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Cruise, Holmes reach settlement in divorce case

US actress Katie Holmes (L) leaves her lawyer's office in New York City July 7, 2012. Katie Holmes has filed for divorce from her Hollywood A-list husband Tom Cruise, who has reportedly denied Scientologuy sparked the split. (AFP PHOTO / MEHDI TAAMALLAH)

NEW YORK: Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes reached a settlement in their divorce, her attorney said Monday.

"The case has been settled and the agreement has been signed," Holmes attorney Jonathan Wolfe said in a statement. An assistant in Wolfe's office who would not give her name would not elaborate on the agreement.

"We are thrilled for Katie and her family and are excited to watch as she embarks on the next chapter of her life," the statement said. "We thank Tom's counsel for their professionalism and diligence that helped bring about this speedy resolution."

Holmes filed for divorce less than two weeks ago, putting an end to the romance that began in 2005. The couple has a 6-year-old daughter, Suri.

Earlier Monday, the couple asked for privacy.

"We are committed to working together as parents to accomplish what is in our daughter Suri's best interests. We want to keep matters affecting our family private and express our respect for each other's commitment to each of our respective beliefs and support each other's roles as parents," read the statement from Holmes and Cruise's reps, Nanci Ryder and Amanda Lundberg.

The Hollywood split has played out in the celebrity news media, where Holmes has been portrayed with overwhelmingly more sympathy. Whether true or not, the narrative that's emerged is of a locked-away Holmes breaking free from the servitude of a strange, corrupting marriage.

Us Weekly has reported that the couple "fought viciously" over Scientology parenting. The Daily News has trumpeted Holmes entering "a new phase." A TMZ headline blared "Tom treated me like a robot."

That may also be the most convenient view of a relationship that even at its start spawned "Free Katie!" T-shirts.

Cruise's camp vigorously denied such a reading. Cruise's lawyer Bert Fields has said they were letting "the other side play the media until they wear everyone out." The Church of Scientology, too, didn't want to be portrayed as the schism between the couple.

The quick settlement and joint statement may put out some of that fire.

"It's not entirely certain that it's all about Rapunzel fleeing the castle, which is the motif that people love to use," said Larry Hackett, managing editor of People magazine, which broke the news of the divorce. He called this the biggest celebrity story in two or three years, excepting the sudden death of Whitney Houston.

"The danger in this kind of story is the same danger there was back when this whole thing first started," Hackett says. "It's the speculation about the church and all that kind of stuff, and there's a lot of information certainly seems plausible. But like any other story, you've got to run it down and see if it's there."

In the week and a half since filing for divorce, Holmes also captured the spotlight with a handful of public appearances. She stopped by to tape a guest judge appearance on Lifetime's "Project Runway," was snapped taking their 6-year-old daughter, Suri, for ice cream, and was seen taking a trip to the Children's Museum of the Arts.

The appearances have only fed the view that Holmes is now living easier and freer - and conversely, that she's orchestrating a public relations campaign.

On the other hand, Holmes may have simply been trying to regain a measure of privacy, said celebrity publicist Howard Bragman, vice chairman of reputation.com.

"I think she's being smart. If you engage in a bunker mentality, you build up demand" for photographs, Bragman said. "My clients who are under siege by paparazzi, I say go on and live your life. It lets some of the air out of the balloon, if you will."

 

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