Katie Holmes' Hometown Reacts

The giant engagement ring and an Eiffel Tower proposal have quelled most doubts in Katie Holmes' hometown about her relationship with Tom Cruise.

It hasn't, though, stopped the squawking about her sudden interest in Scientology Cruise's religion.

So many are surprised because they say it all seems out of character for the actress known for her girl next door charm.

Holmes, 26, graduated from an all-girls Catholic school where nuns wander the leafy campus. And on her trips home for holidays, she still would attend Mass with her parents.

"I wonder what the nuns are thinking now," said Jeanne Meyer, a Toledo native. "I'm surprised she's going so far from her origins."

Wholesome, innocent and genuine are words normally associated with Holmes. Her whirlwind romance and newfound curiosity in a mysterious religion don't fit the image created.

"She just seems like she's lost," said Aimee Meara, 24. "Since she's been dating Tom Cruise, she doesn't know the person she is."

Others aren't as concerned. "Everyone's entitled to their own beliefs," said Karen Rosebrock, a Catholic in Toledo.

Cruise, 42, and Holmes, who went public with their relationship in April, were engaged a week ago in Paris.

On NBC television's "Today" show Friday, Cruise was asked if he could be with someone who doesn't have an interest in Scientology.

"Scientology is something that you don't understand," he told interviewer Matt Lauer. "It's like you could be a Christian and be a Scientologist."

The actress's uncle, Richard Holmes, said he's not concerned about how she will hold up under the scrutiny.

"She's a very intelligent and mature girl," he said.

He dismissed those who question the relationship. "They don't know her," he said. "They don't have the slightest idea. We back her 100 percent."

And about her decision to take Scientology classes, an applied religious philosophy that critics say is a cult engaged in mind control. "Let him without sin cast the first stone," uncle Richard said.

Others in the family are clearly tiring of the attention.

"We're happy for them," sighed older sister Tammy. "That's all I'm going to say."

It seems like everyone who's ever come into contact with Holmes has been bombarded with interview requests from reporters.

"It drives me insane," said Wendy Davis, who five years ago bought the modeling and acting agency where Holmes got her start. Davis, who has never met the actress, said her students think the attention on Holmes' engagement is silly.

Holmes is the youngest of five siblings, the daughter of an attorney in a town where hot dogs and bowling still equal a decent night out.

She got her big break at a modeling show in New York in 1995. During her junior year of high school, she spent six weeks studying acting in California, mailing her assignments to her teachers in Toledo.

Still, she stayed grounded despite appearing in her first movie, "The Ice Storm," before graduating from Notre Dame Academy.

She turned down an audition for television series "Dawson's Creek" because she was finishing a high school production. She, of course, still got the part.

Her latest film, "Batman Begins," opened last week.

Now those in her hometown are left to wonder if the girl who always embraced her Midwest roots has changed.

"Maybe she's becoming like all the other people in Hollywood," said Rachel Snitch, who graduated from Holmes' high school in 2000.

By John Seewer