Cruise says the couple's separation date was Dec. 21, 2000 -- just shy of their 10th anniversary
Tom Cruise, Nicole Kidman
Credit: Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman: Armando Gallo/Retna

Even Nicole Kidman’s mom was reportedly shocked when her daughter, 33, and Tom Cruise, 38, issued a brief statement on February 5 saying that ”difficulties inherent in divergent careers” had forced them to end their decade long marriage. But just two days later, Cruise silenced any speculation about whether the union was salvageable: He filed official divorce papers, citing ”irreconcilable differences” and asking for joint custody of their two adopted children Isabella, 8, and Connor, 6.

Tabloid theories soon followed about why the couple — who had worked together on three films and rarely spent more than two weeks apart — had really decided to split. Many speculated that religious differences were the source of discontent. Cruise is a devout Scientologist; Kidman, who was raised Catholic, had expressed her ambivalence toward L. Ron Hubbard’s church earlier this year. However, Pat Kingsley, the pair’s rep, denied any connection. ”Scientology had NOTHING to do with this,” she said.

In the divorce papers, Cruise says that the marriage ended on Dec. 21, 2000 — just a few days before what would have been the couple’s 10th anniversary. But People magazine reported that the ill fated pair was seen enjoying a late night turn on a roller coaster atop Las Vegas’ Stratosphere Casino Hotel on Dec. 28. (”They rode it three times,” the ride supervisor told the mag. ”They had a blast!”) Under California law, a marriage is classified as ”long term” — and therefore subject to the court’s rulings on such issues as financial support ? only after 10 years or more.

Undoubtedly, more facts will emerge in the coming weeks, but until then you can read the official divorce papers.