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Is Katie Holmes breaking free of Cruise control?

The wife of the "Top Gun" star is shooting a film, “Mad Money,” in Louisiana, and while she’s away from her reportedly controlling spouse she’s “quietly reclaiming parts of her past.”
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Is Katie Holmes breaking free of her hubby’s Cruise control?

The wife of the “Top Gun” star is shooting a film, “Mad Money,” in Louisiana, and while she’s away from her reportedly controlling spouse she’s “quietly reclaiming parts of her past,” according to Life & Style.

The mag reports that Holmes is reconnecting with family and friends and even secretly talking to Catholic priests. Holmes was raised a Catholic, but since her marriage, has embraced Scientology, her husband’s religion.

The “Batman Returns” star recently called a childhood pal named Meghann Birie, whom she hadn’t seen since meeting Cruise two years ago, reports L&S.

“She wanted to talk to someone not in Camp Cruise,” a friend told the mag. “Katie told Meghann she can’t believe she abandoned her old life.”

The actress hasn’t been to church lately, but is “secretly talking to pastors” for advice, and wants to enroll Suri in “kiddie Catholicism” classes, according to L&S.

What’s more, Holmes also plans to visit her hometown of Toledo, Ohio, this summer and has invited her parents to the “Mad Money” set.

“She’s trying to make amends with her family,” according to a Holmes family friend.

Larry Birkhead defends himselfLarry Birkhead is trying to set the record straight.

The father of Anna Nicole Smith’s baby is blasting media reports that have him gambling — and he says he’s not trademarking phrases or collecting a legal defense fund.

“It was reported that I was playing $1500.00 a hand at the high stakes poker table in the Bahamas,” the photographer wrote on his Web site. “FALSE. I do not even know how to play poker and I wouldn’t be playing with money like that in any event.”

He also insists that he never applied for a trademark for the phrase “Goodnight My Sweet Anna Baby,” and says that the trademark form was filed out by someone else on his behalf.

“The form was not reviewed or approved by me,” he says. “I am far too busy working on my fight for my daughter Dannielynn, to worry about things like trade marking sayings for use in movies, etc.” He insists that he’ll have the trademark application withdrawn or cancelled.

What’s more, he says he hasn’t set up a legal defense fund for his daughter. “Someone setup a ‘Save Dannielynn’ Defense Fund for me (again without my authorization) and some individuals sent in donations before the ‘fund’ was discovered by me,” writes Birkhead, who says he demanded the operation be shut down. “Your words of encouragement and support are more than enough.”

Notes from all overCheryl Burke says she didn’t know her celeb partners until she was paired with them. “I actually didn’t know who Drew Lachey was,” Burke told Stuff. “And it was the same with Emmitt Smith — I had to Google him.”  . . . Recently rehabbed Lindsay Lohan says that she used some of her bad experiences to tackle her role in her upcoming film, “I Know Who Killed Me.”  “Everything that I go through, I use when I’m working,” the “Mean Girls” star told Entertainment Weekly’s Summer Movie Preview issue. “It just kind of happens.” And, she says, some of the stunts she had to perform for the flick were like starring in a reality show. “This is probably the most grueling role I’ll ever do,” she says of the part, which called for her to be buried alive in a coffin. “It’s totally ‘Fear Factor.’ Oh, my God, I would have won!” . . . . The buzz in the UK is that Prince William split from longtime girlfriend Kate Middleton because her mother was too common. Among the supposed faux pas committed by the former airline stewardess, upon meeting the queen, she said, “Pleased to meet you,” rather than the preferred, “How do you do?” Others say that’s nonsense, the two young lovers simply went separate ways.

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