Why Tom Cruise unleashed at Channel Nine presenter Peter Overton: ‘What an infuriating person’
DM – The wild moment Tom Cruise tells Peter Overton to ‘put his manners back in’ over a question about his ex-wife Nicole Kidman has resurfaced as the Hollywood star turns to Australia to promote his new movie.
Cruise, now 60, accused Overton of ‘crossing over a line’ when he asked the actor about his relationship with Kidman four years after their divorce.
Cruise and Kidman separated in 2001 after 12 years of marriage amid rumors his commitment to Scientology had driven a wedge between them.
The couple adopted two children, daughter Isabella Jane in 1992 and son Connor Antony in 1995, but never had any biological children.
In the 2005 interview for 60 Minutes, Overton asks if Nicole was the love of his life.
‘I love Nic very much, there’s no question,’ Cruise replied.
‘And do you have a relationship where you talk, it’s a parenting relationship, and talk professionally about each other’s work?’ Overton pressed.
‘Listen, here’s the thing Peter,’ an unimpressed Cruise cuts in.
‘You’re stepping over a line now, you know you are.’
Overton tries to tell the actor that his questions are ‘what people want to know’.
‘Peter. You want to know. Take responsibility for what you want to know,’ Cruise says.
‘Don’t say “what other people”. This is a conversation I’m having with you right now. So I’m just telling you right now. Just put your manners back in.’
‘Do you think I was out of line?’ a slightly bemused Overton replies.
‘Yes, absolutely,’ Cruise hits back.
Overton ‘apologises sincerely’ for the question and the interview continues.
Communication Professor Alexander Lyon said the tone of the interview changed after Overton asked Cruise if Nicole had been the love of his life.
‘He clearly didn’t want to spend the interview talking about his ex-wife,’ he said.
Professor Lyon said Cruise had displayed two assertive behaviours to signal to Overton that he had crossed a line.
First, the actor took a deep breath, pauses, and looks off to the side.
‘The signal of discomfort has to show Peter that he’s bumped up against something that Tom doesn’t want to talk about,’ he explained.
‘Next, instead of answering the question, Tom asks two questions of his own.’
He then shows a clip of Cruise asking the interviewer: ‘What do you mean Peter? I mean, how do you even answer that question?’
The communications coach said these questions were a great way to communicate boundaries, by holding the other person to account.
‘I have to agree with Tom’s approach here. Peter is pushing into some pretty personal territory and Tom is there to promote a movie.
‘He has no obligation to talk about how much he loved his ex-wife or not.’
Overton, one of Australia’s most well-known presenters, has reflected on the 2005 interview, saying he’ll ‘never forget it’.
‘That was a hell of an interview, I’ll never forget it,’ Overton told Nine last year.
‘I held my own and I was happy about that. I didn’t change, that’s who I am. I thought they were fair questions.’
Many Tom Cruise fans were not impressed with Overton’s line of questioning/
‘He was definitely stepping over the line,’ one said.
‘I thought Tom Cruise handled the whole thing pretty well. He came across as a fair-minded and well grounded and reasonable guy, but also one who won’t put up with garbage,’ a second said.
‘The interviewer was trying to antagonise Tom to get a response out of him. What an infuriating person,’ a third said.
‘Tom did a good job in refraining himself from smacking his mouth,’ a fourth said.
Cruise was pictured in Sydney over the weekend promoting his new film Mission Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One.
In the movie, the actor performs one of his most dangerous stunts yet – driving a motorcycle off a cliff and then parachuting to the bottom of a mountain.