At the same time, unfavorable comparisons between her and fellow Dawson’s Creek alumna Michelle Williams became painfully inescapable. As Williams became a figure of sympathy because of her husband (the late Heath Ledger), Holmes became a joke because of hers. Holmes is said (scout’s honor!) to have been enraged by Williams’s success. While Holmes was playing Jackie O. in a mini-series that ended up airing on Reelz—that’s Channel 238 in the Time Warner NY cable system, if you’re wondering—Williams was playing JFK’s sometime-mistress Marilyn Monroe, in a feature film, en route to a third Oscar nomination. But Scientology, or rather its terrible reputation, offered a way out. Holmes, unable to get the kinds of roles she wanted, realized she could cast herself in the part of a lifetime. Like Truman in The Truman Show, she finally grasped her ontological status as a character in a fiction, and that self-awareness propelled her out of the story and crashing through the fourth wall. She knew a good third-act twist when she saw one.

Vulture’s Inquiry Into the Very Public Private Marriage of Katie Holmes and Tom Cruise offering some interesting perspective