“I feel the need, the need for speed.” Coming from humble beginnings as the son of an electrician and special education teacher, life hasn’t always been filled with Golden Globes, Academy Awards, celebrities and blockbusters for Tom Cruise. Spending the majority of his childhood moving around the country and scarred by his father’s abuse at home, Cruise channeled his energy toward school where he started acting in plays. By the time his mother finally got the courage to leave his father, Cruise considered becoming a Catholic priest and briefly attended seminary only to rediscover his love of the stage.
Catching his first major break in 1983 when he starred in the romantic comedy Risky Business, Cruise instantly won over audiences with his boyish charm and mischievous smile. From there, the New York native quickly became a household name as he landed starring roles in blockbusters like Rain Man, A Few Good Men, Jerry Maguire and his most famous film, Top Gun. Now recognized for his work in the Mission: Impossible series and a far cry from the shy middle school student, Cruise is one of the highest paid actors in Hollywood with a net worth of over $470 million, much of which he’s used to create the home he says he never had.
A year after tying the knot with actress Katie Holmes, Cruise extended the couple’s fairytale and star status by purchasing a $30.5 million gated estate in Beverly Hills in 2007 next door to high profile celebs like Victoria and David Beckham, Jennifer Lopez, Orlando Bloom, Jennifer Aniston and Courtney Cox, to name a few. With little trouble fitting in among Hollywood’s finest, Cruise and Holmes shared the 10,000 square foot home for six years before Holmes filed for divorce in 2012. With his wife and daughter gone, Cruise had little use for the spacious 35-room estate and eventually decided to sell in 2015.
Initially asking $50 million for the gated estate featuring a lap-length swimming pool, a tennis court, two guest houses, a motor court and a children’s playground, Cruise dropped the price to $40 million and accepted an offer from billionaire Leon Black, the founder of Apollo Global Management Group, in June 2016. While many argue that Cruise wanted to get rid of the estate because of the memories tied to Holmes, Cruise claims he has bigger plans to leave sunny California and settle in Clearwater, Florida where the Scientology headquarters are located. And, with his recent real estate wheeling and dealing, we have good reason to believe that’s exactly where he’s headed!
Obviously making early plans to downsize and start fresh after his divorce, Cruise began by selling his 2,200 square-foot apartment in New York City’s East Village in 2013 for $3 million. Shortly after, he listed his 298-acre ranch outside of Telluride, Colorado for $59 million, which is still on the market today. In September 2015, the Vanilla Sky star put up yet another “Sold” sign when he sold his second home in the Hollywood Hills for $11.4 million to Desperate Housewives star Eva Longoria. But, he hasn’t stopped there!
With many people wondering where exactly Cruise plans to live in the meantime, the War of the Worlds actor ultimately answered that question himself when he listed his English manor known as Rede Place for $7 million in April 2016 and accepted an invitation to live in Scientology’s UK headquarters and founder L. Ron Hubbard’s former home in East Ginstead, Sussex. Sources told Daily Mail, “Tom is relocating to England and uses the Scientology manor as his base. It’s the highest recognition to live where L. Ron Hubbard did…[and] giving Tom this access with keep his faith in the Church for decades to come.”
Obviously intent on living and spreading the word of Scientology, Cruise has settled into the sprawling 100-acre Saint Hill Manor that is certainly fit for a king—even Hollywood royalty—with its own briefing and course rooms, security, chapel and executive offices. While the 54-year-old still plans on moving to Florida in the near future, he’s currently focused on transforming Scientology into a “European superpower” by first remodeling the estate and establishing it is as a major landmark. Cruise is using a majority of his fortune to do just that and hopes the castle will one day overshadow Buckingham Palace, which has left even his most loyal fans questioning his sanity at times. Looks like this former Maverick has replaced his iconic need for speed with something far beyond the bright lights of Hollywood.