Love is in the air, but for Tom Cruise rather than Batman, Katie Holmes tells Steve Pratt. And her dream of becoming an actress and marrying Mr Cruise might be about to come true.

When your new boyfriend is the most bankable movie star in the world, you have to expect a certain amount of prying into your personal life. Besides, it's difficult to avoid when Katie Holmes's beau enthusiastically declares his love for her on one of US television's highest-rated talk shows.

Not that the sight of Tom Cruise jumping up and down on the sofa on Oprah Winfrey's programme saying he's in love is what you expect from an actor well versed in the art of publicity.

Only a cynic - and who can deny they exist among the journalistic fraternity? - would claim their relationship is only a publicity ploy as they both have new movies out this summer. Holmes stars in Batman Begins, while Cruise teams again with director Steven Spielberg in War Of The World, released next month.

Faced with a question at the London press conference for Batman Begins asking if she's hurt when critics suggest that their relationship in "not completely genuine", she grins and bears it.

"No, it doesn't hurt me at all," she says. "I mean, there are a lot of people that are really, really happy for us. It's really exciting and we're so happy. I don't really care about the critics."

So ya-boo-sucks to them. In one way, she's only herself to blame. Like Cruise, she can't keep quiet about their romance. "I'm so happy right now. I'm in love. I met the man of my dreams and I couldn't be happier," she told journalists at the LA launch. "I met Tom and I fell in love... what can I say? The media reaction, all that stuff, I really don't care."

She talks of his "amazing persona" and says he's even more amazing the more you get to know him. And of course she was a fan of Cruise before dating him. She loved Risky Business, Top Gun, Cocktail - "I mean all of them. With his career how do you pick?" she asks. Cruise was even spotted hanging around the hotel where the LA junket was taking place. So far there are no plans for them to make a movie together (although she says "it would be an honour").

But the speculation about their future, especially in the light of the failure of his previous marriages, can't help but fuel speculation in the media. No, says Holmes in London, he didn't prevent her playing a role in a new film The Factory Girl because he didn't want her to play a victim. And no, she has "nothing official" to report on marriage rumours.

She made her name on TV in Dawson's Creek. Now she's making her way in movies. So does she have any preferences? "Dawson's Creek was a definite stepping stone and a huge opportunity, and one that I look back on very fondly," she says. "I'm excited to be a part of this movie Batman Begins. In the future, I don't know. I'm excited to do more movies. I like playing a lot of different characters but I'm open to all sorts of mediums." In Batman Begins, she plays an assistant district attorney which was fun to do for the daughter of an attorney and the sister of one in real life. But she can't stop Cruise's name slipping back into the conversation. Yes, she is getting interested in Scientology like Cruise but no, she has no idea what makes him jump up and down on chat show sofas.

She's also been reported as saying as a child that when she grew up she wanted to be an actress and marry Tom Cruise. Holmes doesn't appear to be doing too badly with his ambitions. "We always all keep dreaming and luckily dreams do come true," she says.

Published: 16/6/2005