April 18, 2006

Katie Holmes Gives Birth to Tom Cruise’s Baby

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.