So much for brotherly love. Tom Cruise has told his sister and publicist Lee Anne DeVette to take a hike, to be replaced by celebrity P.R. pro Paul Bloch, according to published reports.
DeVette, whose client roster now falls to approximately zero, has flacked for her bro since March 2004.
"Lee Anne has done a wonderful job on behalf of myself and [production company] Cruise-Wagner Prods. over the last few years," Variety quoted Cruise as saying. "But she has always expressed a desire to oversee and expand the day-to-day activities of my charitable endeavors."
Hence she'll be in charge of Cruise's philanthropic work, TV Guide reported.
Her tenure, needless to say, has been a rocky one: The "Mission: Impossible" actor's reputation has taken several major hits this year, beginning with his couch-jumping on "Oprah" to profess his love for now-fiancée Katie Holmes, who's announced her intentions to be Kate Cruise after their still-unscheduled wedding. Holmes is several months pregnant with Cruise's child, which reportedly has incensed Holmes' devoutly Catholic father.
The relationship between the two has been played out in minute detail — with the actor's camp trying to spin the pairing as true love, and nearly everyone else contemplating Holmes' curious transformation and sudden fondness for the principles of Scientology, of which Cruise is a top proponent.
Nor was Cruise helped by an on-air spat with NBC's Matt Lauer over the use of antidepressants, which Scientology frowns upon. Cruise called the "Today" host "glib," but took hits from many corners. The episode launched a high-profile spat with Brooke Shields, who took medication to combat her own postpartum depression and shot back that Cruise's "ridiculous rant" had done a "disservice" to mothers everywhere.
On balance, not such a hot P.R. year for Señor Cruise. By one account, he's tanked from being the 11th most-liked celebrity to No. 197, putting him in company with the likes of Pauly Shore. Bloch, whose clients include Bruce Willis, Anthony Hopkins and Cruise's fellow Scientologist John Travolta, clearly has his work cut out for him.
On the up side, "Extras" creator Ricky Gervais confirmed to U.K. media that Cruise would make an appearance on the British version of the show, which is being shown by HBO. No word on whether the prop department has put out bids for spring-reinforced couches.