Tom Cruise is not an actor - he is a star. Cruise has an intensely controlled and crafted image, but for a little more than a year his image has taken a beating and is slowly losing its shine.
The lowest point for Cruise will have to be Paramount Studios cutting ties with him. The official reasons cited seem to be that it is purely business and even that Cruise was actually the one to break ties first.
But one can't help speculating that Cruise's wackiness over the past year - what with declaring his love for actress Katie Holmes by couch jumping on the Oprah show and the embarrassing interview on national TV where he gave far-fetched criticisms of psychiatry - could have added to the studio's decision.
With his less than stellar performance in 'Mission: Impossible III', even by his own admission, Cruise has been thrown in a position he has never seen before. His off-screen antics like his drinking, womanising and his rumoured trysts with Britney Spears have actually bolstered his image more than his movie performances.
We can now trace back the beginning of the end for Tom Cruise with his hooking up with Katie Holmes. After Cruise's couch jumping declaration of love, magazines did not fall for it. Instead they were wondering if the whole affair was a publicity stunt and why Cruise was acting like a freak. Cruise was doomed because how could the media go after a possible love story when questions were being asked whether there was any love at all?
If Cruise is going to launch any sort of a comeback or reinvent himself he will have to solve one big problem that has always beat him - he is the most famous movie star in the world but is also the least known, let alone understood.