From the importance of having a good support system to learning to “relinquish control,” here’s everything Katie Holmes has said about parenting daughter Suri, whom she welcomed with ex-husband Tom Cruise in 2006
For Katie Holmes, “motherhood means everything.”
Holmes welcomed her first and only child, daughter Suri Cruise, on April 18, 2006, in Los Angeles with then-husband Tom Cruise. The Dawson’s Creek actress and Mission Impossible star first met the year prior and got engaged after a whirlwind two-month courtship, tying the knot with their newborn by their side in Italy in November 2006. After five years of marriage, they split in 2012.
While Holmes has kept her daughter largely out of the spotlight over the years, she has offered up some insight into her experience as a mother in interviews and shared a handful of throwback photos and sweet tributes to Suri on social media.
“My main goal is to just let her know how much I love her,” the actress told PEOPLE in 2014.
From lessons in motherhood that she’s learned along the way to how they bonded during the pandemic, here’s everything Katie Holmes has said about parenting her daughter Suri.
On her “overwhelming” love for her daughter
”I didn’t know how much love I had in me. It’s overwhelming,” she told designer and friend Zac Posen in an August 2014 cover story for Glamour. “Every day I discover more about this spectacular human being I get to be the mother of.”
On showing Suri how proud she is of her
During an August 2014 appearance on the Today show, Holmes stressed that she prioritized her daughter’s accomplishments over her own.
“The most important thing for me is letting her know how proud I am and that her accomplishments mean everything,” Holmes said. “Whatever I do is whatever. It’s really just about her and that’s what I think is most important.”
On lessons she’s learned as a mother and the example she tries to set
“Motherhood means everything to me,” Holmes said in a PEOPLE cover story in November 2014. “I’m learning every day, and I have been since the minute I became a mom.”
She added that her “patience has grown” and that she was focused on trying to set a positive example for her daughter.
“Between tickle fights and glitter art, I try to throw in some manners along the way. I try to have good manners too, so that’s what she sees. I also try to be very creative with her, because I know she’s an artist, and that speaks to the girl in me,” Holmes said, before adding that she did have to draw the line somewhere. “To be honest? I’m not going to play tag, probably. That’s not top of my list. But I’ll paint all day, I’ll do the creative stuff.”
On her priorities as a mother
“My main goal is to just let her know how much I love her,” Holmes told PEOPLE in 2014. “Just to let her know that she is so loved. When that’s the through line, who cares that my first two pancakes are always burned?”
In April 2023, Holmes told Glamour that she likes to “protect” Suri from the public eye “because she was so visible at a young age.”
The actress added: “I’m very grateful to be a parent, to be her parent. She’s an incredible person. She’s my heart.”
On the importance of a reliable support system
Holmes gushed about her ultra-supportive mother, Kathleen, “who is always willing to fly to me if I need her, and even when I don’t,” she previously told PEOPLE.
She added that her “girlfriends of all ages, who have children of all ages” also were instrumental in raising Suri. “I lean on them. For advice, for recipes, for all of that stuff: ‘What am I supposed to do? Can you come over and watch? Can you be a helping hand?’ And I do have help, yes, but … it’s your baby, you know? You want to be the one who is there,” Holmes said.
On navigating mom guilt
The actress revealed that despite her best efforts, she often felt plagued by a sense of guilt. “‘Am I enough? Am I doing enough? Have I seen her enough?’ ” she told PEOPLE that she would ask herself. “Guess what? You’re not enough, she hasn’t seen you enough, you’re horrible: That’s how it can feel sometimes. You do the best you can. Some days you feel really good about yourself and some days you don’t.”
She continued: “Motherhood has taught me to just let go of some things, to relinquish control. There’s a playdate you weren’t expecting — I’ve had to learn to ask myself, ‘Is this worth it? Is it going to make her smile?’ And if it is, then yeah, we’re probably gonna do it. Maybe that means dinner at 8 instead of 6, and a snack in between. Fine. Things don’t have to happen a certain way. I think we all need to ease up on the expectations. We’re all trying to do the best we can. Motherhood taught me that.”
On cooking for Suri
Holmes, who rates herself as a “solid 7” when it comes to cheffing it up, discussed her and Suri’s routines in the kitchen with PEOPLE in 2016.
”I like to make a nice breakfast and start the day calmly. I like that time with my little one before school,” she said. “[Suri] has her favorites, like most kids,” she added, admitting, “I don’t really have any tactics to help [with picky eating]. I think like most parents you make the stuff you know that they like, and every once in a while you introduce something new.”
On wanting to channel her own mom
“She’s just so kind and has such a pure heart; she really leads with those two qualities, so I try to do the same,” Holmes previously told PEOPLE of her mom.
“She’s just so kind and very generous, so I try my best to embody that and pass that on to my own daughter,” she added.
On providing Suri with a “stable, innocent childhood”
Despite her many acting roles, Holmes has said that being a mother is the job she finds the most fulfilling.
“This business is so unstable, and you never really know where you’re going to be … My child is the most important person to me, and her upbringing is paramount to my work right now,” she said in Town & Country’s April 2017 issue.
“It’s very important that I’m present and she has a stable, innocent childhood. I feel so blessed to do what I do, but there’s nothing in the world better than watching your child succeed,” she added.
On the “heartbreaking” process of her watching her daughter grow up
“Every day, kids get a little further away from you. That’s a positive thing. They should be becoming more independent, but it’s heartbreaking,” Holmes said in her interview with Town & Country. “You want them to stay with you forever, but they’re these amazing beings, and you have to do everything you can to give them what they need — and then they’re going to go. And that’s going to be very, very sad for me.”
On welcoming Suri in her 20s
The actress shared that she was “happy” to welcome Suri at age 27, telling Elle UK in November 2019 that their ages are “a good match.”
“I was happy to become a mom in my twenties,” she told the outlet. “It’s been nice that our ages fit … how do I put this? Every age that my child has been and my age at that time has been a good match. We kind of grew up together.”
On mother-daughter workouts
The mother-daughter duo have some fitness routines of their own, Holmes told Shape in December 2019. “Sometimes I work out with my daughter,” she said. “It just depends on the day. We have our routines, and occasionally they overlap.” She noted that she never pushes Suri to work out with her though, so as not to embarrass her.
“I don’t force her to work out with me because I know that’s lame,” she said.
On nurturing Suri’s “strong personality”
“I love her so much,” the mom-of-one told InStyle for their April 2020 issue. “My biggest goal has always been to nurture her into her individuality, to make sure she is 100 percent herself and strong, confident and able. And to know it. She came out very strong — she’s always been a strong personality.”
Holmes added that Suri had outgrown her “girlie stage” and was putting her mind to a range of new tasks.
“She’ll pick an activity and work her butt off until she’s really good at it. Then she’s like, ‘Okay, I’m going to try the next thing,’ ” the actress said. “She’s very focused and a hard worker.”
On celebrating Suri’s 14th birthday
In a July 2020 interview with Entertainment Tonight, Katie Holmes shared some details on the at-home celebrations she hosted for Suri’s 14th birthday. The Secret: Dare to Dream star shared a few snaps of the low-key festivities on Instagram, which included crafts and a flower crown for the birthday girl.
“It was a beautiful moment,” Holmes said of the socially distanced party. “This year is a reminder that the simple things are really beautiful. I think when you have less, you are more creative.”
On how the pandemic shaped their relationship
In November 2020, Holmes wrote a piece for Vogue Australia’s November issue about how the silver lining of the COVID-19 pandemic was spending more quality time with her daughter.
“Hobbies such as sewing, painting and writing became new hallmarks of satisfaction and having had time at home to just be. To listen,” she wrote. “To live for a moment in time without the pressure of results and instead appreciate the natural rhythms of mother and daughter was the most precious gift.”
On celebrating Mother’s Day
The proud mom shared an adorable black-and-white throwback photo of herself kissing her little girl on the cheek to celebrate Mother’s Day in 2021.
“I am so grateful to be a mom to the sweetest daughter. Happy Mother’s Day to all of the moms!!!! 💕💕💕💕💕,” Holmes wrote in the caption of her post.
On watching Dawson’s Creek with her daughter
While chatting with Variety in March 2023, Holmes revealed that she and Suri watched Dawson’s Creek together at the height of the pandemic.
“We had a good laugh about it. It’s wild to have a daughter who’s almost the same age as I was when I began all this,” she told the outlet.