July 11, 2012 at 12:11 PM ET
No one saw Katie Holmes's split from Tom Cruise coming, and that's exactly how she planned it.
The cover story of this week's People magazine reveals why (according to an insider) Holmes, 33, decided to leave Cruise, 50, and details the covert operations she undertook to end her marriage to the Mission: Impossible star.
As for why the couple's union crumbled, a source tells the magazine that Holmes had become increasingly unhappy in her five-year marriage to the actor and that "she no longer had the life she wanted, in terms of her career, her way of life, everything." Pretty vague, we know, but it's something. And it's worth noting that Cruise's beloved Scientology, widely assumed to be at the center of the split, isn't mentioned.
"Once she decided to go, she was done," says People's insider. "She knew she had to have everything locked down before she pulled the trigger because there could be no wiggle room if she didn't want this to turn into a long, drawn-out battle."
And, according to People, that's exactly what the actress did. Holmes' attorney father Martin helped in the preparation, while Holmes quietly moved into a new Manhattan apartment, started meeting with attorneys and switched phones—so she could do it all in secret. According to the Los Angeles Times, that new phone was a disposable cell that couldn't be traced. (Sneaky!)
In the end, all the behind-the-scenes machinations seem to have gotten Holmes what she wants: a signed divorce settlement in just 11 days and primary custody of the ex-couple's 6-year-old daughter Suri.
Cruise, who will reportedly have generous visitation rights, seems to have bounced back in the wake of the settlement. He was photographed on the California set of his movie Oblivion on Tuesday, laughing and (more importantly) not wearing his wedding ring. But, by all accounts, the actor was blindsided by the divorce and is still trying to figure out what went wrong.
"[Tom] was a happy man and thought he had a happy life," a second source tells People. "He keeps asking, 'What's happening?'"
While many rumors are flying about the specific reasons for the divorce (including our favorite: that Tom wouldn't let Katie work on a Dawson's Creek reunion) and how Holmes was able to get Cruise to settle so quickly, Cruise's attorney insists the Church of Scientology was in no way involved in the settlement proceedings.
"Let me be very clear about this. The Church of Scientology played absolutely NO ROLE in the divorce settlement talks at all. Period," Cruise's lawyer Bert Fields told Radar Online. "The mere suggestion that the Church was involved in any element of the talks and ultimate settlement is categorically false. Anyone suggesting otherwise is just wrong."
In addition to her father, Holmes allegedly found support from a more unlikely source: Nicole Kidman. The two have reportedly been friends since Holmes first tied the knot with Cruise, and Us Weekly reports that Kidman has helped Holmes get through this trying time.
"They've spoken over the last few weeks," an insider tells the magazine. "Nicole has been supportive, saying she's been through it too and to hang in there."
Holmes has indeed hung in there, walking away from the divorce with the outcome she (seemingly) desired.
"She pulled it off brilliantly," a source tells Us Weekly. "This was all played so well." Tom Cruise might beg to differ.
A version of this story originally appeared on iVillage.