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Tom Cruise: "I Could Have Handled That Better"

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Dec. 15 2008, Published 12:58 p.m. ET

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More than three years after their now-infamous verbal sparring match on The Today Show, Tom Cruise and Matt Lauer played nice during their interview on Monday morning.

"This is not Rocky II," Matt said about the much-hyped one-on-one. "This is not a rematch."

If anything, Tom's mood during Monday's live interview was apologetic. "I went back and I looked at it," he said of the June 2005 face-off that saw the Oscar-nominated star launching into an anti-psychiatry rant on the hit morning show. "After looking at it, I really thought... you know, it's not what I had intended... In looking at myself, you know, that came across as arrogant."

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Tom later added, "That's one of those things you go, 'Okay, I could have absolutely handled that better.'"

However it wasn't all doom-and-gloom for the Valkyrie star. "It was a subject matter that's important," he explained. "And now it's something that's being debated in the public."

For Tom, it's not a matter of being on the wrong side of the issue — but rather a matter of not doing a good job of explaining his point of view. "I didn't communicate it the way I wanted to communicate it," he told Matt. "That's not who I am; that's not the person that I am."

Having gotten a reality check from the negative publicity that followed the original interview, Tom says he's learned to keep his priorities straight.

"I'm here to entertain people," he explained. "That's who I am and what I want to do."

But don't expect the outspoken actor to stay silent on the topic of his controversial religious beliefs. He's just going to pick his battles more appropriately.

"I think there's a time and a place for it," he told Matt about his speaking on behalf of Scientology. "When people are tuning in to hear about my movie, that's what I'm here to talk about."

Off the topic of Scientology, Matt asked Tom if he and wife Katie Holmes are planning on having a baby brother or sister for their daughter Suri anytime soon.

"That's a question for the women," he laughed. "It's really their choice, isn't it?"

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