War of the Worlds’ Dakota Fanning Still Receives Birthday Gifts from Tom Cruise After 19 Years



  • Tom Cruise’s generosity is legendary in Hollywood – he even sends Dakota Fanning a birthday gift every year since they worked together.
  • Many big Hollywood names receive Cruise’s Christmas cake, including Kirsten Dunst, Tom Hanks, and Jon Hamm – a coconut Bundt cake.
  • Cruise’s kindness goes beyond gifts – he once covered his sister’s college tuition with his first big paycheck.

Despite only working together on one movie, nearly two decades ago, Dakota Fanning has confirmed that Tom Cruise still gives her a birthday gift every year. The pair worked together on 2005’s War of the Worlds, an action-heavy adaptation of H.G. Wells’ seminal sci-fi novel. Fanning was just 11 years old when she starred in Steven Spielberg’s adaptation, with Cruise being 43 at the time.

In a recent interview with Harper’s Bazaar, Fanning was asked who gave her the first cellphone she owned. Jokingly, fellow interviewee Andrew Scott said “It’s gotta be some Hollywood icon. Tom Cruise?” to which Fanning coolly replied “Yeah!” Fanning went on to say it was a Motorola Razr and that “I didn’t have anybody to call or text at that time… I loved having it.”

Fanning then revealed that Cruise has bought her a birthday gift every year since they worked together, even now. “Tom sends me a birthday gift every year since that birthday. That’s really nice.” The pair haven’t worked on any movies since War of the Worlds, but they clearly still keep in touch. Fanning didn’t divulge what any other gifts were.

Tom Cruise is Famous in Hollywood for His Gifts

While Cruise buying Fanning a birthday gift every year for the past 19 years seems generous, it’s actually a small part of Cruise’s reputation as a generous actor. The Tom Cruise Christmas Cake list is almost as iconic as the actor’s tendency to run in every movie he stars in. While the number of people on the list is unknown, 14 actors (according to People) have publicly spoken about Cruise’s Christmas cake. As well as getting a birthday present, Fanning is also on Cruise’s cake list.

As you would expect, the list features some big Hollywood names. Kirsten Dunst, Glen Powell, Angela Bassett, Hayley Atwell, Rosie O’Donnell, Jay Ellis, Cary Elwes, Tom Hanks, Jon Hamm, Miles Teller, Cobie Smulders, Graham Norton, and Brooke Shields have all spoken about Cruise’s signature cake. The cake comes from the actor’s favorite bakery, Doan’s Bakery in California, and is a coconut Bundt cake with white chocolate and cream cheese frosting. Dunst recently revealed that she actually receives two cakes as her husband, Jesse Plemons, also gets the same cake from Cruise.


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That still isn’t the most generous thing Cruise has done for his friends and family. During an appearance on The Graham Norton Show in 2018, Cruise and the rest of his Mission: Impossible – Fallout cast mates revealed what they did with their first big paychecks. After Henry Cavill said he bought himself an Aston Martin, Cruise said he used his first paycheck to cover his sister’s college tuition.

Fanning currently stars in Netflix’s Ripley alongside Andrew Scott. The Limited Series adapts Patricia Highsmith’s acclaimed novel The Talented Mr. Ripley, and follows the titular con-man after being hired by a wealthy father to travel to Italy and convince his spoiled son to return home.



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