More than one year after engaging in a war of words over postpartum depression, Tom Cruise and Brooke Shields have made peace.
The accord was announced by Shields on Friday's Tonight Show. United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan was presumably too busy with other stuff to comment.
According to Shields, Cruise's former Endless Love coworker, the embattled superstar initiated the settlement last Thursday.
"[Cruise] came over to my house, and he gave me a heartfelt apology," the actress told Tonight host Jay Leno. "And through it all, I was so impressed with how heartfelt it was."
Won over, Shields accepted the apology, she said.
Through a spokesman, Cruise confirmed the olive branch.
It was Cruise who fired the shot. During a discussion with Access Hollywood in May 2005 about psychiatry and prescription drugs--two nonfavorites of the devout Scientologist--the actor expressed doubt that therapy and the anti-depressant Paxil had helped Shields, as she had written in a book about overcoming postpartum depression following the birth of her first child.
"Look at her life," Cruise charged, while ostensibly promoting War of the Worlds. "Here is a woman--and I care about Brooke Shields, because I think she is incredibly talented--[but] you look at where has her career gone?"
The implication: Since their work together in 1981's Endless Love, the prescription-drug-free Cruise had become A-list successful; the Paxil-popping Shields had become less so. (If only she'd taken vitamins...)
Shields held fire until Cruise popped off again, just weeks later, during his infamous "you're glib" interview with Today Show's Matt Lauer.
Cruise, who has never given birth, accused Shields, who has, of spreading "misinformation."
"She doesn't understand the history of psychiatry," Cruise told Lauer. "She doesn't understand in the same way that you don't understand it, Matt."
Shields responded with an op-ed piece in the New York Times that slammed Cruise's "ridiculous rant."
The aftermath: Since their tangling, Cruise has lost his pricey production deal with Paramount, alienated his female fan base--or so the theory of Mission: Impossible III's underwhelming box office goes--and watched his likeability numbers fall 40 percent; Shields has bagged a recurring role on Nip/Tuck. (If only he'd skipped the vitamins comment...)
A recent quote from producer Kathleen Kennedy in the New York Daily News suggested that Cruise "deeply regret[ed]" his hectoring of Shields. But Kennedy later explained she didn't really know how Cruise felt.
According to a statement from Cruise's camp to the Associated Press over the weekend, the actor feels exactly the same--about Paxil.
"It is true that his friendship with Ms. Shields has been mended," rep Arnold Robinson said. "He has not changed his position about antidepressants, which as evidenced by the black label warnings issued by the FDA on these types of drugs, are unhealthy."
Still, Cruise has changed his position on the lecture circuit--he's off it.
"I didn't feel at any time that I had to defend myself, nor did I feel that he was trying to convince me of anything other than the fact that he was deeply sorry," Shields said on the Tonight Show.
Even before their settlement, Cruise, 44, and Shields, 41, were brought together, location-wise, in April, when Cruise and life partner Katie Holmes welcomed daughter Suri down the hospital hall from Shields, who was giving birth to her and husband Chris Henchy's second daughter, Grier.
In issuing the mea culpa, Cruise is borrowing a page from the script of Mel Gibson, who followed up his notorious "f--king Jews" drunken-driving arrest with a press-release apology to "everyone in the Jewish community," reportedly with personal communications to individual members of the Jewish community.
It is not believed Gibson has apologized to Shields. But if Cruise's Q ratings bump up...