Despite being one of the biggest stars on the planet, Tom Cruise has always done everything he can to keep his private life... private.
But now, in a candid new interview with Playboy magazine, nothing is off limits, as Tom opens up about his belief in Scientology, his love for wife Katie Holmes and taking on the rumors that target him in the media.
"If I don't talk about my religion, if I say I'm not discussing it or different humanitarian things I'm working on, they're like, 'He's avoiding it.' If I do talk about it, it becomes, 'Oh, he's proselytizing,'" Tom told Playboy of his faith in Scientology. "I have respect for what other people believe. What I believe in my own life is that it's a search for how I can do things better, whether it's being a better man or a better father or finding ways for myself to improve. Individuals have to decide what is true and real for them. I'm fortunate in the life I have."
So how does the "Rock of Ages" star deal with rumors that have targeted him and his family over the years?
"Does refuting things help? Not really. There comes a point when you just have to go, 'You know what? Here's how I've lived my life: I've never been late to a set. I make films I believe in. I feel privileged to be able to do what I love.' You just have to keep going and remember that. The other stuff? I hear it, I read it, I get it. But life is not a matter of trying to prove anything to anybody," Tom explained.
But don't think that Tom will just sit idly by if things cross the line.
"If I have to, I will sue. You start with a letter saying, 'Okay, you know it's not true. Apologize.' But with certain ones you have to go, 'Okay, you crossed a line, and now you have the attention of my lawyers. [laughs] When it involves your kids, you have to go, 'Here's the line, and anytime you cross it...,'" he added.
One rumor Tom - who will turn 50 later this summer (July 3) - has no problem confronting is the question of plastic surgery.
"I haven't, and I never would," he told the mag.
Even with all of his box office successes, in the end, Tom understands what's important in his life - his family. And, as he explained, when the lines of personal and professional cross, it's even better.
"I've always had the same values. Family for me has always been important. When I shoot, everybody comes. When Kate's shooting, I'm there with her and the kids. We're always together," Tom said. "I'm always around my mother and sisters. I always wanted to be a father, a husband. And I've always had a work ethic."
And when it comes to Katie, Tom is happy to boast about his better half.
"She is an extraordinary person, and if you spent five minutes with her, you'd see it. Everything she does, she does with this beautiful creativity. She's funny and charming, and when she walks into the room, I just feel better. I'm a romantic. I like doing things like creating romantic dinners, and she enjoys that," Tom said.
"I don't know what to say -- I'm just happy, and I have been since the moment I met her. What we have is very special," he added.
For more with Tom, check out the June issue of Playboy, on newsstands May 18 or visit playboy.com/cruise.
Copyright 2012 by NBC Universal, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.