Are Hayley Atwell and Tom Cruise dating? Star says don’t believe the ‘grubby’ rumors

Hayley Atwell with curly hair and a black sparking dress and Tom Cruise in a blue suit forming a heart with their hands
“Mission: Impossible — Dead Reckoning Part One” stars Hayley Atwell and Tom Cruise pose at the film’s premiere in South Korea.
(Lee Jin-man / Associated Press)
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In the three years of filming “Mission: Impossible — Dead Reckoning,” star Hayley Atwell said she has grown close with Tom Cruise — but not in the way some fans would think.

To Atwell, whose Grace is Ethan Hunt‘s (Cruise) new sparring partner, Cruise and director Christopher McQuarrie are more like “two uncles.” In an interview with the Independent published Saturday, the “Agent Carter” actor, 41, shut down the romance rumors that arose during her time on the iconic action franchise.

The seventh “Mission Impossible” installment began production during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 (remember Cruise’s expletive-ridden rant about safety?) and wrapped this year in April. Tabloid rumors about the co-stars’ romance first surfaced in December 2020, with alleged sources claiming the duo “fancied each other” and were “inseparable.”


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“I would be like, ‘Ooh, there’s some weird rumors, and it feels base, it feels a little dirty, it feels grubby, it’s not what I’m about,’” she said about informing Cruise, 61, of tabloid fodder. “Why are things being assumed or projected onto me about my relationship with my work colleague and boss?”

She continued: “It’s involving people in my actual life, my personal life, who have to be on the receiving end of that. It becomes invasive.”

Atwell, who is engaged to music producer Ned Wolfgang Kelly, said Cruise offered up some wisdom to cope with tabloid headlines — like any good uncle would. The “Top Gun: Maverick” actor told Atwell that she knows “exactly who you are.”

“‘It doesn’t matter what people think of you, if you are in integrity with yourself,’ if you know what your value system is,” Cruise supposedly told his co-star.

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Later in the interview, Atwell said she and Cruise agreed their characters had a “sibling thing” that would not hinder Ethan’s romantic tension with Rebecca Ferguson‘s Ilsa Faust, who has been part of the “Mission” franchise since 2015’s “Rogue Nation.”

“The audience would not want someone else coming in and going, ‘Oh, excuse me’ — you’d have to earn that,’” Atwell said.


In his review, Los Angeles Times film critic Justin Chang praised Atwell for her “terrific” portrayal of Grace. Crafting her character was a collaborative process with McQuarrie and Cruise that empowered her to have more agency behind-the-scenes.

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“‘You want things for me and not from me?’” she said. “It’s beautiful parenting!”

“Mission: Impossible — Dead Reckoning Part One” premieres Wednesday. The film also stars Vanessa Kirby, Ving Rhames, Simon Pegg and Esai Morales.