After Tom and 6-year-old daughter Suri Cruise's New York City reunion this week, the constant struggle to maintain their privacy from the paparazzi has become pointedly clear.
Photographers have followed their every move, even reportedly chasing their vehicle at high speeds and prompting the movie star's attorney to lash out at the tabloid headlines.
Tom and Suri Cruise were first spotted early Wednesday leaving their downtown hotel and later arriving on the west side of Manhattan before boarding a helicopter for a trip above the skyline, with Cruise smiling and Suri clinging to him. Cruise visibly savored his bonding time with his daughter, but a new People magazine article described his "private struggle" in coping with the sudden split from Katie Holmes.
"This has blindsided Tom Cruise," People magazine's Michelle Tan said. "He is sad, he is kind of searching for answers, searching for signs that he might have missed."
Wednesday's reunion came days after Cruise wrapped filming on his movie, "Oblivion." The amount of time he has spent on-location since the divorce left his lawyer, Bert Fields, to reject reports that his client is abandoning his daughter. Fields told TMZ that they were "a disgusting, vicious lie."
While Cruise and Suri spent the day flying high, the star's soon-to-be ex-wife was flying solo. The actress, who has taken her own fair share of public excursions with Suri, was spotted leaving spin class, tight-lipped and somber-looking.
"Divorce is an adjustment for the entire family," said California psychoanalyst Bethany Marshall, who is not working with the family. "Even in the midst of divorce, Tom and Katie need to maintain a united front, they need to not expose Suri to the hostility and tension between them."
But while both sides try to keep their daughter's life normal, the paparazzi are doing their best to make it anything but.
At least 10 cars reportedly chased Cruise's vehicle through the city streets Wednesday. Cruise's driver allegedly broke speed limits, and ran half a dozen red lights in an attempt to escape.
Cruise's rep has denied reports of the high-speed chase, and police say they received no calls that he caused "near accidents" or was speeding.
In addition to the alleged high-speed chase Wednesday, there have been several minor accidents in which Suri was a passenger in the past few days. Holmes' Mercedes was reportedly hit by a photographer's vehicle, and their car was sideswiped by a garbage truck Monday.
"I think they're handling it amazingly," New York-based psychologist Janet Taylor told "Good Morning America." "They kept it private and settled it quickly, and I think their main focus is on their daughter Suri, and her well-being. I think both of them have exemplified that in a way that many parents can look at and reproduce that.
"We don't know what's brewing inside their homes, and there has to be conflict – they're getting divorced," said Taylor, who is not working with the family. "But how they're handling it, if they can't face each other right away, then it's OK for them not to be face to face. The key is to minimize conflict for Suri, and that's what they're doing."