What a difference three days make: On Tuesday, Tom Cruise was shooting down rumors that he was on the verge of proposing to Katie Holmes. Now, he's ready to walk down the aisle and she's sporting a big rock on her finger.
"It's ridiculous," Cruise told reporters in Germany, at a June 14 press conference to promote his forthcoming film, "War of the Worlds."
"Listen, something magnificent has happened to me, and it's something extraordinary. It's something that I'm so happy about I can't restrain myself. That's how I feel, you know? She's really an extraordinary woman and I'm really, really happy."
Cruise's happiness presumably soared to astronomical new heights today in Paris, when he made his big announcement.
"Yes, I proposed to her," he told a gaggle of reporters. "It was early this morning at the Eiffel Tower, so I haven't slept at all. Today is a magnificent day for me, I'm engaged to a magnificent woman."
Both stars have been in Europe promoting their films. Holmes appears in "Batman Begins," which opened Wednesday, and earned an impressive $15 million at the box office in just 24 hours. Cruise's film opens next Friday.
The timing of the relationship, which dovetails perfectly with both of their summer movie premieres, has sparked more than a little suspicion that Hollywood's hottest couple is squeezing their relationship for all its promotional value. The pair began dating in early April.
Once hesitant to discuss his personal life and combative with the press about his belief in Scientology, Cruise has been openly giddy in recent weeks. His mid-May interview on "The Oprah Winfrey Show," when he literally jumped on the couch proclaiming his love for Holmes, may yet prove to be one of the year's most memorable TV events.
In recent days, Cruise has repeated his happy dance in interviews with Jay Leno, among others. It's an amazing turnaround for the 42-year-old star. Following his 2001 breakup with Nicole Kidman, he begged the press for privacy. On a press tour for "Minority Report," Cruise's publicist began interviews saying that Cruise would not take questions on Penelope Cruz, the woman he was dating at the time, or his divorce.
Holmes had also never been much for public displays of affection. The 26-year-old, who shot to fame on TV's "Dawson's Creek," had broken off her engagement to actor Chris Klein earlier this year. The two had never played up their affair on the red carpet or on the pages of celebrity magazines in their five years together.
But since Cruise and Holmes began dating, they've both been so gaga, they can barely contain themselves. After introducing himself over the telephone in early April, he took her for a sushi dinner on board his private airplane, and for a ride through Los Angeles on his motorcycle, according to US magazine.
By the end of the month, they were jetting off to Rome for Italy's version of the Oscars. They stunned the celebrity world by quickly proclaiming their love for each other and dining with dignitaries, acting as if they had been dating for years rather than months, and later attended the Cannes Film Festival together.
"I'll talk about Tom forever," Holmes told Robin Roberts last Thursday on "Good Morning America," the morning after Cruise was working the late-night circuit on NBC.
"It's been absolutely amazing," Holmes said. "I'm so happy. And I watched Leno last night and I was like blushing and, and so happy, and excited, and I'm, I'm so proud. I love him. … We're just happy and excited and I feel like the luckiest woman in the world."
Cruise seemed to indicate he was moving toward marriage in the new issue of Entertainment Weekly, saying that Holmes shares his interest in Scientology.
"Yes, absolutely. She digs it," he told the magazine.
It will be interesting to see how the marriage proposal will affect lingering public skepticism. In that same issue of EW, a reader survey suggested that the public had doubts. Though not a scientific poll, the survey's findings show that 61 percent of respondents said they liked Cruise less now after the recent exhaustive attention to his personal life, 3 percent said they liked him more, and 36 percent said their viewpoint hadn't changed.
A similar survey in People magazine found nearly two-thirds of those questioned believed the relationship to be a publicity stunt.
In Paris today, as the couple announced their nuptial plans, Cruise indicated that no wedding date had been set. "We haven't discussed that -- one step at a time," he said. "Let's see. We're not sure."
This would be Cruise's third trip to the altar. His three-year marriage to actress Mimi Rogers ended in 1990. He and Kidman have two adopted children from their marriage.
Holmes, who has never been married, declined to talk with reporters, but the ring on her finger spoke volumes. After the event, the couple left for Marseilles, in southern France, for another promotional event.
Luckily for both of them, they're in a business that frequently takes them to romantic locales. "I've never been to the Eiffel Tower," Cruise told reporters after announcing his engagement. "It's Paris, it's a beautiful city."