April 19, 2006

Baby girl for Holmes and Cruise

By Steve Gorman

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Ten months after her whirlwind
engagement to movie star Tom Cruise, actress Katie Holmes gave
birth on Tuesday to the couple's first child, a girl they named
Suri, their spokesman said.

Mother and daughter, who weighed in at 7 pounds, 7 ounces
(3.4 kg) and measured 20 inches at birth, were both "doing
well," Cruise's publicist, Paul Bloch, said in a statement.

The name Suri has its origins in Hebrew, meaning
"princess," or Persian, meaning "red rose," the statement said.

The birth of Cruise's first biological child came in the
midst of a promotional campaign for his upcoming film "Mission:
Impossible III," which is due in theaters next month.

The 43-year-old three-time Oscar nominee has two older
children that he adopted during his marriage to actress Nicole
Kidman -- 13-year-old Isabella and 11-year-old Connor.

No further details were revealed about the circumstances of
the baby's arrival, such as the family's whereabouts or whether
the couple adhered to the Church of Scientology's practice of
"silent birth" emphasizing a calm, quiet atmosphere in the
delivery room.

Cruise said in a television interview last week that his
bride-to-be, who was raised as a Roman Catholic, had joined him
as a follower of Scientology. But he insisted that Holmes, 27,
was free to take painkillers and "make as much noise" as
necessary during the birth.

News of the birth followed a whirlwind Hollywood romance
that ranked as one of the most high-profile celebrity
courtships in recent memory, one that morphed into the tabloid
sensation known as "TomKat."

The couple began dating last April. But in the minds of the
public, the early days of their romance date to Cruise's manic,
couch-hopping profession of love for Holmes on "The Oprah
Winfrey Show" in May.

Footage of the twice-divorced Cruise jumping on Winfrey's
guest sofa, dropping to one knee to pump his fist and ushering
Holmes on stage to declare, "I love this woman!" was replayed
repeatedly on television. Bootleg copies sold on eBay for $20.

The "Oprah" appearance triggered suspicions of a publicity
stunt to promote the couple's new films -- his "War of the
Worlds," and her "Batman Begins." It also made Cruise the butt
of countless jokes.

One Web site began hawking "Free Katie" T-shirts, stickers
and coffee mugs, a veiled reference to widely circulating jokes
that Holmes was being unwittingly indoctrinated by Cruise into
the Church of Scientology.

Weeks later, the two announced their engagement at a Paris
news conference, saying Cruise had popped the question at the
Eiffel Tower. They have not set a wedding date, but Cruise said
in a recent interview with GQ magazine that they were looking
to tie the knot sometime in late summer or early fall.