Inside Rebecca Ferguson's Relationship With Tom Cruise

Tom Cruise has been the top-billed star of every "Mission: Impossible" flick since 1986, but as with James Bond movies, it's often the female actors who keep our eyes glued to the screen (and our butts in the theater seats).

If you've seen Rebecca Ferguson's depiction of the mysterious and intriguing M16 agent and overall badass Ilsa Faust in "Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation" and "Mission: Impossible – Fallout," you'll be glad to know Ilsa is expected back onscreen — most likely literally dressed to kill — in "Dead Reckoning" Parts One and Two, slated for release in 2023 and 2024, respectively.

Ferguson's Ilsa Faust always gives Cruise's Ethan Hunt a run for his money, but who exactly is this beguiling actor? How did she land the recurring role in "Mission: Impossible?" And finally, is there any truth to the recurring rumors that this woman (who bears more than a slight resemblance to Nicole Kidman, Cruise's ex-wife) is romantically involved with Cruise?

Rebecca Ferguson didn't share Tom Cruise's early interest in acting

Tom Cruise developed an interest in acting as a kid and took Hollywood by storm shortly after graduating high school, with roles in films like "The Outsiders," "Endless Love," and "Risky Business" (via Fox News). But Rebecca Ferguson, whose career began as a teenage model in her native Sweden, didn't always imagine herself in front of a camera. She landed her first role in the soap opera "Nya Tider" at age 15 in 1999. As Ferguson told Vanity Fair, her mother pressured her into both modeling and acting.

"I started off in the modeling agency because my mom had forced me in to do this competition, but I was far too short and obviously didn't look like a supermodel. ... I was asked to do a casting and I think I turned it down once or twice but my mother pushed me into the rooms and forced me to do it," Ferguson explained. She continued, saying, "I think at the age of 15, it was a good age to capture someone, I think, because the work environment became second nature to me."

How did Ferguson end up in Mission: Impossible?

So, how did Rebecca Ferguson end up working with Tom Cruise? As she told Entertainment Weekly, "I was filming The Red Tent in the desert in Morocco. I had gone to London to do a casting tape for Mission, thinking, "This is never going to happen, never." While she certainly wasn't expecting a callback, she was later informed that Tom Cruise and director Chris McQuarrie wanted to talk to her.

"So I was on a camel, and a couple of hours later I'm in London where a car picks me up and brings me to a meeting with Tom and Chris," she revealed. The three discussed the film and characters, and Ferguson performed a few scenes. "I think because I was in a production already, I was more determined on how we could make it happen rather than thinking 'Oh my god, I'm meeting Tom Cruise.' We were just drinking coffee and laughing," Ferguson said.

The onscreen chemistry between Ferguson and Cruise is obvious

Whether they're fighting for their lives, chatting at a sidewalk café, or just staring into each other's eyes, fans can witness the attraction between Rebecca Ferguson's Ilsa Faust and Tom Cruise's Ethan Hunt, despite their complicated relationship. No spoilers here, but let's just say that Ethan's love life has been a significant plot component throughout the MI movies, while Ilsa joined the series in its fifth installment (via Screenrant). And based on what Ferguson has shared with the press, the actors work together quite well and enjoy each other's company.

Ferguson told People just how much she's enjoyed the opportunity to work with Cruise. "For me, it's school: It's like rookie action school. After having Tom around, if I asked a question, I would leave the room feeling pumped and really excited because he believed in me." She continued, saying, "I think people forget how fun he is. We laughed so much." Ferguson also told Aussie YouTube interviewer Alex Zane that she's "never met anyone like [Cruise]." She went on to say, "Tom has such a magnetic presence."

The actors are certainly good friends

In an August 2021 Instagram post, Rebecca Ferguson shared a lovely picture of her with Tom Cruise, captioning the photo, "Thank you my wonderfully talented & tolerant team." In January the following year, Ferguson told Cinemablend that although she and Cruise get along well, they're not spending time together constantly. "I think to be honest, it's just very much down to who you click with. I can do big movies, but I mean, not that Tom isn't a friend of mine, but I think Tom Cruise is quite busy all the time, so it's not like we go to dinners every weekend."

When Ferguson was interviewed by Tim Lammers, she was asked why she forwent using a stunt double in an action scene with Cruise for "Rogue Nation." She explained, "I wanted to be going through it with him. I wanted to be on this adventure. That's why you do a Mission: Impossible film. Also I knew that I'd have my legs wrapped around Tom Cruise and going, 'Woo-hoo!'"

They have not confirmed that they're anything more than friends

The National Enquirer has alluded to Tom Cruise and Rebecca Ferguson being a couple, but is it true?

The actors have been photographed on multiple occasions being affectionate and playful with each other — but that can, of course, happen when actors spend months and months working on films with people they respect and admire. Given Cruise's very public and ugly divorce from Katie Holmes in 2012, the actor would probably be smart to remain mum about who he is — or isn't — dating. And, in fact, he hasn't confirmed or denied a relationship with his "Mission: Impossible" co-star.

As for Ferguson — although she is quite candid about her admiration for Cruise — has also not confirmed a romantic relationship, as of this writing. These two may simply be wonderful friends. And, hey, that's great too. Friendship is a beautiful gift!