EW looks back on Tom Cruise's ''Oprah'' appearance -- The one giant leap that turned into yearlong oddity

Tom Cruise has always done everything with intensity. His blinding grin, his thunderclap high fives, his dependably awesome box office returns…it’s all made him seem superhuman. But this spring, many began to question whether this Hollywood god had turned into a guy with a God complex.

It started with his Oprah Winfrey Show appearance on May 23. By that time, America well knew that Katie Holmes, costar of the upcoming Batman Begins, was his new girlfriend, since Cruise had missed no opportunity to talk about how wonderful she was during his War of the Worlds publicity sweep. But with Winfrey, he illustrated the depth of his love by pumping his fist and leaping on her couch as if in an end-zone touchdown celebration. It was a miracle he didn’t spike Oprah.

After that spectacle, there was no turning back for many media types. Bloggers dissected his furniture frolics and late-night hosts mocked him. The relationship was scrutinized: Why wouldn’t TomKat elaborate on how they met? Was it convenient timing that both had blockbusters opening? Why was Katie’s vocabulary suddenly reduced to the words Tom and amazing?

Cruise had parted ways with his longtime publicist Pat Kingsley in 2004 and replaced her with his sister. Kingsley’s absence was noticeable, to say the least. Cruise made his Scientology beliefs the focus of interviews, tearing into the dangers of psychiatry and antidepressants. He called Brooke Shields ”irresponsible” for championing postpartum-depression drugs, dismissed Today‘s Matt Lauer as ”glib” while discussing kids and Ritalin, and cited a child he’d personally helped kick an ADHD drug habit. Once, Cruise was untouchable; now his fierce outspokenness was mocked around the world: At the June premiere of War in London, a fake British journalist squirted him with water.

In comparison, things quieted down thereafter. TomKat announced their engagement, and by October, Holmes was pregnant. Once again, no details, just more happiness (and the curious purchase of a sonogram machine). Even better news: In early November, Cruise hired powerhouse PR firm Rogers & Cowan. We never thought we’d celebrate the hiring of publicists in these pages, but for the sake of Baby TomKat’s future…we’re pleased.