Tom Cruise's younger years: from seminary student to world famous actor

Humble beginnings
Tom wanted to be a priest!
Tom grew up with three sisters
Tom's father was abusive
Cruise's family was constantly moving
Being new all the time was hard
Tom was diagnosed with dyslexia
Cruise and his family lived in Canada
Tom discovered theatre in the fourth grade
Tom's interest in acting grew while in Canada
Tom chipped a tooth playing hockey
In 1974 Tom moved back to the US
But still life was unstable...
Tom once wanted to become a priest
A place of solace for Tom
He was the drama club leader at seminary
But Tom was no angel...
Tom knew that acting was his true calling
Humble beginnings

Tom Cruise may be one of Hollywood's most famous actors, but he didn't have an easy start in life. Cruise experienced a lot of instability from a young age, in fact, over the years, Tom Cruise would attend 15 different schools!

Tom wanted to be a priest!

Join us to look at Tom Cruise's early years and how he eventually went from wanting to become a Catholic priest to becoming a Hollywood actor.

Tom grew up with three sisters

Tom Cruise, born Thomas Cruise Mapother IV to mother Mary Lee (pictured), a special education teacher, and father Thomas Cruise Mapother III, an electrical engineer. Tom Cruise was born in Syracuse, New York, and has three sisters.

Tom's father was abusive

Cruise has spoken in interviews about his life growing up and said that his family was poor and his father was abusive. In an interview with Fox News, Cruise said, "[My father] was the kind of person where, if something goes wrong, they kick you."

"It was a great lesson in life..."

Tom continued, "It was a great lesson in my life—how he'd lull you in, make you feel safe and then, bang! For me, it was like, 'There's something wrong with this guy. Don't trust him. Be careful around him.'"

Cruise's family was constantly moving

If dealing with an abusive father wasn't enough, the family was constantly moving due to their low income, which meant that Tom was often bullied at school.

"I was always the new kid..."

According to TheThings.com, Tom Cruise once said in an interview, "I had no really close friend. I was always the new kid with the wrong shoes, the wrong accent."

Being new all the time was hard

According to Wikipedia, the family moved so often that Tom Cruise attended 15 different schools in 14 years, over the course of his primary and secondary education years. Cruise has said that constantly being new was very difficult for him.

Tom was diagnosed with dyslexia

To make matters worse, he also had a learning disability. The actor said, "I didn't have a friend to share things with and confide in. And being diagnosed with dyslexia did not help matters."

 

Cruise and his family lived in Canada

In 1971, when Cruise was just nine years old, his father accepted a job as a defence consultant with the Canadian Armed Forces. So young Tom and his family moved north to Beacon Hill, Ottawa.

Tom discovered theatre in the fourth grade

In Ottawa, Cruise attended Robert Hopkins Public School, and thanks to his Drama teacher George Steinburg, Tom became interested in theatre while in the fourth grade.

Tom's interest in acting grew while in Canada

During his time in Canada that Tom's interest in acting continued to grow. In addition to Robert Hopkins Public School, Cruise also attended Henry Munro Middle school in Ottawa.

Tom chipped a tooth playing hockey

While living in Canada, the actor also became quite interested in hockey and, in particular, was talented at playing floor hockey. In early pictures of Cruise, you can see that he has a chipped tooth. The star told reporters in a 1985 interview that it was due to falling during a hockey game during his time in Canada.

In 1974 Tom moved back to the US

After just three years in Canada, in 1974, Tom's mother decided to leave his father and return to the United States with Tom and his sisters. Eventually, Tom's mother would remarry Tom's stepfather Jack South (pictured).

But still life was unstable...

Unfortunately for Tom and his sisters, their life continued to be quite unstable once his mother left his father. The family continued to move around frequently for the rest of Tom's childhood and teen years.

Tom once wanted to become a priest

Even though Tom Cruise is closely associated with the Church of Scientology these days, Cruise actually grew up in a devout Catholic household. Tom even considered becoming a priest at one point.

A place of solace for Tom

According to the Daily News, the Catholic Church was a place of solace in Cruise's youth, and Father Ric Schneider convinced young Tom to apply to St. Francis Seminary School in Cincinnati, Ohio.

"Tom was instantly hooked..."

The Daily News reported that the priest said, "Tom was instantly hooked, I think he wanted a good education. With his parents going through a divorce, it was tough on him, that's maybe one of the reasons why he came here."

He was the drama club leader at seminary

The news outlet reported that Tom barely passed the test required to enter into the seminary in 1976. And while he wasn't a promising student, he seemed to have a knack for acting and was the drama club leader.

"We thought the priests had a great lifestyle.."

Tom's best friend from his time in seminary, Shane Dempler spoke to the Daily News about Tom's time studying to be a priest. Dempler said, "He had a very strong Catholic faith. We went to Mass, spent time in the chapel and enjoyed hearing stories from the priests. We thought the priests had a great lifestyle and we were really interested in priesthood."

But Tom was no angel...

Despite his interest in becoming a priest, Tom Cruise was certainly not a saint during his time at the seminary. Shane Dempler said the pair would skip school to drink and smoke and eventually were asked to leave the seminary when they were caught stealing alcohol from the priests.

Tom knew that acting was his true calling

Tom then went on the finish his education at Glen Ridge High School in New Jersey. During his final years of high school, he participated in many school plays, and it was no surprise to friends that he decided to move to New York to pursue acting after graduating. Little did they know he would end up becoming one of the most famous actors in Hollywood.

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