Tom Cruise has confirmed that Katie Holmes left him partly because she wanted to protect their daughter from Scientology, as he admitted he did not see Suri for 110 days after their divorce.
The Hollywood actor (51) gave a lengthy, video-taped deposition as part of a $50m (€37.5m) legal case, in which he is suing two American magazines for defamation over claims he "abandoned his seven-year-old daughter Suri". He vehemently denies the allegations
At the time of their divorce in June last year, rumours suggested his close involvement with the Church of Scientology was a factor in the break-up.
Cruise has admitted that Holmes cited the religion as one of her reasons for wanting to end the marriage. Asked by a lawyer for the magazines' publisher, Bauer, if Holmes left him partly to "protect" Suri from Scientology, Cruise said he found the question "offensive".
But he added: "Did she say that? That was one of the assertions yes. There is no need to protect my daughter from my religion."
He said Suri no longer practised Scientology and that Holmes quit the religion when they divorced. He insisted the line of questioning by the lawyer showed "a lack of understanding and respect towards my religion".
Cruise called the allegations made in 'Life & Style' and 'In Touch' magazines "patently false". He said he had in "no way cut Suri out of my life – whether physically, emotionally, financially or otherwise".
The actor said in the deposition that he did not see his daughter for 110 days after his divorce from Holmes. Cruise said it had been "impossible" to do so more often and described how he had become "very good" at maintaining contact by phone.
Asked about whether he made time to fly to see Suri, Cruise said: "Listen, when there is a divorce – if you look at this also in terms of Suri coming to me and certain agreements that you have – when a divorce occurs, things change."
Cruise said he had not travelled to New York City for Suri's first day of school in September last year, due to work and concerns about media attention. He added: "If she had asked me to be there, I would have been there."
Cruise said there had been other times when he and his former wife could not work out schedules for a visit.
He said: "There (are) different agreements, like in any divorce, where you work out schedules. It's just a different set of circumstances.It certainly does not mean that I've abandoned my daughter."
The defamation case is due to begin at a court in New York City next year. (© Daily Telegraph, London)