they found themselves at the same after-party. Cruise spent the rest of that night trying to find the popular beauty and pluck up the courage to ask her out.
‘We both blew off our dates and hooked up at the after-party,’ she said of their first meeting back in 1979. ‘I already had a feeling we both liked each other.
‘I came out of the bathroom and he was waiting there with a bottle of booze and a huge grin, and we kissed right there outside the bathroom. We didn’t have sex that night, though, but started dating.’
But it wasn’t long until their passionate romance hit a peak, with Diane comparing Cruise to fictional film character Austin Powers.
She confessed: ‘We’d have sex whenever we could. He was a horny guy, like Austin Powers. If my parents weren’t around we’d use my dad’s car. We used his parent’s garage once.’
Diane, now happily married with three children, joked of their sex life: ‘Tom told me an ex-girlfriend had left scars on his back from scratching him. I’m a nail biter so he never had that problem with me.’
Despite her beauty, Cox admits it wasn’t her electric blue eyes or long legs that turned Cruise on the most: ‘He always said how much he liked my back, and that isn’t something most 18-year-olds are interested in.
‘Tom was old beyond his years and could see things maturely long before the rest of us. I think he grew up too fast but he was very close with his three sisters. One time he said he’s so close with them they taught him how to kiss.’
Asked what Cruise – who also worked as a waiter at Glen Ridge Country Club – was like before becoming a world-wide movie icon, Diane recalled: ‘When he moved to Glen Ridge he was a Playboy. He was new and good-looking with a Southern drawl.
‘He’s not a tall guy but he had this big butt and was super charming. People are drawn to him immediately. We had portraits taken in a shopping mall which his mum kept but even the photographer was drawn to him.’
The two dated for more than two years until Cruise was told by a friend that Diane had been unfaithful as the young couple – without the benefits of modern media to communicate – struggled in a long-distance relationship.
And Diane, who would watch Cruise’s earlier performances, which propelled him into stardom, blames Tom’s intense attitude for the split.
‘I wanted to see other people at one point and he got very jealous, very over-protective, and I wasn’t used to that. I even said to his sister I wanted to see other people, hoping she might help.
‘The intensity of Tom’s whole demeanor really put me off,’ she said.
‘He was very vulnerable and I accidentally thanked him for flowers somebody else had sent me and he went crazy.
‘Of course I would get jealous, too, because I’d be trying to call him in California or he’d be in Vegas and I wasn’t able to get hold of him. That’s when I knew our lives were going different ways.
‘I was losing my boyfriend, and as soon as I started to lose Tom I realized how much I cared. We had so many fights, it was never aggressive just really intense about how in love we were, it’s strange.
‘I broke his heart. I had a thing with another guy and Tom’s friend found out and told him what I’d done. This was the time when he was filming Taps. I barely had any money at the point but I took a cab from New Jersey to see him at his hotel.
‘We spoke for a while and he was very direct, he told me, “I love you, but I’m not in love with you anymore.” It was so abrupt. We spent the night together and when I woke up he was already gone to film.’
Asked if the relationship was close to an engagement she said: ‘We didn’t talk about marriage but he told me I was the love of his life, the only person he wanted.’
They last saw each other the year Cruise’s breakthrough film Risky Business hit cinemas. He visited their hometown, then Glen Ridge, New Jersey.
She said: ‘Tom turned up at a house party wearing a little beret on or something and everyone rolled their eyes, he had a different attitude. He told me, “I’m taking Hollywood by the balls”.
‘The more I look back on my memories with Tom I realise how intense he was, how jealous and vulnerable he was, always needing approval and reassurance that he was a brilliant actor.
‘It’s funny to think it’s the same man who told me he was going to be a self-made millionaire by 30-years-old.’
In the last 15 years Cruise has come under scrutiny. But his success is undeniable.
Curise has a reported fortune of more than $500 million and demands astronomical sums to star in franchise roles Jack Reacher and Mission Impossible.
But Cox does not feel she missed out on sharing that lifestyle.
She admits: ‘I dodged a bullet. It’s freeing for me to have dated someone at that stage of his life.
‘I was happy for his success and it made me think about him all of the time for years after, but I’m shocked by him now. He’s become a bit of a joke. He’s a quack but who wouldn’t want his money and power?’
But she concedes: ‘No matter what he does, those movies he’s making still make millions of dollars and I’m impressed.’
She believes his difficult childhood influenced Cruise’s drive for success. Forced to flee his abusive father with mother Mary Lee and sisters Marion, Catherine and LeAnn, and constantly reintroducing himself in new schools and neighborhoods.
‘His childhood was hard and that can be destructive,” she said.
Cruise’s mother Mary Lee remarried John ‘Jack’ South during their time in Louisville, Kentucky.
It was South who loaned Cruise money to follow his acting dreams – but he later filed for divorce.
He died last year and Cruise did not attend the funeral.
Diane couldn’t hide her shock recalling the snub. ‘I mean, wow. Jack gave Tom money to become who he is today, and if it didn’t work out in 10 years he was going to go to Aviation school, he wanted to be a pilot too.’
Since Diane, three-times divorced Cruise has had a string of failed relationships.
His divorce from Nicole Kidman – who has two adopted Scientology-educated children Connor and Isabella – and more recently Katie Holmes, the mother of his daughter Suri.
Source: Daily Mail