Tom Cruise Headlines 2008's Celeb Apologies

It's that time again: when many people -- yes, even celebrities -- admit their missteps, make amends and bury the hatchet.

Tom Cruise is the latest celebrity eating humble pie. On Monday, Cruise returned to the "Today" show set for the first time since his 2004 anti-psychiatry rant, and the fading action star expressed regret for his previous interview with host Matt Lauer.

In their now famous June 2004 confrontation, Cruise dismissed Brooke Shields' use of anti-depressants to treat her post-partum depression and told Lauer he was being glib and did not know anything about psychiatry.

"It's not what I intended," Cruise told Lauer this week. "In looking at myself, I thought, 'Man, that came across as arrogant.' ... That's one of those things you go, 'OK, I could have absolutely handled that better.'"

In hindsight, Cruise said, "I thought I didn't communicate it the way that I wanted to communicate it. And that's also -- that's not who I am. ... That's not the person that I am."

"A lot of stuff was going on," he added. "I learned a really good lesson."

It's a lesson that Us Weekly magazine senior editor Bradley Jacobs believes Cruise learned a while ago.

"He's been kind of apologizing and working on a PR campaign for a year now," Jacobs told ABCNews.com. "A lot of damage had been done with the (first) Matt Lauer interview and the couch jumping incident (on "The Oprah Winfrey Show"). It changed people's views of Tom Cruise, and that greatly affected his bottom line.

"It's really very much about him trying to undo the damage that he did," Jacobs continued. "And I do think it's working."

Jacobs called the Monday "Today" show interview the "pinnacle" of Cruise's apology campaign. "He sort of returned to the scene of the crime, went right to the source, said he was sorry, eye to eye," he said. "I think it worked."

Cruise continued his comeback cruise with an appearance on Letterman Tuesday night in which he poked fun at himself by reading a Top 10 List of the "Craziest Things People Say About Tom Cruise On The Internet."

Number 4, which appeared to be a soft dig at his belief in Scientology, drew the most applause: "I believe all emotional and psychological disorders can be cured with Vicks Vaporub."

They were followed by Number 3, "I'm a power-mad egomaniac who is completely insulated from reality," and Number 2, "After jumping on her couch, Oprah hammer-locked me until I coughed blood."

Celebrity Apologies More Common

If it seems we're seeing more celebrity apologies these days, it's probably because, given the speeded-up technology-filled world we live in today, we're also seeing more celebrity gaffes and missteps.

"People in the public eye are scrutinized tremendously, and every word they say is examined publicly," etiquette expert Harriette Cole told ABCNews.com. "So when someone misspeaks or says something rude or hurtful, it's critical that that person apologize.

"Given the nature of the media, once something is said or written, it exists forever," she added. "So it is very important to correct your record. And the best way to correct your record is to do so when you truly regret whatever it is what you did or said."

Here are some other celebrities who had mea culpa moments in 2008:

David Letterman

David Letterman extended the olive branch to his late night rival Jay Leno when it appeared that Leno was being pushed out of his host chair on "The Tonight Show" to be replaced by Conan O'Brien.

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