NEW YORK (AP) -- Tom Cruise says his father was abusive and that school, where he faced other bullies, was difficult, in an upcoming issue of Parade magazine.
"He was a bully and a coward," the 43-year-old actor says of his father, Thomas Cruise Mapother III. "He was the kind of person where, if something goes wrong, they kick you. It was a great lesson in my life -- how he'd lull you in, make you feel safe and then, bang!
"For me, it was like, 'There's something wrong with this guy. Don't trust him. Be careful around him.' There's that anxiety."
Cruise has two children, Connor, 11, and Isabella, 13, from his marriage to Nicole Kidman, and his 27-year-old fiancee, Katie Holmes, is in the final stages of her pregnancy with the couple's first child.
The star of the upcoming film, "Mission: Impossible III," also says he was bullied regularly in the 15 different schools he attended in 12 years. (He graduated from Glen Ridge High School in Glen Ridge, New Jersey, in 1980.)
"So many times the big bully comes up, pushes me," he says. "Your heart's pounding, you sweat, and you feel like you're going to vomit. I'm not the biggest guy, I never liked hitting someone, but I know if I don't hit that guy hard he's going to pick on me all year.
"I go, 'You better fight.' I just laid it down. I don't like bullies."
In 1974, when Cruise was 11, his parents divorced. Cruise's mother, Mary Lee, moved her family to Louisville, Kentucky, her hometown, the magazine says in its April 9 issue.
Ten years later, Cruise says he reunited with his father, who was "in the hospital dying of cancer, and he would only meet me on the basis that I didn't ask him anything about the past."
"When I saw him in pain, I thought, 'Wow, what a lonely life,' " Cruise says. "He was in his late 40s. It was sad."