20 DECEMBER 2007

As she prepares to celebrate her second Christmas as Mrs Cruise Katie Holmes has been giving intimate insights into the life she shares with one of Hollywood's biggest stars.

According to the Batman Begins actress, their harmonious family existence is partly down to Tom's elder kids with former wife Nicole Kidman.

Isabella, who is 15 on Saturday, and 12-year-old Conor have accepted their stepmother so fully that they call her 'Mom'. Repaying the compliment, Katie, who is the mother of Tom's daughter Suri, describes the children as "really smart and kind".

Speaking in a US magazine, Katie, 29, reserves her warmest praise for her famous husband, who she says constantly encourages her to try new experiences.

"I have done things I never thought I would do, like climbing mountains and flying in (a vintage fighter plane)," confides the pretty brunette. "That's what is so inspiring about being with Tom – constant thrills and joy."

Photo: ©
The actress, who has a daughter Suri with Tom, says he inspires her to try new experiences, including taking part in this year's New York marathonPhoto: © Getty Images
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Her relationship with stepchildren Isabella, nearly 15, and 12-year-old Conor has also been a revelation, as the youngsters have accepted her completelyPhoto: © Rex