Representatives for Tom Cruise have confirmed that the star is mourning the loss of his mother, Mary Lee South, who passed away last week at the age of 80. As the Huffington Post shares, she died peacefully in her sleep after battling a multitude of health issues over the past few years.
South once had dreams of being an actor herself, but those dreams went by the wayside once she started a family. Perhaps inspired by her own dreams, she recognized that her son was quite talented at an early age, and she encouraged him to pursue acting.
“I guess I was his greatest audience. He had it in him then. But as he got older, he was more into sports, and it stopped completely,” she shared in a 1986 interview.
Fast forward a few years, and South would divorce Cruise’s biological father, Thomas Cruise Mapother III. Cruise has previously noted the impact his parents split had on him, remarking that it was similar to mourning the loss of a loved one. South would eventually remarry, and Cruise would go on to star in a high school production of “Guys & Dolls.” His performance was well-received, and he became convinced that he was destined to become a star.
Cruise’s intuition proved to be correct, and he has often credited his mother for encouraging him to pursue his dreams. She accompanied him to awards shows and movie premieres on multiple occasions, and remained one of the star’s biggest advocates and fans throughout her life.
“You know, women have dreams of having careers and being whatever. I had a dream of raising children and enjoying them and having a good family life,” she previously said.
Cruise and his siblings, Cass Mapother, Lee Ann DeVette, and Marian Henry, are said to have gathered at their mother’s local Church of Scientology for a memorial service that was attended by family and friends.
Source: The Huffington Post