05/25/2010 11:31 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Tom Cruise In 'Esquire': Talks Marriage, Kids, Absentee Father

Tom Cruise covers Esquire's June/July 'How To Be A Man' issue, and inside gives an interview about coming to terms with his absentee father, how he got his start, jumping on Oprah's couch and his bond with his wife and kids. Here are some excerpts:

On his father:
"I remember looking at my dad and wanting to understand him. I didn't want to just write the guy off. He was lost. He was overwhelmed by life ... My mother basically did all the work, and then they got separated and I didn't see him for a long time. He didn't try to help the family financially or spiritually, and I lived with the effects of the chaos."

On mending their bridges:
"Risky Business had become a hit. I hadn't seen my father in about ten years. I found out he was dying, and I went to see him in the hospital. He knew that he'd blown it. There was deep regret. I think he was torturing himself. We tend to do that. All I could do was tell him, 'Look, it's okay.' I wasn't going to live in blame and regret. I wanted to understand what happened. I wanted to understand, so I could answer the question, What can I do to make things better? I looked at my father there dying and thought, How can I not be that guy?"

On becoming a father:
"I'll never forget the moment I became a dad. But it's hard to describe -- that level of responsibility, the desire to give such joy. The clarity: Nothing is more important than this. I remember that first night, just staring at Bella. I was checking her every second, just looking at her, feeling that immediate bond. I was probably looking at her so much that I was keeping her up.

On falling asleep with Katie Holmes:
"Because we do live in a cynical world. It's easy to be cynical. Making the choice not to be cynical is important. You can keep dwelling on what didn't work, or you can figure out how to fix it. Which is what being a parent is all about. You know, I'm married to such a special woman. Every night before we go to sleep, Kate and I look at each other and it's like, How'd we do today?"