How Tom Cruise’s Net Worth Got to Hundreds of Millions
Maybe you love his movies. Maybe you find him creepy because of his involvement with the Church of Scientology. But you definitely know Tom Cruise.
The movie star has been around since the 1980s, playing iconic roles such as Ethan Hunt in the "Mission Impossible" saga and Pete "Maverick" Mitchell in "Top Gun." After around four decades as a Hollywood A-lister, Cruise has accrued quite a bit of wealth.
Read on to find out how much Tom Cruise is worth — and how exactly he got there.
A Rough Start
Given his success and wealth, many assume that Cruise had a pampered childhood. In reality, the future star faced a rough upbringing.
Thomas Cruise Mapother IV was born on July 3, 1962, to a Catholic family that faced poverty. Though native to Syracuse, New York, he lived for years in Canada. He and his siblings were the victims of his abusive father who would bully and hit them during frequent bursts of anger. He moved back to the U.S. when he was in sixth grade after his mother finally left his father.
As a youth, Cruise was kicked out of both seminary school (yes, he briefly thought about being a priest) and the football team. The cause of expelling on both occasions was underage drinking.
The Beginning of Tom Cruise's Hollywood Career
By age 18, however, it seems like Cruise had figured out what he wanted. He had taken part in school plays and enjoyed acting, so he decided to pursue that as a career.
At this time, his net worth was close to zero. He worked as a busboy in a New York City restaurant. Once he saved enough money, he left for Los Angeles in 1980 looking for a big break.
Probably because of his good looks and outgoing personality, it took Cruise less than a year to appear on the big screen. His first small part was in a 1981 movie called "Endless Love." In the same year, he had a significant supporting role in "Taps."
As 1983 rolled around, he was living off of acting and had no need to continue working at restaurants. This was the year that he was part of the cast of "The Outsiders" and "All the Right Moves." He would also come across a role that would prove to be the turning point of his career.
His Big Break
Even if you haven't seen "Risky Business," you've seen a billion and one parodies of the film's iconic scene in which a pantless Cruise slides down the hall while wearing sunglasses. The 1983 film would cement the actor as a leading man. From here on out, he had the right to ask for more money.
Other noteworthy Cruise films of the 1980s include the classic "Top Gun" (1986), Martin Scorsese's "The Color of Money" (also 1986), "Rain Man (1988) and "Born on the Fourth of July" (1989). This last film earned him a Golden Globe and a nomination for an Academy Award.
"Top Gun" alone grossed $357.3 million internationally. By the end of the decade, Cruise was far removed from the child who'd grown up in poverty.
Tom Cruise's Golden Age
Having proved his worth as an appealing lead man, Cruise was able to play around with different roles in the 1990s. Some of his best films come from this decade, the majority of which he spent married to Nicole Kidman. Amongst these films are "Interview with the Vampire" (1994), "Jerry Maguire" (1996) and the Stanley Kubrick thriller "Eyes Wide Shut" (1999).
While critically acclaimed, none of these films would prove to be as commercially successful as "Mission: Impossible," which Cruise produced as well as led. Grossing over $457.6 million, the 1996 film would be life-changing for Cruise.
Becoming an Action Star
After "Mission: Impossible," Tom Cruise cemented himself as an action hero. During the early and mid-2000s, he made many such movies, including "Vanilla Sky" (2001), "Minority Report" (2002) "Collateral" (2004)" and "Edge of Tomorrow" (2014). Cruise has become famous for performing most of his own stunts, like hanging off an actual moving plane.
For most of the 2000s, his highest-grossing films were the "Mission: Impossible" movies that followed the original. Both "Mission Impossible — Ghost Protocol" (2010) and "Mission: Impossible — Fallout" (2018) became his highest-grossing movies at the time. Besides earning him big bucks as an actor, he probably also gets a cut from the profits as a producer.
The films earned $694 million and $791 million, respectively, so Cruise got a pretty big paycheck from them. Still, his most successful film was yet to come.
'Top Gun: Maverick' Makes $1 Billion
"Top Gun: Maverick" hit theaters in May 2022, thirty-six years after the original "Top Gun" movie came out. Many expected it to not do well, given that it was released right in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, nostalgia proved stronger than we imagined. To date, the movie has grossed over a billion dollars.
Acclaimed by both fans and critics, most people agree that the sequel is even better than the original — a feat not easily achieved.
Scientology and the Failure of His Marriages
You can't discuss success and net worth without also discussing failure. Despite his prolific and well-respected career, the one chip on Cruise's shoulder is that he is tied to the Church of Scientology.
Cruise reportedly joined Scientology during his first marriage to Mimi Rogers. After the divorce, Rogers left the group and has blamed it for her marital failure. This would be a theme in his subsequent marriages to Nicole Kidman and Katie Holmes, both of which allegedly ended at least in part because of Cruise's involvement with the church.
But besides heartbreak, it seems like Scientology has cost Cruise a pretty penny and put a dent into his net worth. No one can say for sure how much he's donated to his religion, but in 2012, Business Insider estimated the number to be about $25 million. Ten years later, it's safe to assume he's spent significantly more than that.
Scientology has also cost him in divorces, given that it's been a major reason for them. When he broke up with Kidman, they split assets 50-50. The exact value of these assets is not available. After Katie Holmes decided to divorce him, she got about $5 million and is entitled to around $400,000 a year in child support until 2024 when their daughter, Suri Cruise, turns 18.
That may seem like a lot in child support, but it's not even 7 percent of Tom Cruise's net worth.
Cruising to Outer Space
So, what's next for Tom Cruise? In 2020, it was reported that he would be one of the first actors in the world to film in outer space. No, we're not making this up. He is supposed to fly up to an International Space Station to film sometime in the next decade.
Whether the film will be science fiction, or a documentary about how "2001: A Space Odyssey" was a prophecy is yet to be seen. But if the film comes to fruition, it will likely increase his already sizeable net worth.
Tom Cruise's Net Worth
After his multiple blockbusters, sagas, and decade-defining movies — and his disastrous love and personal life — Tom Cruise has managed to accrue a net worth of about $600 million.
Of course, that's an estimate from the assets publicly available on records. Who knows if he has offshore accounts that are earning him more?
As one of the world's highest-paid actors of all time, Cruise has definitely worked for his wealth.