Did Rebecca De Mornay’s ‘Risky’ Affair With Tom Cruise In The ’80s Affect Her Acting Career?


Rebecca De Mornay and Tom Cruise both starred in the film Risky Business. But did their fling have a negative impact on De Mornay’s subsequent career?
Did Rebecca De Mornay’s romance with Tom Cruise cast a shadow over her acting talents, or was it just another chapter in her diverse Hollywood story? De Mornay enjoyed a meteoric rise after her breakthrough in Hollywood in the early 1980s. However, her journey in the industry has at times seen her become the center of attention and not just for her acting skills.

An episode of The Ricky Gervais Show once featured British comedian Ricky Gervais making fun of her. De Mornay decided to keep quiet about this and avoided responding to the apparent joke in public. The actress’ personal life has frequently been discussed outside of the glamour of the camera.

Rebecca De Mornay’s relationship with the legendary singer Leonard Cohen, who was nearly twice her age at the time, is an intriguing aspect of her love life. She quickly started dating Tom Cruise after that. They had already crossed paths in real life and on the big screen when they both appeared in the movie Risky Business. But did Rebecca De Mornay’s acting career suffer as a result of their alleged liaison?

What Happened Between Rebecca De Mornay And Tom Cruise During Risky Business?

So, exactly what transpired between Rebecca De Mornay and Tom Cruise during the filming of Risky Business? The teen sex comedy movie tells the tale of a young man called Joel Goodson (Cruise). His life takes a turn when his parents go away, leaving him alone at home. De Mornay portrayed Lana, a call-girl, with whom Joel gets entangled, leading to a series of humorous and intense events.

Curtis Armstrong, who played Miles Dalby, was one of Cruise and De Mornay’s on-screen friends in the film. The actor writes in his 2017 autobiography, Revenge of the Nerd: Or… The Singular Adventures of the Man Who Would Be Booger, regarding some of the alleged off-screen relationships between Rebecca De Mornay and Tom Cruise.
It’s no secret that Tom had a passionate relationship with De Mornay while filming, according to Armstrong’s article, which was serialized in The Hollywood Reporter. “[De Mornay]—who, at the age of 23, managed to preserve her elusive, sexy mystery under any circumstances… Unless you managed to catch her in a joke, in which case her mask would come off, her eyes would light up, and she would break out laughing loudly.

How Long Did Rebecca De Mornay And Tom Cruise Date?
The seeds of Rebecca De Mornay and Tom Cruise’s romance were reportedly planted during the film’s production, but blossoming into a full-fledged relationship took some time. At least that is the account according to Curtis Armstrong in Revenge of the Nerd. Harry Dean Stanton, a significant figure in De Mornay’s life at the time, appeared to have momentarily hindered the budding connection between the two stars. “Their romance was some time aborning,” Armstrong claimed. “Part of the delay was caused by the presence of Harry Dean Stanton.”

While Stanton was known for his friendly nature and unique character, Armstrong mused that Cruise might have viewed him differently. “I suspect that most of Harry Dean’s great qualities were lost on Tom, who, I think, was beginning to regard him as a guest overstaying his welcome,” Armstrong continued to speculate.


Risky Business began filming on July 18, 1982, according to AFI Catalog, and had a ten-week shooting schedule. This would make sense as the most likely period when Tom Cruise and Rebecca De Mornay started dating. Reports indicate that by 1985, they had parted ways, suggesting that the said love affair had lasted at least two years.

Rebecca De Mornay’s Acting Career After Risky Business

With her performance in Risky Business, Rebecca De Mornay made a significant entrance onto the Hollywood scene. One critic of the film was effusive in its praise for her, stating, “De Mornay does sterling work as the helpful hooker,” while also praising her co-star, noting, “This is Cruise’s big chance, and he relishes it, putting in a believable and likable performance.”It was anticipated that the duo would go on to become household names. De Mornay’s future career is nothing to laugh at, but when contrasted to Cruise’s more than three decades later, it may seem fairly unimpressive.
One of Rebecca De Mornay’s post-Risky Business roles came in the ABC miniseries adaptation of The Shining in 1997. In this haunting tale, she played the role of Wendy Torrance. The character is seen grappling with the horrors unfolding at the Overlook Hotel, all while trying to protect her young son from her increasingly unstable husband. De Mornay is also credited with roles in films like The Three Musketeers and Wedding Crashers, as well as TV shows like The Practice and Marvel’s Jessica Jones. While her career did not in fact turn out how people originally anticipated, given everything she has achieved since, it would be difficult to draw a direct line of correlation between that and her reported affair with Cruise back in the ‘80s.

Rebecca De Mornay And Tom Cruise’s Relationship Now
Tom Cruise and Rebecca De Mornay have crossed paths many times since the lights on the Risky Business set went out and the decades passed. But the complex inner workings of their private connection have mostly stayed hidden. There hasn’t been much talk lately about the pair’s ongoing friendship or interactions. But it’s clear that their common professional admiration hasn’t diminished. In a July 2023 interview with The Wrap, De Mornay discussed her personal journey and how it compared to Cruise’s.
Rebecca De Mornay’s work frequently doesn’t earn the same broad acclaim as the Top Gun star’s career trajectory, which skyrocketed and shows no signs of abating even until his 61st birthday. De Mornay did not express surprise or hostility when commenting on this difference. She instead elaborated on a subtle musical metaphor to describe the opposing nature of their on-screen presence. She saw that, inherently, “I was a more complicated, mysterious presence than Tom.” “I would compare his presence to a dominant chord in music, whereas I am more of a minor chord… The major chords are extremely popular in America.

De Mornay now also cherishes a different role — that of a mother. She has two daughters, and their father is the celebrated sports commentator, Patrick O’Neal, whom she reportedly dated between 1995 and 2002.