Tom Cruise (born Thomas Cruise Mapother IV) is an award-winning American actor and producer known for his roles in countless blockbuster films. After almost four decades in show business, the 58-year-old A-lister is one of the highest-grossing box office stars of all time. Find out the net worth of one of Hollywood’s biggest stars, as well as how he earned (and spends) his fortune.
How Tom Cruise Became Famous
Cruise got his start at 18, moving to New York City and bussing tables while he auditioned for roles in his free time. In 1981, after only five months, he nabbed his first acting gig in Endless Love, a coming-of-age drama starring Brooke Shields. He followed up with a couple of parts in classic 80’s films (Taps, The Outsiders), but his breakout role was playing Joel Goodson in the 1983 hit, Risky Business. The comedy grossed more than $63 million and earned him his first Golden Globe nomination.
Cruise topped himself in 1986 when he appeared as Lieutenant Pete “Maverick” Mitchell in Jerry Bruckheimer’s Top Gun. The film was a commercial success, grossing $356 million and later earning preservation status in the National Film Registry for being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.”
Three years later, he starred alongside Dustin Hoffman in Rain Man, which won four Academy Awards. In 1989, for his role as Ron Kovic in Born on the Fourth of July, Cruise won the Golden Globe Award for Best Actor in a Motion Picture – Drama, as well as an Oscar nomination.
Cruise spent the 1990s riding his status as a bonafide star. He played the lead in major hits including A Few Good Men (1992), The Firm (1993), and Interview with the Vampire (1994). For his 1996 role as a struggling sports agent in Jerry Maguire, he won another Golden Globe and a second Academy Award nomination.
In 1999, Cruise saw similar accolades—a Golden Globe and Academy Award nomination—for his role in Paul Thomas Anderson’s Magnolia. He spent much of the 2000s taking parts in various science fiction and action films, including Vanilla Sky (2001), Minority Report (2002), The Last Samurai (2003), Collateral (2004), War of the Worlds (2005), Knight and Day (2010), Jack Reacher (2012), Oblivion (2013), Edge of Tomorrow (2014) and The Mummy (2017)
But it was his role as Ethan Hunt in the Mission: Impossible franchise that launched him into another level of stardom. To date, the series has earned over $3.5 billion at the box office and ranks as the 16th highest-grossing film series of all time.
Cruise/Wagner Productions And United Artists
In 1993, Cruise partnered with casting agent Paula Wagner to establish Cruise/Wagner Productions. The independent production company, which was reportedly designed to give Cruise more creative control over his projects, produced a slew of films that grossed more than $2.9 billion at the box office. Projects by Cruise/Wagner include the first three Mission: Impossible films, Vanilla Sky, and The Last Samurai.
The company initially had an exclusive agreement with Paramount Pictures. However, in 2006, the deal was ended by Viacom (parent company of Paramount) chairman Sumner Redstone, who was critical of Cruise’s public remarks regarding mental health and religion.
Three months later, in November 2006, Cruise/Wagner announced a partnership with MGM to revive the struggling but storied studio United Artists. With a 30 percent stake in the studio, Cruise and Wagner were to help oversee the release of four films per year. However, less than two years later, Wagner exited the partnership, citing a return to independent film production. She and Cruise maintained their ownership stake until 2011, when it was revealed that MGM re-acquired 100 percent ownership.
Is Tom Cruise A Billionaire?
There are conflicting reports about Tom Cruise’s net worth. A 2017 report by Forbes listed Cruise as the 52nd highest-paid celebrity in the world with a net worth of $43 million. However, Celebrity Net Worth estimates that he is worth $600 million with a salary of $50 million per year.
We are inclined to believe that the true number is somewhere in between.
That’s not to say Cruise isn’t a record-breaking earner. He’s come a long way from his first $75,000 salary for Risky Business. On a list of the 20 largest acting paychecks in Hollywood history, Cruise takes multiple spots: $100 million for 2005’s War of the Worlds and a whopping $290 million for Mission: Impossible I, II, III, and IV. For the latter, Cruise didn’t only see a check for his starring role—his production company also optioned the film rights and produced the films.
Celebrity Net Worth adds that Cruise earned $445 million in movie salaries between 1983 and 2011, and at least another $300 million through 2019.
But at the time of his marriage to Katie Holmes in 2006, his net worth was estimated to be $250 million. Holmes did not receive spousal support in exchange for full custody of their daughter, Suri. However, Cruise was required to pay $400,000 a year in child support through 2024, for a total of $4.8 million. He is also on the hook for Suri’s medical expenses, education, insurance, and any extracurricular activities.
Cruise’s release from Paramount and subsequent break-up with United Artists mean that Celebrity Net Worth’s $600 million figure may be over-inflated. The actor has also been less prolific these days. For instance, between 2018 and 2021, he starred in three films—compare this to 2001-2003, when he was credited with acting and narrating roles in 9 productions.
How Tom Cruise Spends His Money
Cruise has spent a good chunk of change on real estate. In 2007, during his marriage to Katie Holmes, he spent $30.5 million on their Beverly Hills home; he sold it nine years later to billionaire financier Leon Black for $40 million. In 2013 he sold a New York City condo for $3 million, and in 2015 he sold a multi-residence property in the Hollywood Hills for $11.4 million.
One property he can’t seem to shake from his portfolio is a 10,000 square-foot mansion set on 300 acres in Telluride, Colorado. He listed it in 2016 for $59 million but no one bit; an attempt to relist it in 2018 also went unanswered. That same year, he purchased a condo complex in Clearwater, Florida—near the Church of Scientology’s world headquarters—for $11.8 million.
Cruise isn’t shy about spending his money to maintain a life of luxury. Preferring to travel by private jet, he owns a Gulfstream G450 worth $38 million. And at the time that he shared custody of daughter Suri with Katie Holmes, he paid a security guard $50,000 per week to protect her from paparazzi.
More recently, to prevent delays in filming Mission: Impossible 7 during the coronavirus pandemic, the production company Truenorth chartered two Hurtigruten cruise ships—a brand new 530-passenger MS Fridtjof Nansen and the 490-passenger MS Versteralen—to keep the cast and crew in a quarantine bubble. Cruise is reportedly paying $700,000 from his own pocket to cover a portion of the bill.
Finally, we can’t overlook Cruise’s devotion to the Church of Scientology. It’s impossible to know how much he has donated to the organization, given the church’s reputation for being shrouded in secrecy. Some sources estimate that he’s given as little as $2.5 million, while a 2019 exclusive report in The Sun estimates that he’s forked over much as $50 million. We wouldn’t be surprised if the figure is on the higher end, considering his obvious commitment to the group.