Star-crossed, experts say

The Baltimore Sun

Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes got married Saturday in Italy, with baby Suri in tow, and already relationship and celebrity observers say the union is doomed.

The ceremony in a 15th-century castle in Bracciano was a celebrity who's who affair with more than 150 relatives and friends, according to an Associated Press report.

Sadly, there are too many things stacked against them, these experts agree.

For your Monday-morning-quarterbacking convenience, we've narrowed the issues to 10:

1. Tom is much older than Katie.

Toni Coleman, a dating/relationship coach and founder of, sees conflict in the couple's 16-year age difference (he's 44, she turns 28 on Dec. 18).

"My gut has always said that she was a young, adoring fan who was smitten with him as a child," Coleman says. "He has been in the role of a kind of father/mentor to her since they began dating, and her identity and autonomy seem to have melded quite a bit into his. As she grows, evolves, matures, there is a strong risk she will begin to outgrow this relationship - and him."

2. Tom is on his third wife.

"He's walked down the aisle several times, and this is her first," says Diane Forden, editor in chief of Bridal Guide magazine. "It may not be her last."

People who are married more than once have increased rates of divorce, experts say.

"The fact that he's on wedding No. 3 proves that long-term relationships are Mission: Impossible for him," says Suzy Byrne, producer for's entertainment channel, on the Web site's blog The Daily Blabber.

3. Katie and Tom lived together, and had a baby before they got married.

"Research shows us that people who are living together first and then have a child, then choose to get married, have higher rates of divorce than couples that wait until they get married to have children," says Scott Haltzman, clinical assistant professor at Brown University, and author of The Secrets of Happily Married Men. "And wait until they're married to live together, for that matter."

4. Their careers compete.

He's a megastar with a lot to prove since being dumped by his last movie studio, Paramount Pictures, for "erratic behavior," then taking on the responsibility of running United Artists, with partner Paula Wagner. And Holmes is just beginning.

"Somebody's going to have to choose to give more to the relationship and the marriage and less to their career or it could be in danger," says Molly Barrow, author of Matchlines: A Revolutionary New Way of Looking at Relationships and Making the Right Choices in Love.

5. They have, or had, religious differences.

Holmes comes from a Roman Catholic background; Cruise is an ardent proponent of Scientology, which Holmes converted to last June.

"Studies also tell us that couples that start with different religious beliefs, particularly if one or both of the pair hold fervent or very strong beliefs," says Haltzman, "that they have more marital conflict and increased risk for divorce."

6. Tom seems to be controlling ... and a bit odd.

"The more Tom continues to levy control over Katie, the less happy she will be," says psychotherapist and relationship expert Gilda Carle. "If she continues following his rule, the marriage can last forever. If, however, she finally grows up and develops a mouthpiece and a backbone, he won't be happy, and the marriage will derail."

And, says Lisa Daily, author of Stop Getting Dumped: All you need to know to make men fall madly in love with you and marry "The One" in 3 years or less, "Cruise's weirdness/coolness scale has finally reached its tipping point. It's only going to get weirder from here."

7. He is bad for her career.

"Her brand is more about Cruise than her," says Karissa Thacker, a psychologist from Rehoboth Beach, Del. "This will likely be the source of their demise. Katie has to be intensely driven. You do not take Hollywood by storm from Toledo [Ohio] without a fair amount of naked ambition.

"Naked ambition may also play a part in her relationship with Cruise," Thacker says.

8. They got married on the wrong day.

"Nov. 18 is a lousy day for a wedding," says psychic celebrity astrologer Ray Sette. "From the period of Nov. 15 to 21, Mercury, the planet of contracts and communication, appears to virtually stand still in the sky. This apparent lack of motion will create much difficulty in the area of communication and the expression of each individual self in this marriage."

9. Rumor has it the relationship is just another "role" for both of them.

"How long will Tom and Katie live in wedded bliss?" iVillage's Byrne wonders. "It depends on when 'the contract' expires. He's a sharp businessman, so I'm sure it's a multiyear deal - provided she doesn't default on their agreement in which she must provide him with numerous ... children."

10. Celebrities don't have a great track record in the longevity department.

"I don't read the tabloids often, but I do know that Hollywood has been the breeding ground of the most enduring love stories of all time," Dan Bova, editor-in-chief of Stuff magazine, says sarcastically. "Reese and Ryan, Brad and Jennifer, Britney and Kevin - when beautiful people get together, ain't nothing in the world that can come between them."

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