As it turns out, Tom Cruise has been performing his own stunts since childhood. While promoting Oblivion on The Tonight Show With Jay Leno Apr. 24, the 50-year-old actor shed some insight into his daredevil past.
"My first motorcycle was a little Yamaha," he recalled. "My [single] mother was away working for the weekend and I'd stored it in the basement. I didn't tell her I bought it because I didn't want her to panic right away. I was about 10 years old."
Cruise continued, "I was allowed to get whatever my money could buy. I was working on the motorcycle, she left on Friday, and I had [an elderly] neighbor who was always supposed to kind of watch over us."
After fixing up the motorcycle, Cruise and his pals decided to take it for a test spin outside. "Our neighbors had these two beautiful cars that they loved, and they kept them very close together. Of course it's 2 in the morning and I'm so excited -- I've just got to ride it a little bit. I've got to hear the engine!" the single father of three said. "Me and my buddies were out there and I started this thing up and I was like, 'I'm going to take this right across, just to the front yard. I just wanna feel a bit and then I'll go ride around.' . . . There was a little lip in the front of our yard, and when I started heading toward that lip I thought, 'Man, the throttle's stuck.'"
Struggling to find the brakes, Cruise braced himself for an inevitable collision. "Now I'm heading for the two cars," he said. "I'm like, 'Oh, no, no, no, no, no!' I managed somehow to sneak it right between the two bumpers. The bike went boom, stopped instantly, and I flew off into the next yard like Wile E. Coyote. It was like a cartoon! I thought I was knocked out, but I was just kind of quickly staggering for the bike because the lights came on in the neighbor's house. I got it in and tucked it in the basement."
Because the damage was minimal ("I only disrupted the bumpers on both cars"), Cruise was able to repair the damage quickly. Luckily, the Jack Reacher star's neighbor kept his secret. "I actually told [my mom] years later," Cruise admitted. "I came clean with everything!"