Tom Cruise's longtime publicist Pat Kingsley is opening up about the relationship she had with her former client before Cruise famously fired her back in 2009.
In a new interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Kingsley, now 81, admits to butting heads with members of Cruise's controversial religion Scientology early in his career.
Regarding the conflict, Kingsley told the mag, "It was taken care of very early in the game. I felt that they were involved in a story that I was doing on Tom, and I said: 'It's not your story, it's Tom's. You have to step aside.' And they did."
But Cruise's outspoken support for Scientology only grew as his career garnered continued success.
"I did have that conversation with Tom, about cooling it," Kingsley says of the religion, adding that she once told Cruise, "'Scientology is fine. You want to do a tour for Scientology? Do a tour for Scientology. But Warner Bros. is sponsoring this tour.' That was for [2003's] The Last Samurai. He didn't say yes or no, except he did not discuss Scientology on that European tour."
The end of Cruise and Kingsley's professional relationship wasn't just over Scientology though. She admits they lost their rapport over the years and Cruise wanted to have more control and input when it came to decisions about his publicity.
"I think he wanted to be more personally involved in all those decisions," she said. "He felt, 'Look, it's been 14 years. I think it's time I tried something different.' And I certainly had no quarrel with that. It was his life, his career. It was not working. I was not having the rapport. I felt a kind of pulling back, and I knew it was going to happen."
As for her firing, she reveals, "His assistant called and made an appointment for Tom to come into my office. He had never been to my office before. And he came in, had a few minutes of chitchat, and he said, ‘I want you to know I've decided to make a change.' I said: ‘I knew that was going to happen today. I guess I'll probably take a pretty big hit with the media.' And he said, ‘Well, we've all had those hits, haven't we?' I said, ‘Yeah. I'll be OK.' And then I said, ‘A lot of people have worked on your behalf that you're not aware of, and I'd like to have you say hello to them.' So I took him around, and he saw everybody and even went to see the mailman, just as cordial as could be."