TORONTO (CP) – After months of speculation about her very existence, Suri Cruise has been unveiled on the glossy pages of Vanity Fair magazine alongside her beaming parents, mega-star Tom Cruise and his girlfriend, Katie Holmes.
But is it enough for Cruise to undo the damage he’s caused to his career and reputation after a year of couch-jumping, love-professing, Scientology-espousing and Brooke-Shields-baiting?
At first glance, not yet. Instead of silencing caustic celebrity-watchers, the photos of the 4 1/2-month-old infant, with her thatch of thick dark hair, prompted even more ridicule Wednesday about the allegedly publicity-mad ways of her father. The shots have also raised further questions on gossip blogs and websites about Suri’s true parentage.
Among the observations?
-Suri looks older than she was when the photos were taken.
-Suri looks like two different babies in the October issue of Vanity Fair – just like the sets of twins television and movie producers routinely use to portray one infant character.
-And one of those Suris looks … well … Asian in descent.
“As much as everybody was hoping she’d turn out to be an animatronic Cabbage Patch Kid, the truth is she’s just flat-out beautiful. And possibly Asian,” reads a post on the gossip website The Superficial (www.superficial.com).
Canadian gossip chronicler Elaine Lui, the woman behind Lainey’s Entertainment Update (www.laineygossip.com), agrees.
“The child is absolutely adorable. Gorgeous, actually,” she writes. “But then again, perhaps I’m biased? Is it just me or do you see a subtle trace of my people in her features?”
Lui, in Toronto to cover the Toronto International Film Festival for CTV, says Cruise has a long way to go to mend his seriously wounded public persona if the hostile buzz on the web is any indication.
“Today, the debate is already raging all over the Internet – who does the baby look like, does she look like the parents, does she look like any of her ex-boyfriends, how old was the baby – these photos were apparently taken in July and some people think the child looks too big to be only three months old.”
But Lui says Cruise is on the right track following the charm offensive he’s been mounting in recent weeks. In the days after Paramount’s Sumner Redstone stunningly severed ties with one of Hollywood’s biggest stars because of the actor’s bizarre behaviour, Cruise is apparently trying to repair his image.
He sent Rosie O’Donnell a bouquet of flowers as she began her stint on The View on Tuesday, and he’s apologized to Brooke Shields.
Shields famously sparred with Cruise after he publicly assailed her for going on antidepressants following a bout with postpartum depression. Scientologists are against psychiatry and psychiatric drugs of any kind.
– Justice Anderson, Supreme Court of Victoria, Australia, quoted at What judges have to say about Scientology
Shields revealed this week that Cruise came to her home recently to deliver a “heart-felt” apology for his attack – albeit more than a year later, and shortly after he was publicly humiliated by Paramount.
Nonetheless, Lui says, Cruise is playing his cards wisely.
“He’s fighting back – he’s salvaging what he can and he’s doing it quite well,” she said.
But she adds there’s one absolute necessity if Cruise is to completely rehabilitate his image: he has to stop talking publicly about Scientology.
“We are all religious and we don’t push it on other people, and the way he did it was really offensive to other people. As long as he doesn’t talk about it, he’s going to be fine.”
She adds that beyond the sneering celebrity tabloids and gossip websites, Cruise is still extremely popular among a large demographic of women she calls the Minivan Majority.
“When he did the couch-jumping on Oprah and all of us were watching in horror, there were women in the aisles on Oprah screaming and practically fainting,” she recalls.
“These are women who believe that celebrities really are just like us and there’s no such thing as a spin doctor. They still love Tom Cruise, and people should not be writing him off.”
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