Brooke Shields and Tom Cruise in War of the Words

Pop culture icons Tom Cruise and Brooke Shields are engaged in a rather bizarre public spat over the issue of anti-depressant medication.

Brooke & Tom’s War of the Words (AP)

Brooke Shields has officially engaged with Tom Cruise in what is fast becoming a celebrity war of the words. After Cruise criticized Shields’ use of antidepressants as “irresponsible” during an interview with Access Hollywood last week, Shields has suggested the leading man keep his opinions to himself. “Tom Cruise’s comments are irresponsible and dangerous,” Shields said in London last week. “Tom should stick to saving the world from aliens and let women who are experiencing postpartum depression decide what treatment options are best for them.”

Shields recently published Down Came the Rain, a personal chronicle of her struggle with depression following the 2003 birth of her daughter, Rowan. The memoir delves into the actress’ use of Paxil as a form of treatment for her condition and is meant to inspire other women to seek help. “Don’t be ashamed, and don’t disregard what you are feeling,” Shields writes in the book. “I recovered only because I got help.” The actress has said she is currently in the process of weaning herself from the drug in order to try for a second child with husband Chris Henchy.

However, as a dedicated follower of Scientology, Cruise is of the belief that mind-altering medications of any kind are “dangerous” and that women should treat conditions such as postpartum depression with “vitamins.” Hence his stamp of disapproval on Shields’ choice to use Paxil and to discuss that choice in her memoir. “When you talk about postpartum, you can take people today, women, and what you do is you use vitamins. There is a hormonal thing that is going on, scientifically, you can prove that. But when you talk about emotional, chemical imbalances in people, there is no science behind that,” the actor told Access Hollywood. “When someone says [medication] has helped them, it is to cope, it didn’t cure anything. There is no science. There is nothing that can cure them whatsoever,” Cruise said.

Cruise went on to make a not-so-subtle jab at the former Suddenly Susan star’s professional life. “I care about Brooke Shields because I think she is an incredibly talented women, [but] look at where her career has gone.”

Quite amusing all around. Of course, Cruise’s expertise here is rather limited. “Scientologist is to “scientist” as “astrologer” is to “astronomer.”

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Anderson says:

    Too bad vitamins don’t prevent one’s being an asshole.

  2. Dodd says:

    “Scientologist is to “scientist” as “astrologer” is to “astronomer.”

    Truth be told, I’d say the relationship between the first two items is even more distant than the one between the second two. At least the latter two purport to be discussing more or less the same general subject.

    Unless you meant that both pairs share a number of letters and little else, in which case you’re quite right.

  3. Sherri says:

    When I first read about Cruise’s belief in Scientology, I shook my head. But that was when he was fairly quiet about his ‘belief system’.

    But he’s been throwing it around a lot more recently, as well as acting like a bufoon: Attacking a woman publicizing severe post-partum depression, forbidding his almost-child GF from a movie because it went against his ‘belief system’, and his recent ‘male-menopause’ behavior…ewww!

    Unless he quits raving like a lunatic, I won’t be able to stomach any more of his movies.

  4. Maniakes says:
  5. Paul says:

    I used to have a lot of respect for Tom Cruise as a succesful and talented actor who managed to live a clean life off-screen, but these latest comments make him look foolish. Being a movie star doesn’t make somebody a medical expert. What’s next? Brad Pitt analyzing Alan Greenspan’s latest decision on interest rates?

  6. Mary says:

    This is unbelievable… What buisness is it of his anyway.. He needs to think about his own life. Brooke Shields is a wonderful actress. Tom, don’t get start bashing her career. All men who agree with Tom need to sew thier mouths closed.

  7. beth says:

    i WAS a tom cruise fan, but since he wants to speak out on things that he knows nothing about, i suggest we ask his advice on having a successful marriage, or how to act when being interviewed by oprah. obviously two other subjects he knows nothing about! while on the subject of mind altering drugs, i believe that the use of such drugs are recommended to be able to understand some of his movies.. vanilla skies and minority report to mention just a few… and when he is condemning woman for seeking help .. i think he has put himself in the midst of some … risky business… sorry for the pun.. it just slipped out… the paxil made me do it..or was it the lack of vitamins?? darn i wonder if by condemning women with post partum depression he thinks he can divert our attention to the fact that he has been unable to give a woman such a condition… got a male ego problem going on there tommy? i seem to recall there being several questions as to his male abilities… maybe they make a vitamin for that?? one can only hope that when he comes up for one of those sexy man contests again.. that they can get a photo of him with his foot out of his mouth. i can suggest a place where someone needs to put a foot, and considering his small stature it is only a foot or so away.

  8. stacy says:

    I can’t believe a person can have the adasity to To say anything about something you have never and will never expierence. Tom Cruise has one over the edge and is digging a whole he will not be able to get out. Vitaimns? What a joke, i don’t think vitiamns help mothers not kill or hurt themselves and thier babies. I have lost all respect for this man, and Brook Shield rocks for haveing the courage to say something . Thank you for speaking up, cause now women don’t have to be afraid for the way they are feeling.

  9. jay says:

    Well, he’s in the spot light and had something on his mind and he said it. Better than not saying anything and later wishing that he did.We are all excepting too too lightly the fact that we are all relying on amased drug use for almost every conceivable condition. My view, He spoke out againist drug use …lets face it. There are other alternatives and by the way, I don’t see too many others speaking out againist drug use.

  10. Me2wonder says:

    I believe Tom needs some deep therapeutic intervention re: his resentment and complete lack of respect of women (for whatever reasons). His careless words and bizarre behaviour seems part of the “entitlement” mentality he, like so many others in Hollywood, carry. Does anyone actually give a shit what he says? He’s a plastic blow up, for gawds sakes. Same voice, same head, same face, same big ass, in every movie. Let’s face it, the truth was out about his petulance over Nicole having NEEDS he couldn’t satisfy.(perhaps he couldn’t reach) Oh Nicole try for full custody for your daughters sake. And give the boy your deprogrammer ring.

  11. Kristen says:

    I survived post partum depression without drugs– but ONLY because it was not severe, and I did not wish to expose my baby to even the “safest” drugs via breastmilk, nor did I wish to cease breastfeeding. Like Brooke, it was the one thing I felt I COULD do capably with and for my child, during that difficult time, so I chose to continue. I have read Brooke’s book, and many others, and spoken to doctors and a therapist, and done reading on line. I feel I am well acquained with the condition after all I have been through. I believe a mild anti depressant would have helped me tremendously had I not been breastfeeding or had I not minded taking them while nursing.

    I know too many women personally who have experienced this. Cruise’s comments are not accurate. There IS something going on inside your brain, hormonally, which prevents a person from coping, but the belief that vitamins will alleviate the personal torture someone goes through in a timely enough manner to avoid more serious consequences is just that, a belief. I have read many differing opinions on WHAT vitamins one would even take, much conflicting, so where would a poor woman even begin??

    When you are living the hell that is depression, especially if it is serious, you need to get out of it– immediately. Your life and your baby’s could be jeopardized. Not to mention the strain on your loved ones. I coped without medication, but if presented with the same situation again, I would weigh my options differently.

  12. Lydia Judd says:

    Tom Cruise should concentrate on his craft, acting. To share his thoughts about postpartum depression which he will NEVER experience, makes him sound uneducated and insensitive.

    Those who think Vitamins are the answer to everything should do more research and consult with a medical doctor….not a dedicated follower of Scientology…give me a break. American people have to be smarter than that! Tom is just an actor…no more and no less. And Tom, if you are reading this, you ought to be careful about what you say to the media because there are uneducated, unawared, desperate people in great danger,willing to do whatever you say, resulting great harm to themselves and their baby. It would NOT be surprising to read in the headlines, MOTHER AND BABY DIES BECAUSE OF TOM CRUISE’S Vitamin ADVICE.

    For those in the audience during the taping of Tom on the Oprah Show, it amazes me that nobody questioned Tom on his break-up with his ex-wife. The audience was star-stucked…they lost their soul to him. The fact is Tom walked out on his wife and children. She didn’t look like someone he respected. He moved on.

    Yes, Tom should concentrate on saving our planet from little green ALIENS from out of space. He doesn’t need to judge anyone’s work or decision…just work hard in taking care of his own life…and make movies….

    As for Brook, you are brave and strong and thank goodness there are people like you around, willing to reach out and be honest. As for Tom’s remark about your work, I don’t see how he can judge…he isn’t such a great actor. He’s an ACTOR and that’s it. A short actor.


  13. SANDY says:





  14. Shauna says:

    Wow, I can’t believe what I’m hearing. Tom, I know it is in your best interest to help a friend, but giving advice on something you probably have no clue about it just stupid. Let me tell you, I gave birth to my daughter, Alex, in March of 2004, and went through a horrible PPD. I can compare it with Brooke’s. I know exactly what she went through! And I can tell you from personal experience, vitamins do not help you the way you need to be helped. Trust me, I never wanted to be put on “a drug” to make me happy. Thats sad if you ask me. I tried everything. When you have PPD, the only thing that can help you is medication, a positive attitude, and for people to keep their mouths shut about how you go about recovering from it. Tisk tisk, Tom.

  15. grant P says:

    If brooke shields could count all the way to five
    The first and the fifth are the two most important/

  16. I grew up with a doctor for a father and a nurse for a mother. My sister and her husband are both doctors. We live in an age where medication is often the first prescription when a lot of people do not need it but because they can not seem to take care of themselves via exercise or common sense when it comes to eating. One thing I do know is that Tom is a man. To speak for a woman is just inane. I do not believe he is a physician. A belief in something does not mean it is absolute. I do not see Christians sacrificing their first born or people who have committed adultery being stoned on Fifth Avenue. I do believe Brooke Shields is quite educated. I also believe she is a woman. I do not think it is my place to speak about the biology of a female when I am a male or vice versa unless they are an M.D. and are giving me a diagnosis in a field that they specialize in. Actors are not physicians and might want to stick to scripted lines and keep the rest off the record. The last comment about her career is just mean spirited and really reflects a level of self absorption that makes me not want to see War of the Worlds, which I really did want to see, but I think I will spend my ten dollars somewhere else.