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    Tom Cruise Talks Scientology, His Penchant for Suing and Those Rumors: "I Hear It, I Read It, I Get It"

    Tom Cruise Jeffrey Ufberg/WireImage

    Hide the couches, because Tom Cruise is in an uncharacteristically sharing mood.

    The movie star opened up—and how!—with Playboy this month, sounding off on everything from his Scientology beliefs to his media "lapse" a few years back and even defended his deservedly sue-happy reputation.

    Ready to see a whole new side of Tom?

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    In the wide-ranging interview with the magazine, Cruise tackled some potentially uncomfortable topics head-on, starting right in on the gossip that seems to surround everything he and his wife, Katie Holmes, do.

    "I hear it, I read it, I get it," he said of the unstoppable rumor mill. "But life is not a matter of trying to prove anything to anybody."

    It's a lesson he learned the hard way a few years ago, when his couch-jumping, glib-accusing, postpartum depression-denying antics were headline news.

    Agreeing with the interviewer's characterization of that period as a "lapse" in his behavior, Cruise admitted, "I never meant it that way."

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    "When I go back and look at it, I find myself thinking, I don't feel that way. I get how it came across, but I don't feel that way, and I never have. Telling people how to live their lives? I saw how that came across and how pieces were edited."

    Many media pundits and armchair critics pointed to his religious affiliation as a possible explanation of his seemingly out-of-character behavior, and Cruise told Playboy that mentions of his Scientology faith are admittedly tricky waters to navigate.

    "What's interesting is, if I don't talk about my religion, if I say I'm not discussing it or different humanitarian things I'm working on, they're like, 'He's avoiding it,'" he said. "If I do talk about it, it becomes, 'Oh, he's proselytizing.'

    "Reviewing the whole thing and how things can be edited and misinterpreted, I decided, You know what? Here's the deal. I take responsibility for what happened, but everyone now knows that if I am dealing with humanitarian things, I will talk about that. When I'm promoting a film, I'm not going to get caught up in anything else, and that includes all my personal things."

    Well, except for this interview, it seems.

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    "That time was interesting," he continued. "It was that moment when the Internet had really spun out. It was a learning experience for all of us, how these things go. All you can do is learn and say, 'This is the way it's going to go from now on. Here is the line.'"

    Drawing a line, incidentally, is something Cruise is no stranger to, and his reputation in siccing his legal team on offending publications precedes him.

    And according to the actor, it is a reputation born of self-preservation and necessity.

    "They know I mean it, that if I have to, I will sue," he explained. "You start with a letter saying, 'Okay, you know it's not true. Apologize.' There is a point with a lot of things when you just go, 'You know what? I don't want to waste my time with this. I'm busy. I'd rather spend this time with my kids and my wife, at home or on our movies, creating a life together. If you have kids, it is the most important thing to create good times.'"

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    But that hasn't stopped other invasions into his privacy, and he played somewhat coy when asked if he had ever been the victim of hacking.

    "Maybe. I put that in a minor pile of things I have to handle. But with certain ones you have to go, 'OK, you crossed a line, and now you have the attention of my lawyers,'" he laughed.

    "When it involves your kids, with these guys you have to go, 'Here's the line, and anytime you cross it…' But there are lots of times when you just have to say, 'Please don't cross that line. Be decent. Let's not do this.'"

    If only that did the trick.

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