Tom Cruise Oprah Winfrey

It was one of the most-watched moments in the Internet’s relatively brief history. When Tom Cruise jumped on Oprah’s couch and declared his love for Katie Holmes, it was the daytime TV moment for a DVR, GIF-ready age.

But, as Amy Nicholson reports for L.A. Weekly, the moment we all thought we saw never happened. He never jumped up and down on the couch; he simply stood. The nitty-gritty of the infamous May 2005 Oprah appearance is but one revelation in her fascinating piece, How YouTube and Internet Journalism Destroyed Tom Cruise, Our Last Real Movie Star.

In the article, Nicholson explores how Tom Cruise went from the biggest movie star in the world to an Internet joke (who still manages to open films), with fascinating insight that attempts to explain the context behind the Oprah appearance (for example, that Cruise was playing to an audience that was quite different than bloggers), as well as larger points about that time period — it’s hard to believe all that media craziness was nine years ago.

As Nicholson points out, the Oprah Couch Incident happened at a time with a lot of rapid changes in entertainment culture — the launch of, the growth of TMZ, the inundation of camera phones making everyone paparazzi, etc. The piece is interesting from a How We Got Here angle, as well as its ability to shed some light on what publicity meant in the ’90s versus now — Nicholson also gets great scoop about how that infamous Matt Lauer/Tom Cruise interview came to be (never underestimate a good publicist).

For old times’ sake, watch the Cruise clip below, and then go read Nicholson’s full article: