Though she was considered a rising star when she met the A-list actor in spring 2005, Holmes entered another stratosphere with her marriage to Cruise. Now, single again, the former Mrs. Tom Cruise and mother of Suri cannot possibly return to her old life.
Still, it's useful to look back at the time before Holmes, now 33, became Mrs. Cruise, as she charts new territory as a single mom. Here are five things to know about Katie before Tom.
She Was A Good Girl
Holmes broke into Hollywood playing good girl Joey Potter on "Dawson's Creek," but the role wasn't so far off from the straight-A student at her all-girls Notre Dame Academy in Toledo, Ohio. "I was neurotic about getting an A," Holmes told the New York Daily News in 1999. When the show's creator, Kevin Williamson, received an audition tape from her, he knew he had found his Joey. "Here was just a real, regular, normal girl. So it took me about one minute to say, `Get her in here to test for the network,' " Williamson told the Chicago Sun Times in 1999.
Of course, being the good girl she was, Holmes put off the audition so that she could fulfill her committment playing Lola in her high school musical "Damn Yankees." "I thought, `There is no way I'm not playing Lola to go audition for some network.' I couldn't let my school down," she told the Sun Times in 1999.
She Was Engaged Before
Holmes didn't date much before she met Cruise, but she did have one other serious relationship. After dating her "Dawson's Creek" co-star Joshua Jackson early in the show's run, she met "American Pie" actor Chris Klein in 2000.
Klein and Holmes became engaged in late 2003, when she was 24, but they ended their relationship in March 2005, a few weeks after Klein was arrested on drunken-driving charges. (He pleaded guilty to one misdemeanor count and was sentenced to a fine, community service and five years' probation.) At the time, her publicist released a statement quoted in Us Weekly: "They broke off the engagement but are remaining good friends."
She Never Went to College
Holmes was cast in "Dawson's Creek" her senior year of high school. While playing high schooler Joey Potter for the next six years, she put off college. (She was accepted to Columbia University in New York). Then there were movie roles and, perhaps, her biggest role as Mrs. Tom Cruise. Now that's she's established herself in a new apartment in New York's Chelsea neighborhood, it will be interesting to see if Holmes takes some time to continue her studies. "It's definitely something that I'm looking forward to doing some day," Holmes told CBS's "Early Show" in 2004.
She Was (And Still Is) Close to Her Family
At age 20, Holmes was a budding star living in Wilmington, N.C., while filming "Dawson's Creek," but she still listened to her mom, who set a midnight curfew for her. Asked by the Chicago Sun Times in 1999 how her mother would know if she missed her curfew, she replied, "But I would know and feel really, really bad," she says.
Holmes' mom, Kathleen Holmes, a homemaker, has been her biggest backer. The youngest of five children, Holmes had a flair for the dramatic and would read plays with her mother, while her father, Martin Holmes, was out practicing law. In fact, it was her mother who managed to get the script for the upcoming series "Dawson's Creek" and videotaped her daughter playing Joey.
This week, Kathleen was seen in New York spending time with daughter Katie and granddaughter Suri.
She Was Ambitious but Grounded
While promoting her film, "Teaching Mrs. Tingle," in 1999, Holmes told the Sun-Sentinel newspaper in Fort Lauderdale that she related to the straight-laced student she played. "Leigh Ann was essentially me when I was in high school, in that I was very ambitious and driven and I wanted a life outside of what I knew."
Of course, Holmes got what she asked for and more. "It was so out of the blue, so unexpected," she continued about the sudden fame. "I mean all of a sudden my life changed, and it was unbelievable, and I was like a deer in the headlights, so many emotions going on."
But Holmes said she tried to stay grounded by remembering where she came from. "Being in the public eye can be isolating," Holmes told the New York Daily News in 2004. "It's hard to make friends easily. That's why I'm always on the phone with my family, trying not to think about my image."