Katie Holmes' Acting Mentor: 'I Don’t Like Tom Cruise' (EXCLUSIVE)

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The woman who gave Katie Holmes her start in acting has spoken out against Tom Cruise, declaring him “domineering” and “ridiculous" -- and revealing that Holmes left Cruise "for the sake of Suri."

Margaret O'Brien, who ran a charm and etiquette school in Toledo, Ohio that Holmes once attended, didn't mince her words when talking about the 50-year-old Mission: Impossible star.

“I don’t like him. I think he’s a very domineering man," said the 85-year-old. "I don’t know about their marriage, but when he announced he was with Katie on Oprah, I think it made him look ridiculous."

O’Brien also expressed concern about how Holmes, 33, was raising her six-year-old daughter Suri, saying, “Though it’s clear they care very much about their daughter Suri, I think she is too spoiled."

There's more: O’Brien even says she knows why Holmes filed for divorce after almost six years of marriage:

There must be a very good reason for Katie divorcing Tom Cruise as she was brought up a good Catholic girl. Katie is a good person, so there must have been major things going on to make her want to leave him. I heard from a friend she's doing it for the sake of Suri, to make things easier for her.

Holmes' quest for stardom didn’t come easily, says O'Brien, as the budding starlet had to literally beg her uber-religious and conservative dad Martin to let her fly out to be seen by talent scouts in New York at the age of 15.

O’Brien herself even clashed with the Holmes patriarch about it.

“Katie was always very serious. Her dad was very strict and stern and did not want her going to New York for auditions," she said. "I had to talk him into it and it was quite hard to get him to agree.

“He was very concerned about her going and thought her education was the top priority – that was number one. Katie had to beg him to let her go, and if she hadn’t pleaded so much he wouldn’t have allowed it. But she convinced him.

“He was very focused on his children’s education and didn’t see acting as important as that.”

Holmes’ mother, meanwhile, was the reason Holmes enrolled in the O'Brien's acting and modeling school in the first place.

“Katie’s mother wanted her to learn etiquette and how to dress, how to make proper introductions, things like that," said O'Brien, who ran the school until about a decade ago. “My school was also for aspiring models and actresses.

“But even though Katie’s parents were very, very strict, she was a good girl. She never complained.

“Her dad’s an attorney and a bit of a local figure. Again, he can be very stern. I don’t think she could date much -- she was too busy with plays and drama.”

Eventually, according to O'Brien, the family came to a compromise and indeed allowed Holmes to fly to New York for auditions. She then landed her now-famous role on Dawson's Creek; her school sent her work to do while she was filming the show. The rest, as they say, is history.

Despite the fact that O'Brien hasn't seen Holmes in years, she says her thoughts are still with her famous ex-pupil.

"There's going to be a huge hullabaloo about this," she says, "and the next few months aren't going to be easy for Katie."

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