The battle for Suri: Katie 'demands sole custody' of the precocious little girl with a $3m wardrobe
22:14 GMT, 29 June 2012
After the shock announcement that Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes are to divorce, a bitter battle is set to break out over the couple's young daughter, Suri.
Almost as famous as her high-profile parents, the tantrum-prone six-year-old is at the centre of a fierce dispute, following claims that her mother is demanding sole custody.
Shortly after the news was announced Friday, TMZ claimed that Katie, 33, was asking for 'primary residential custody' of Suri, and a 'suitable amount of child support'.
Battle for custody Suri, pictured in April last year with her now-divorcing parents, Katie Holmes and Tom Cruise, is said to be at the centre of a fierce custody dispute
Of course, this being Suri, the figure is likely to be a staggeringly high one. Despite her tender age, the youngster has become known for her extravagant fashion choices.
She is said to have a closet of designer clothes worth $3.2million, and a particular penchant for statement footwear and handbags.
She chooses all the outfits herself, favouring skirts and dresses over trousers and shorts.
Her father, 49, once said: 'She likes to dress herself and wears whatever she wants. I'm not gonna tell her different.'
But while many might accuse Tom and Katie of having spoiled their little girl, the estranged couple are said to have embraced an unusual approach to parenting, believed
to be in accordance with the doctrine of the Church of Scientology.
is apparently treated as an adult, free to make decisions on her
clothes, make-up and diet.
The $3million girl: Suri's extravagant wardrobe – as well as her penchant for lipstick and high heels – is regularly paraded in front of the media spotlight
Scientology expert Rick Ross explained
to the Daily Mail's Alison Boshoff last year: 'Scientologists treat kids
as if they are individuals capable
of making their own decisions.'
Indeed, Tom echoed this approach in an interview in 2010.
'I say to Suri, “I really want you to eat this protein if you’re
going to have that sugar,”' he said.
'She likes to dress herself and wears whatever she wants. I'm not gonna tell her different'
Tom Cruise, 2010
'She looks at me and she goes: “Dad, I don’t
think you should try to force me to do something I don’t want to do.”'
However marture Suri may appear to her father, child psychologists say that the subject of divorce should be tackled with extreme care, when it involves a child as young as six.
Dr Jeff Gardere told HollywoodLife.com: 'There is certainly some confusion and sadness, but a six-year old is
young to process it all.
'You cannot be untruthful or try
to hide something like this because later on they will be angry or they
will have issues. You have to prepare her. She will have questions.'
And evidence of public temper tantrums reminds us that Suri is not always so measured and polite.
Temper tantrum: Last week, an evening out ended in tears when Katie took Suri's ice-cream away
Just last week, an evening of pizza and ice-cream with her mother ended in tears when Katie took her daughter's cone away.
As usual, Suri seemed to have little regard for the ever-present paparazzi, bursting into angry sobs.
Another recent incident saw her lose her temper during a shopping spree at New York toy store FAO Schwarz.
The Scientology-led parenting doctrine also perhaps explains Katie's brave decision to allow Suri to wear high heels and lipstick – despite the controversy it has sparked from parenting experts.
A source told Star magazine last year: 'Suri has so many designer shoes.
'She’s a massive fan of Marc Jacobs and
she’s had several shoes custom-made, so if they didn’t come with a heel,
Katie had them redesigned for Suri. She commissioned a pair of
Louboutins for her a while back!'
Mommy and Daddy's little princess: An infant Suri pictured with Tom and Katie in November 2006, shortly after the couple announced their engagement
Any other child would perhaps attract
less attention. But as a child who has grown up in the media glare,
Suri's life has become subject to public opinion.
So huge is her impact, Forbes had hailed her the world's most influential tot by the age of just three. And last year she came 21st in a list of Glamour magazine readers' style icons, beating Lady Gaga and Sarah Jessica Parker in ranking.
There is even a hugely popular spoof blog, titled Suri's Burn Book, and a soon-to-be-published book, charting her supposed opinions of her parents and other Hollywood offspring.
Already it has been updated with the post: 'Please respect my privacy during this difficult time. (Just mine though — everyone else is fair game.)
'I will be vacationing in the Cayman Islands for the Independence Day holiday with my financier, and going over my plans to seek sole custody of myself.'
Given the real-life Suri's precocious nature, one imagines that – if she had her way – it wouldn't be too far from the truth.