Kate Noelle "Katie" Holmes (born
December 18, 1978) is an American actress who first achieved fame for her
role as Joey Potter on The WB television teen drama Dawson's Creek from
1998 to 2003. Her movie roles have ranged from art house films such as The
Ice Storm to thrillers such as Abandon to blockbusters such as Batman
In early 2005, Holmes began a highly publicized relationship with actor
Tom Cruise. In June, two months after they first met, Holmes and Cruise
were engaged. Their relationship made Holmes the subject of international
media attention, much of it negative, including speculation the
relationship was a publicity stunt to promote the couple's films. Holmes,
who was brought up as a Roman Catholic, joined the Church of Scientology
shortly after the couple began dating. On April 18, 2006, Holmes gave
birth to their daughter, Suri. On November 18, 2006, she and Cruise were
married in Italy.
Holmes was born in Toledo, Ohio, the youngest in a family of five children
(four daughters, one son) of Kathleen A. (née Stothers), a homemaker and a
philanthropist, and Martin Joseph Holmes, Sr. (born 1945), an attorney
specializing in divorces. She lived in the Corey Woods section of Sylvania
Township, Lucas County, in a brick 1862 Italianate-style home. Her
siblings are Tamera (born c. 1968), Holly Ann (born 1969), Martin Joseph,
Jr. (born 1970), who works as a lawyer in Ohio, and Nancy Kay (Blaylock),
a teacher (born c. 1975).
Holmes, baptized a Roman Catholic, attended Christ the King Church and
parochial schools in Toledo. Her high school was the all-female Notre Dame
Academy, her mother's alma mater, where Katie was a 4.0 student. At St.
John's Jesuit, a nearby all-male high school, she appeared in school
musicals, playing a waiter in Hello, Dolly! and Lola in Damn Yankees. She
scored 1310 out of 1600 on her SAT and was accepted to Columbia University
(and attended for a summer session); her father wanted her to be a doctor.
Holmes loved reading: "I never feel lonely in a bookstore", she said. A
British writer profiling her in 2003 said "The way Holmes approached her
unusual education was as American as apple pie: she went to cheerleading
practice, got straight A grades, and made a pledge that she would remain a
virgin until marriage." Holmes told her hometown paper The Blade that the
three words best describing herself were "honest, determined, and
At age fourteen she began classes at a modeling school in Toledo run by
Margaret O'Brien, who took her to IMTA, the International Modeling and
Talent Association Competition held in New York City in 1996. There she
found an agent after performing a monologue from To Kill a Mockingbird. An
audition tape was sent to the casting director for the 1997 film The Ice
Storm, directed by Ang Lee. She was cast in the role of Libbets Casey, in
the film which starred Kevin Kline and Sigourney Weaver. Ang Lee told The
Blade, "Katie was cast because she had the perfect amount of innocence and
worldliness that we needed for Libbets. I was really taken by her wide
open eyes. She really is a beautiful girl but there is also a lot of
intelligence there and it shows."
In January 1997, Holmes went to Los Angeles for pilot season, when
producers cast and shoot new programs in the hopes of securing a spot on a
network schedule. The Blade reported she was offered the lead in Buffy the
Vampire Slayer but she turned it down. Columbia Tri-Star Television,
producer of a new show created by screenwriter Kevin Williamson, asked her
to come to Los Angeles to audition, but there was a conflict with her
schedule. "I was doing my school play, Damn Yankees. And I was playing
Lola. I even got to wear the feather boa. I thought, 'There is no way I'm
not playing Lola to go audition for some network. I couldn't let my school
down. We had already sold a lot of tickets. So I told Kevin and The WB,
'I'm sorry. I just can't meet with you this week. I've got other
The producers permitted her to audition on videotape. Holmes read for the
part of Joey Potter, the tomboy best friend of the title character Dawson,
on a videotape shot in her basement, her mother reading Dawson's lines.
The Hollywood Reporter claimed the story of Holmes's audition "has become
the stuff of legend" and "no one even thought that it was weird that one
of the female leads would audition via Federal Express."
Holmes won the part. Paul Stupin, executive producer of the show, said his
first reaction on seeing her audition tape was "That's Joey Potter!"
Creator and executive producer Kevin Williamson said Holmes has a "unique
combination of talent, beauty and skill that makes Hollywood come calling.
But that's just the beginning. To meet her is to instantly fall under her
spell." Williamson thought she had exactly the right look for Joey Potter.
"She had those eyes, those eyes just stained with loneliness."
"Joey Potter is a headstrong, vibrant, wily, sultry, and determined
go-getter. And yet, in a gloriously contradictory manner, in spite of her
tough-as-nails exterior demeanor, Joey's also a frail, sometimes
uncertain, emotionally sensitive, in-need-of-love person", said the show's
official book. Joey, named for Jo in Little Women, for years had been
climbing in Dawson's bedroom window and platonically sharing his bed.
Joey's mother had died from cancer when Joey was thirteen and her father,
Mike (Gareth Williams), was in prison for "conspiracy to traffic in
marijuana in excess of 10,000 pounds." Her harried, unmarried, and very
pregnant sister, Bessie (Nina Repeta), about five years older than Joey,
was raising her while running the Ice House restaurant, where Joey worked
as a waitress. GQ described Joey as "kind of an uptight fussbudget—one
who's always twisted up over doing the right thing and bungling-up ways to
hook up with her crush and across the creek neighbor, Dawson."
"I'm a lot like Joey", said Holmes. "I think they saw that. I come from a
small town. I was a tomboy. Joey tries to be articulate and deny that she
doesn't have a lot of experience in life. Her life parallels mine, which
is all about new everything—relationships, personal perceptions—and about
being guarded." Holmes filmed the pilot of Dawson's Creek in Wilmington,
North Carolina, during spring break of her senior year of high school in
1997. When the show was picked up by The WB, Holmes moved to Wilmington,
where the show filmed.
The tall (5 ft 9 in (1.75 m) brunette enchanted the press, writers of both
sexes commenting how Holmes was the sort of girl one wants to bring home
to meet the parents and to marry. "The Audrey Hepburn of her generation",
was one typical comment. Time called her "impossibly lovely" and
Entertainment Weekly said she was "next up for idolhood." Variety,
reviewing the pilot, said Holmes "is a confident young performer who
delivers her lines with slyness and conviction." Holmes made such an
impression in Hollywood, The New York Times Magazine claimed everyone was
seeking to cast a "Katie Holmes type", who, the reporter claimed, "is a
throwback to the 1950s: she is a smart girl next door (as opposed to the
babe-o-rama blondes)"—the sort represented by her Dawson's Creek co-star
Michelle Williams. But her "type" was no less attractive, Arena magazine
declaring her "the most coquettishly sexy woman on television. Anywhere."
The show was aggressively marketed by The WB Network before its premiere
in January 1998. The cast was featured in the J. Crew catalog and trailers
for the program were shown in movie theatres. Before the premiere, the
show's talk of sex caused a stir in the press; one of the show's
producers, Procter and Gamble, withdrew after negative press in its
hometown newspapers. Holmes was soon on the covers of magazines such as
Seventeen, TV Guide, and Rolling Stone. Jancee Dunn, an editor at Rolling
Stone said she was chosen for the cover because "every time you mention
Dawson's Creek you tend to get a lot of dolphin-like shrieks from teenage
girls. The fact that she is drop-dead gorgeous didn't hurt either."
Reviews were mixed. The Blade said the characters "just talk like they
came from a planet ruled by Manhattan psychologists, one where small talk
is punishable by death." Holmes herself needed help with the dialogue.
"Sometimes before we read a script, I have to get my dictionary and call
people to make sure I'm pronouncing some of the words correctly." The show
brought her national attention and many fans back home; Toledo's
Thanksgiving Day parade in November 1998 had record attendance when Holmes
was named grand marshal.
Dawson's Creek ran from 1998 to 2003, and Holmes was the only actor to
appear in all 128 episodes. "It was very difficult for me to leave
Wilmington, to have my little glass bubble burst and move on. I hate
change. On the other hand it was refreshing to play someone else", she
said in 2004. Holmes confirmed that, as often happens on soaps, the
character was a caricature of the actor:
“ I miss her spirit, and her spunk, and I miss her anxiety. She always had
these long speeches about her fears and her future and love. It was a
great tool for me personally because I got to get it all out. I was able
to psychoanalyze all of it everyday with her and then I wouldn't have to
do it on my own. So much of me is in Joey and it really felt like I grew
up on television. ”
"As Joey", said Life magazine, "Holmes has had seismic influences on teen
life... Through it all, Joey has managed to hang on to her integrity...
The show—and Katie's character in particular—has touched a nerve."
In 2005, Holmes characterized her film career as being a string of
"bombs." "Usually I'm not even in the top ten", she said, the highest
grossing film of her career then being Phone Booth, in which she played a
supporting role. She lamented "It's not like I have a lot of stuff that's
great just waiting for me to sign on to."
Her first leading role came in Disturbing Behavior (1998), a Scream-era
Stepford Wives-goes-to-high school thriller, where she was a loner from
the wrong side of the tracks. Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times wrote
her character, Rachel, "dresses in black and likes to strike poses on the
beds of pickup trucks and is a bad girl who is in great danger of becoming
a very good one." The actress won a MTV Movie Award for Best Breakthrough
Performance for the role, though Holmes said the film was "just horrible."
Holmes played a disaffected supermarket clerk in Doug Liman's acclaimed
ensemble piece Go (1999).
She had an uncredited cameo with Dawson's Creek co-star Joshua Jackson in
Muppets from Space (1999), which was also filmed in Wilmington.
In Kevin Williamson's Teaching Mrs. Tingle (1999), which he wrote and
directed, Holmes played a straight-A student whose vindictive teacher
(Helen Mirren) threatens to keep her from a desperately needed
In Wonder Boys (2000), directed by Curtis Hanson from the novel by Michael
Chabon, Holmes had a small role (six and one-half minutes of screen time)
but nevertheless attracted the attention of numerous film critics with her
performance as Hannah Green, the talented student who lusts after
Professor Grady Tripp (Michael Douglas), her creative writing instructor
and landlord. Kenneth Turan of The Los Angeles Times said she was "just
right as the beauty with kind of a crush on the old man."
In The Gift (2000), a Southern Gothic story directed by Sam Raimi and
starring Cate Blanchett, she played the antithesis of Joey Potter: a
promiscuous rich girl having affairs with everyone from a sociopathic
wife-beater (Keanu Reeves) to the district attorney (Gary Cole), and is
murdered by her fiancé (Greg Kinnear). Holmes did her first nude scene for
the film, in a scene where her character was about to be murdered. Of the
scene, she said, "I just hope there aren't a lot of pauses on DVD
players." Her appearance was lamented by Variety's Steven Kotler: "It
seems the only time we see a naked woman on screen is when someone like
Katie Holmes needs to break with her sanitized WB past and march brazenly
into a new future." In Ohio, the scene met with disapproval, Russ Lemmon
writing in The Blade:
“ Toledo's Katie Holmes—whose popularity is probably directly proportional
to her perceived level of sweetness and innocence—bares her breasts in The
Gift. . . Say it ain't so, Katie. . . Katie's topless scene was
gratuitous. It added nothing to the movie . . I hope it added to her
checking account, above and beyond what she would have received for
appearing fully clothed throughout. I also hope her contract stipulated
that she will receive a percentage of DVD rentals and sales. As one
Internet writer on roughcut.com put it: Katie's topless scene assures that
"The Gift will be the DVD most rented by teenage (and not teenage) boys in
the history of freeze frame" . . . It seems to me that the four years that
she spent cultivating a wholesome image vanished in just a few seconds—in
a potential box-office bomb, no less. ” In Abandon (2002), written by
Oscar winner Stephen Gaghan, Holmes was a delusional, homicidal college
student named "Katie." Todd McCarthy of Variety and Roger Ebert commended
her performance, but other critics and audiences savaged it. The actress
played the mistress of the public relations flack played by Colin Farrell
in Phone Booth (2002) and Robert Downey, Jr.'s nurse in The Singing
Detective (2003). Holmes's next starring role was in Pieces of April
(2003), a gritty comedy about a dysfunctional family on Thanksgiving.
Variety said it was "one of her best film performances." "Each actor
shines", wrote Elvis Mitchell, "even Ms. Holmes, whose beauty seems to
have fogged the minds of her previous directors" in playing "a brat who is
slaving to find her inner decency and barely has the equipment for such an
achievement, let alone to serve a meal whose salmonella potential could
claim an entire borough. Yet it is her surliness, as well as her
intransigent determination to make Thanksgiving work, that keeps the
Holmes played the President's daughter in First Daughter, which was
originally to be released in January 2004 on the same day as Chasing
Liberty, another film about a president's daughter, but was ultimately
released in September 2004 to dismal reviews and ticket sales. First
Daughter, directed by Forest Whitaker, also starred Michael Keaton as her
father and Marc Blucas as her love interest. The Hollywood Reporter's Kirk
Honeycutt called her character, Samantha Mackenzie, "a startling example
of how a studio film can dumb down and neutralize the comic abilities of a
lively young star." In the 2005 film Batman Begins, the most successful
film of her career to date, she played Rachel Dawes, an attorney in the
Gotham City district attorney's office and the childhood sweetheart of the
title character. Variety was unenthusiastic. "Holmes is OK", was its
critic's sole remark on her performance. She received a Golden Raspberry
nomination for "worst supporting actress" for the film.
In 2005, she appeared in the film version of Christopher Buckley's
satirical novel Thank You for Smoking about a tobacco lobbyist played by
Aaron Eckhart, whom Holmes's character, a Washington reporter, seduces.
Variety wrote one of the film's "sole relatively weak notes [came] from
Holmes, who lacks even a hint of the wiliness of a ruthless reporter" and
The New York Times said the cast was "exceptionally fine" except for
Holmes, who "strain[ed] credulity" in her role.
Holmes had agreed to play in Shame on You, a biopic about the country
singer Spade Cooley written and directed by Dennis Quaid, as the wife whom
Cooley (played by Quaid) stomps to death. But the picture, set to shoot in
New Orleans, Louisiana, was delayed by Hurricane Katrina, and Holmes
dropped out because of her pregnancy.
After speculation about her reprising her role in The Dark Knight, the
sequel to Batman Begins, it was finally confirmed that she would not
appear. Her role was later recast with Maggie Gyllenhaal in her place.
Instead, she decided to star in the comedy Mad Money, opposite Diane
Keaton and Queen Latifah.
In early July 2009, Katie began filming a remake of the 1970s ABC
telemovie Don't Be Afraid of the Dark in Melbourne, Australia. The
horror/thriller movie is co-written and produced by Guillermo Del Toro and
directed by Troy Nixey. It also stars Guy Pearce.
She will have her first executive-producer credit in the 2010 comedy The
Romantics, in which she also stars.
Holmes made her Broadway debut in the revival of Arthur Miller's All My
Sons in September 2008. She opened to mixed reviews. The New York Times'
Ben Brantley claimed "the neophyte Ms. Holmes" is a "sad casualty" of
director Simon McBurney's "high concept approach" to the play. He adds
that "Ms. Holmes delivers most of her lines with meaningful asperity,
italicising every word". Clive Barnes of the New York Post was similarly
unimpressed by Holmes - and had few compliments for her co-stars. He
wrote, "Lithgow starts in a sunny, benign fashion, but eventually finds
himself screeching alongside Holmes, looking tough under a glossy wig."
However, The New York Daily News' Joe Dziemianowicz was won over by the
actress' first stint on stage, writing, "Holmes, a TV and film vet, makes
a fine Broadway debut. Her rather grand speech pattern takes getting used
to, but she seems comfortable and adds a fitting glint of glamour." In
2009, Holmes appeared in the National Memorial Day Concert on the Mall in
Washington, D.C. in a dialogue with Dianne Wiest celebrating the life of
an American veteran seriously wounded in Iraq, José Pequeño.
Holmes hosted Saturday Night Live on February 24, 2001, participating in a
send-up of Dawson's Creek where she falls madly in love with Chris
Kattan's Mr. Peepers character and singing "Big Spender" from Sweet
Charity. On the November 9, 2003 episode, she was Punk'd by Ashton Kutcher
and the next year she was the subject of an episode of the MTV program
Holmes was annually named by both the British and American editions of FHM
magazine as one of the sexiest women in the world from 1999 forward. She
was named one of People's "50 Most Beautiful People" in 2003; its sibling
Teen People declared her one of the "25 Hottest Stars Under 25" that year;
and in 2005, People said she was one of the ten best dressed stars that
year. She has appeared in advertisements for Garnier Lumia haircolor,
Coach leather goods, and clothing retailer The Gap.
On November 4, 2007 Holmes ran, and successfully completed, the New York
Marathon in 5:29:58.
After much speculation, in late November 2008, it was confirmed that she
is the new face of the spring 2009 campaign for the high-end fashion line
mes bought a townhouse in Wilmington in 2002. When Dawson's Creek ended
its run in 2003, she moved to Los Angeles, California, then New York City
in 2005, before going back to Los Angeles when she married Tom Cruise.
Holmes dated her Dawson's Creek co-star Joshua Jackson for all the first
season and part of the second season, the relationship ending peacefully.
She told Rolling Stone, "I fell in love, I had my first love, and it was
something so incredible and indescribable that I will treasure it always.
And that I feel so fortunate because he's now one of my best friends."
Holmes met actor Chris Klein in 2000. A Midwesterner like Holmes—he grew
up in Illinois and Nebraska—Klein and Holmes were engaged in late 2003,
but in early 2005 she and Klein ended their relationship. Press accounts
cited the distance imposed by their careers as a factor. In the fall of
2005, Klein said of the split, "We grew up. The fantasy was over and
reality set in." Holmes told a reporter in 2005, "Chris and I care about
each other and we're still friends."
In July 2009, Holmes, Nigel Lythgoe, Adam Shankman, and Carrie Ann Inaba
announced the launch of a dance scholarship fund called the Dizzy Feet
Weeks after her relationship with Chris Klein ended, Holmes began dating
actor Tom Cruise. Their first public appearance together was on April 29,
2005, in Rome, Italy, at the David di Donatello Awards, the Italian
equivalent of the Oscars. Her family expressed support, with her father
stating, "We're very excited for Katie", and saying his daughter was "a
very mature young lady with a good head on her shoulders. From all we have
read and heard about [Cruise], he's a humanitarian and a real class act.
From the perspective of a parent, we're very excited for both of them".
Holmes's sister Tamara said, "They're both wonderful people."
On May 23, 2005, Cruise appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show, jumping on
Winfrey's couch and vociferously declaring his love for Holmes. He went
backstage and pulled the embarrassed actress onto the program. Cruise
proposed to Holmes in the early morning of June 17, 2005, on top of
Paris's Eiffel Tower; she accepted. At the press conference, attended by
Holmes's mother, Cruise announced the news, declaring, "Today is a
magnificent day for me. I'm engaged to a magnificent woman."
Back in Toledo, the news was greeted with skepticism. Even before Holmes's
engagement, her hometown paper was already speculating about "what happens
if our very own 'good ole Katie' morphs into 'Katie Holmes, the former
actress now better known as Tom Cruise's third wife.'" Asked in an
interview how she felt about reports that friends in Toledo are worried
about her, Holmes replied, "People who say that aren't my friends."
Following the engagement, the Chicago Tribune sent a reporter to Toledo
who found the citizens felt the biggest star from their city was not
Holmes, but Jamie Farr, who played Corporal Maxwell Klinger on M*A*S*H. "I
think he's bigger than Katie. He's so humble and he's so proud of his
hometown—he name-drops it all the time. If it wasn't for Jamie, I don't
think people would really know about Toledo", said a Toledo waitress.
Others quoted by the newspaper were puzzled by her interest in
Scientology. Farr subsequently wrote a letter to the newspaper declaring
"I admire Katie Holmes. She is a wonderful, beautiful actress" and "I do
not feel that Katie and I are in any form of competition in the city of
On November 18, 2006, Holmes and Cruise were married at the 15th-century
Odescalchi Castle in Bracciano, Italy, in a Scientology ceremony attended
by many Hollywood stars. The actors' publicist said the couple had
"officialized" their marriage in Los Angeles the day before the Italian
ceremony. The day after the ceremony, the couple left for a honeymoon in