CHICAGO (Reuters) - Tom Cruise returned to the Oprah Winfrey show on Friday and talked about his love for Katie Holmes, but this time he was denying marital problems instead of jumping on the couch to prove his passion for the young actress.
"That's laughable to me," Cruise said when Winfrey told him there was speculation that "what you and Katie have is not real."
It was the first time Cruise appeared on the show since his couch-hopping stunt three years ago drew a flood of satire and ridicule.
"It was something that I just felt that way, and I feel that way about her. That's just how I felt," he said in the interview aired on Friday.
The Hollywood star said he could not articulate "the feeling, the connection," with Holmes and noted their daughter Suri, now 3, was born a year to the day after he met Holmes.
Cruise also was showered with opprobrium after other comments criticizing actress Brooke Shields for taking anti-depressant drugs and for over-medication of children generally. "You've just got to take it in stride," he said.
Winfrey interviewed Cruise at his mountaintop home near Telluride, Colorado, surrounded by the snow-capped Rocky Mountains. The show marked the 25th anniversary of "Risky Business," his breakthrough movie.
Holmes, 29, and Cruise, 45, both greeted Winfrey when she arrived at the sprawling log home, where they gave her moccasins with her name stitched on them waiting in a mud room cubicle marked "Oprah" with a brass plate. Holmes said she loved them both and left them to their interview.
In other comments, Cruise:
-Recalled that he waxed the floor on his hands and knees so he could do a stocking-feet slide across the room in the famous "Risky Business" underwear dance scene.
-Said his comments about Shields "came out wrong," they had been friends, he apologized, and "we're better friends now."
-His Scientology faith is about helping others and respecting their religious beliefs, and is the "exact opposite" to trying to impose that belief on others.
-"I believe in God. There's no way you can be up here and believe there isn't a God."
-Said he has a "good, easy" relationship with ex-wife Nicole Kidman, and suggestions that he doesn't let her see their children are "ridiculous ... we share custody whenever."
-Described Suri as "just magic, she's joy, just joy."
At the end of the interview, Cruise and Winfrey drove off on a snowmobile to a point overlooking the mountain range.
Editing by Andrew Stern and Doina Chiacu