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How Suri Cruise's estrangement from dad Tom Cruise would have affected her growing up

The teenager was six when her parents Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes split

Ainhoa Barcelona
Content Managing Editor
May 8, 2024
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Suri Cruise has not been publicly seen with her father Tom Cruise since she was a little girl. The pair have been reportedly estranged for well over a decade.

Suri, who has a very close bond with her mother Katie Holmes, with whom she lives in New York City, was six when her parents divorced.

As a young girl, she did appear to have a close relationship with the Top Gun actor and was very much part of his spotlight.

Suri Cruise's lifestyle has changed dramatically since her childhood © Getty
Suri appears to have had a close bond with her father Tom Cruise as a child

So how will this estrangement have affected Suri growing up, going from having a constant connection to her dad, to a non-existent one in a flash?

Suri's absent father growing up

"Suri may well have felt quite confused at the time as to why her dad left," Lindsay George, BACP-registered counsellor and psychotherapist, told HELLO!

Describing children's attachment styles in layman's terms, Lindsay explained that Suri and Tom may have had a secure attachment up until the point of their estrangement. 

"We can speculate that he was present and an emotionally available dad. Obviously, she's got her mum too, so potentially, Suri's attachment style is secure because she's had two parents emotionally and physically available in those early years of her life, which is super important."

Tom holding hands with ex-wife katie holmes and daughter Suri © Getty
"Suri may well have felt quite confused at the time as to why her dad left," psychotherapist Lindsay George said

However, the difference is stark when that security is suddenly taken away. 

"Children develop coping mechanisms if their needs aren't met, for example, their dad doesn't come back," said Lindsay. "So Suri will have found a way of coping with that level of anxiety, because that will have manifested as anxiety at that age. It would have made her feel unsafe and insecure despite reassurance from her mum."

This can present itself in an anxious attachment style, where we seek reassurance from whatever or whoever, Lindsay explained. Or it could also translate into an ambivalent attachment style. "In other words, we emotionally abandon our needs, and we find a way of detaching from big things."

katie holmes tom cruise with daughter suri as a baby© Getty Images
Katie Holmes and Tom Cruise split when Suri was six

Her close relationship with mother Katie

While a sudden change in family dynamic can provoke anxiety in a child, one positive to come out of such a situation is the child becoming more resilient – not to mention a strengthened bond with the remaining parent or caregiver.

"Suri will have developed a very secure, reliable, and consistent attachment style, which means that she feels safe and secure in relation to her mum," said Lindsay.

"Katie will have reinforced these feelings of safety and security and encouraged her daughter to develop a sense of self, which may be, 'Actually, I'm okay and I don't need my dad. I don't need a man to do things for me.'

"So, it's a reinforcement for girls to feel good about themselves if they get to that point. Suri is 18 so she's done the hard groundwork. She's got to this point where she can almost take the control back in her own hands."

Suri Cruise and Katie Holmes at basketball game© Getty
"I love her so much," Katie has said of her only child

Turning 18 and becoming an adult

Suri celebrated her milestone 18th birthday last month. She was spotted in New York City on the eve of her birthday, carrying an array of gifts as she walked with friends. 

She has kept largely out of the spotlight since her parents' divorce in 2012 and was raised in Los Angeles before relocating with her mother Katie to the Big Apple.

The Dawson's Creek alum has always spoken about their close relationship, telling Glamour last year: "What has been really important for me with my daughter, because she was so visible at a young age, is I really like to protect her. I'm very grateful to be a parent, to be her parent. She's an incredible person."

Developing Suri's talent

Speaking to InStyle in 2022, Katie also said: "I love her so much. My biggest goal has always been to nurture her into her individuality. To make sure she is 100 per cent herself and strong, confident, and able. And to know it."

Suri Cruise sounds just like her mother Katie Holmes singing in movie debut:

It's clear that Suri has developed her parents' talents for performing and showcased her incredible singing voice back in 2022. She sang the opening credits of Katie's film, Alone Together, when she was just 15. 

When asked why she chose Suri for the job, the actress and director sweetly told Yahoo! Entertainment: "I always want the highest level of talent, so I asked her." 

This feature about Suri and Tom's estrangement originally appeared on Apple News+. Subscribe to read the full interview and find out whether Tom is playing the long game. 

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