The Surprising Job Tom Cruise Was Studying For Before He Became An Actor

Tom Cruise has been part of the Hollywood scene for so long that it feels like he has always been there, especially for those who are members of Generation X and beyond. 

His first role was a blink-and-you-may-miss-it part in the Brooke Shields film "Endless Love," but other roles soon followed in "Taps" and "The Outsiders" (via Biography). 

By 1983, Cruise was a household name after his starring turn in "Risky Business" about a shy, slightly nerdy teen who turns his home into a brothel while his parents are out of town.

Through the years, Cruise grew into an Oscar-nominated actor who has been married three times while making headlines for his devotion to Scientology, a modern religion that various celebrities have subscribed to at one point or another. Cruise is one of its most devoted followers (via CNN). 

However, before Cruise ever saw an ounce of fame or knew anything about Scientology, there was another religion he was devoted to — and he nearly made a career out of it.

Tom Cruise contemplated becoming a priest before turning to showbiz

Tom Cruise was born Thomas Cruise Mapother IV in Syracuse, New York, but moved around several times as a child, along with his sisters, after their parents divorced (via Biography). 

After settling in Louisville, Kentucky, for a short time, Cruise met a priest who recruited him to attend a seminary school in Ohio when he was just 14 years old.

"Tom was instantly hooked," Father Ric Schneider told the New York Daily News. "I think he wanted a good education. With his parents going through a divorce, it was tough on him, that's maybe one of the reasons why he came here."

Cruise only lasted in the seminary for two years, but his former classmate Shane Dempler said he was dedicated to his religion. 

"He had a very strong Catholic faith," Dempler said. "We went to Mass, spent time in the chapel and enjoyed hearing stories from the priests. We thought the priests had a great lifestyle and we were really interested in priesthood. In truth, we were too young to make that decision."

Although Cruise never pursued life in the priesthood, he did discover acting classes while he was in the seminary — and the rest is just Hollywood history.