Katie Holmes and Tom Cruise on December 19, 2011 in New York City. Credit: James Devaney/WireImage

Did Tom Cruise really not see this one coming -- or was he just making good use of those acting skills?

While accepting his Friars Club Foundation honor in NYC just two weeks ago, Cruise did more than just acknowledge his wife of five and a half years, who was noticeably absent from the event -- he raved about her.

"My wife who couldn't be here tonight, I have to thank," the Rock of Ages star, 49, told the crowd. "She made this suit for me. She's amazing. I'm very lucky to be married to her."

The reason for Holmes' absence? "She's in China working," Cruise explained. "And my oldest daughter, Bella, couldn't be here. She's also working. The women are all working!" (Suri, 6, and Cruise's son with Nicole Kidman, Conor, 17, attended the gala with their dad.)

The Friars Club bash wasn't the only recent high-profile event Holmes, 33, skipped out on. The Kennedys star was also a no-show for Cruise's Rock of Ages premiere on June 8.

On Friday, Holmes' attorney broke the news that the couple, who wed in November 2006, were parting ways.

"Katie's primary concern remains, as it always has been, her daughter's best interest," her lawyer Jonathan Wolfe told Us Weekly in a statement. "This is a personal and private matter for Katie and her family."