Katie Holmes and husband Tom Cruise

Katie Holmes and Tom Cruise attend the 2012 Vanity Fair Oscar party, held at the Sunset Tower Hotel in West Hollywood, on Feb. 26 (Faye Sadou / Abaca Press / MCT / December 5, 2012)

The marriage of Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes, one of Hollywood's highest profile relationships and a subject of endless tabloid speculation, is over.

Holmes announced through a lawyer Friday that she had filed for divorce from her movie star husband of five years. The news surprised the entertainment industry, which counts Cruise as one of its most recognizable stars, and apparently the actor himself. Cruise learned Holmes had initiated divorced proceedings in New York while he was working on a film set in Iceland.

"Tom is deeply saddened and is concentrating on his three children. Please allow them their privacy to work this out," his publicist said in a statement.

He has not yet hired a divorce attorney, said his longtime legal representative, Bert Fields.

"We're thinking about who to use," Fields said. "We have to discuss strategy."

Holmes, 33, has retained two prominent law firms that specialize in wealthy break-ups. New York lawyer Allan E. Mayefsky has been involved in a number of acrimonious and headline-grabbing splits, including the divorces of model Christie Brinkley, TV anchor Joan Lunden and a Manhattan financier who was ordered to pay his ex-wife $44 million.

In addition, the "Dawson's Creek" actress hired a New Jersey divorce lawyer, Jonathan Wolfe, whose website boasts of his prowess in "complex matrimonial matters" involving "leaders or the spouses of leaders" in business, entertainment and sports. He has written extensively about prenuptial agreements and ways to recover hidden assets in divorce proceedings.

In a statement, Wolfe called the divorce "a personal and private matter."

"Katie's primary concern remains, as it has always been, her daughter's best interest," the lawyer said, referring to the couple's daughter, Suri, 6.

Cruise, who will turn 50 next week, has long been a controversial figure for his statements about psychiatry and his membership in the Church of Scientology, but it was his whirlwind romance with the actress 16 years his junior that garnered the most attention.

Their first date was a sushi dinner on his private jet, he proposed underneath the Eiffel Tower, and they were married in a star-studded ceremony in an Italian castle. He infamously jumped on Oprah Winfrey's studio coach while professing his new love for Holmes.

Speculation about a prenuptial agreement began almost immediately after the couple's engagement. Cruise already had two ex-wives in Hollywood -- the actresses Mimi Rogers and Nicole Kidman, with whom he adopted two children. His annual earnings -- recently estimated by Forbes at $75 million -- dwarfed those of his young bride, whose father is a lawyer.

Asked if there was a prenuptial agreement, Fields said, "I can't comment on that. It will all come out."

In spite of the legal forces being marshaled by Holmes, Fields said, "I would hope that it's not a contentious matter. I know Tom is not a particularly contentious person."

harriet.ryan@latimes.com

john.horn@latimes.com