When asked about his fiancee during an interview aired on the Today show Friday morning, Tom Cruise turned on the charm, beaming with his famous megawatt smile, and sometimes breaking into unrestrained guffaws.
But when host Matt Lauer steered the interview away from talk of marriage and on to psychiatry, the mood became somewhat tense.
"You're saying what, I can't discuss what I wanna discuss?" a visibly agitated Cruise asked Lauer when the conversation turned to the topic of anti-depressants and Ritalin.
The interview started off innocently enough. There were the prerequisite questions about Cruise's soon-to-be released film War of the Worlds and his relationship with fellow actress Katie Holmes.
He gushed over what it was like to work with Steven Spielberg in his new blockbuster, calling the director "the greatest storyteller cinema has ever known."
Cruise was also quite candid about his whirlwind romance.
"I have to tell you. It's just a great time in my life. I'm really happy. And, you know, I'm engaged. I'm going to be married. I can't restrain myself," he said.
In fact, Cruise was so forthcoming, Lauer pointed out that he appeared to be more open about his personal life these days.
"You've been on this show in the past at times where you were in other relationships. And I'd kind of broach the subject of a personal life. And you would very gingerly steer it away," Lauer said.
"That was how we came to know Tom Cruise. And now, you're saying, 'You know what? I'm okay with it.' So, it does seem like a different guy."
Cruise acknowledged the shift, but added that the media outlets pumped out the stories whether he was cooperative or not.
"You've got to understand. All that stuff, they'd still write it. They'd still talk about it. And the thing is, I still feel I will talk about what I feel, what I want to talk about," Cruise said, with Holmes looking on.
When asked by Lauer about naysayers who call the relationship a publicity stunt, Cruise once again dismissed the critics.
"You know what? There's always cynics. There always has been. There always will be," Cruise said.
However, as the interview progressed, the discussion became a little tense.
In an earlier television interview on Access Hollywood, Cruise criticized Brooke Shields for taking anti-depressants to deal with her postpartum depression, as Scientology teaches that modern psychiatry and its medications are harmful.
When Lauer asked Cruise about his comments he defended his position, saying he disagreed with psychiatry even before he became a Scientologist.
"Look, you've got to understand, I really care about Brooke Shields. I think, here's a wonderful and talented woman. And I want to see her do well. And I know that psychiatry is a pseudo-science," Cruise said.
Cruise became increasingly visibly agitated as Lauer asked: "Isn't there a possibility that - do you examine the possibility that these things do work for some people?"
When Lauer pressed Cruise on the topic, he said: "Matt, Matt, Matt, you don't even -- you're glib, you don't even know what Ritalin is."
At one point, Cruise told Lauer, "You don't know the history of psychiatry, I do."
When Lauer said he knew people on Ritalin who seemed to have benefited from the drug, Cruise said that wasn't enough.
"But you're now telling me that your experiences with the people I know, which are zero, are more important than my experiences," said Lauer, who appeared composed despite his resolute words.
"What do you mean by that?" Cruise asked.
"You're telling me what's worked for people I know or hasn't worked for people I know. I'm telling you, I've lived with these people and they're better," Lauer said.
When Cruise suggested Lauer was advocating Ritalin, Lauer said: "I am not. I'm telling you in their cases, in their individual case, it worked."
Eventually, Lauer said he recognized they could "go around in circles on this for awhile," and asked whether one of Cruise's goals was for more people to understand Scientology.
Cruise agreed that this was a priority.
"How do you go about that?" Lauer asked.
"You just communicate about it.... If I want to know something, I go and find out. Because I don't talk about things that I don't understand."
"You're so passionate about it," Lauer said.
"I'm passionate about learning. I'm passionate about life, Matt," Cruise responded.
Some Hollywood observers believe this more-forthcoming Cruise is because of a recent change in publicists.
"Our most in-control celebrity, the same man deeply devoted to the achieve-your-goals discipline of his Hollywood religion, is suddenly, without warning, improvising his media message and letting it all hang Scientologically out," writes Ken Tucker writes in New York magazine.
Tucker believes Cruise wouldn't have had any of his rambling outbursts under the watch of his former publicist Pat Kingsley.
Apparently, Kingsley always made sure Cruise's religion was off limits.
But as he entered his 40s, Cruise wanted to talk more about Scientology.
So he replaced Kingsley in 2004 with his older sister and fellow Scientologist Lee Anne Mapother De Vette.
"How edifying to see a superstar saying things the way he wants to say them, unmediated. Even if some of those things are offensive, or dogmatic, or just plain incomprehensible," Tucker writes.
"Why would he say them if they weren't what he actually felt? He's not winning anyone over with his charm offensive, and that fact only makes his words seem more, not less, candid."