Claim: Tom Cruise said that "being an actor is like serving in Afghanistan."
Example: [Collected via e-mail, November 2013]
Origins: In October 2012, actor Tom Cruise filed a
On 8 November 2013, the TMZ celebrity gossip site ran a story which characterized Cruise as describing his work as an actor as being "as hard as fighting in Afghanistan." This bit of TMZ gossip was quickly picked up and widely disseminated, usually accompanied by declarations mocking Cruise for having the hubris to compare acting in films with the real-life sacrifices and hardship of actually serving in a combat zone.
However, TMZ's story was based upon only a brief quotation from Cruise's deposition; the context in which Cruise made the statement was not provided, nor was a full transcript of the deposition provided to readers:
First, the Middle East — Tom says his location shoots are just like serving a tour in Afghanistan, "That's what it feels like. And certainly on this last movie, it was brutal. It was brutal."
All one can tell from this excerpt is that Cruise described a previous film shoot as "brutal" and in some way supposedly likened it to serving a tour of duty in Afghanistan. But it's difficult to tell just what he meant by that comparison from this brief snippet provided by TMZ, as it doesn't even quote the portion of Cruise's statement in which he referenced Afghanistan, nor does it link to a full transcript of the deposition in which Cruise's comment can be read in context.
Other reporting of this story provided the fuller context that the original reference to Afghanistan was one made by Cruise's attorney, not Cruise himself, and that it was intended as a comparison of location film shoots and military tours of duty as aspects of occupations requiring participants to be separated from their families for extended periods of time:
"I didn't hear the Afghanistan [comment], but that's what it feels like, and certainly on this last movie, it was brutal. It was brutal," Cruise [said].
TMZ subsequently modified their article to include the following statement from Tom Cruise's attorney, which branded TMZ's characterization of Cruise's words as a "distortion":
Last updated: 26 March 2015
D'Zurilla, Christie. "Tom Cruise Deposition Gives Peek Behind the Scenes of His Divorce." Los Angeles Times 8 November 2013. Heger, Jen. "Cruise Forced to Defend His 'Responsibility' as a Dad in Videotaped Deposition." Radar 7 November 2013. The Hollywood Reporter. "Tom Cruise's Defamation Lawsuit: 8 Bombshells from His Deposition." 8 November 2013. TMZ. "TOM CRUISE: My Job's As Hard As FIGHTING IN AFGHANISTAN." 8 November 2013.