Tom Cruise: My Struggle to Read - 2003-07-21
Graduating high school in 1980, "I was a functional illiterate," says Tom Cruise, who hid his problem for years. Cruise, who showed signs of a learning disability beginning in grade school, says he finally learned to read as an adult through Study Technology, a learning method developed by L. Ron Hubbard, founder of the controversial Church of Scientology. Last month Cruise was honored by MENTOR/ The National Mentoring Partnership for his work with the Hollywood Education and Literacy Project (H.E.L.P.), a nonprofit organization whose volunteers offer free tutoring, using Hubbard's system, in 26 communities around the world. Though H.E.L.P. has its detractors (see box), Cruise, a Scientologist, has provided financial and public-relations support for the program. "I don't want people to go through what I went through," says Cruise, who sat down with senior editor Jess Cagle to talk about his painful, private struggle as a child and his fight for literacy.