The star is celebrating his 60th birthday today and has amassed a net worth of US$600million (£492million) over his 41 years in the industry. His first film to gross over a billion was Top Gun: Maverick, which was released just this year. So how exactly did he earn his massive fortune?
The American actor and producer has a long list of film credits and is one of the most recognized names in entertainment.
He ranks the 37th richest person in Hollywood, higher than Mick Jagger, George Clooney and acclaimed author Stephen King.
Cruise is also the third richest actor in Hollywood, losing $200m (£164m) behind Dwayne Johnson and $400m (£328m) behind Jerry Seinfield.
He is known for his action films and some of his roles have become undeniably iconic, such as Ethan Hunt from the Mission Impossible film series.
In total, Cruise’s films have grossed US$9.5 billion (£7.8 billion) at the global box office over the course of his career.
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Cruise didn’t come to Hollywood with these fortunes, however, as his childhood was turbulent and riddled with financial problems.
He attended 15 different schools in 14 years and ended up living with his mother and stepfather in 1978 and had a very different career path in mind during his childhood.
He took a scholarship from the Catholic Church and aspired to become a Franciscan minister, but was eventually expelled from St. Francis Seminary for drinking.
He returned to high school and graduated in 1980 before moving to New York City with the permission of his mother and stepfather.
By 1986, he earned $2 million (£1.64 million) for his role in Top Gun.
The long-awaited sequel, Top Gun: Maverick, was rumored to be in the works years before it actually was.
When fans finally received confirmation that the film would indeed be made, COVID-19 delayed the release by two years.
Cruise is both the star and main producer of Top Gun: Maverick, with a base salary of $13 million (£10 million), more than six times his original salary in 1983.
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That’s not all he takes home, however, as he earns 10 to 20 percent of the film’s earnings thanks to his producer credit.
It’s obvious that Cruise’s wealth can’t be attributed simply to his acting roles — he also derives a large sum of his fortune from Cruise/Wagner Productions.
Cruise and Paula Wagner co-founded the company in 1993 and had an exclusive contract with entertainment giant Paramount for several years.
Wagner originally tried to convince Michael Ovitz, the managing partner of talent agency CAA, to sign Cruise in 1981 – and that’s exactly what happened.
Shortly thereafter, he shot to international fame almost overnight after his role in 1983’s Risky Business, which was only the fourth film role of his career.
It would also earn him his first major award nomination and put him in the running for a Golden Globe for Best Actor.
A string of successful films followed, including Rainman, Interview with the Vampire and A Few Good Men.
At the same time, the new Hollywood heartthrob also found himself in a handful of relationships, including a brief fling with singer Cher.