updated 05/14/2012 AT 11:00 AM ET
•originally published 05/15/2012 AT 10:00 AM ET
What better place to bare all – even as one’s 50th birthday approaches – than in the pages of Playboy?
Tom Cruise, who hits the half-century mark in July, sat down for a candid and lengthy Q&A that appears in the magazine’s June issue, on newsstands May 18. PEOPLE has been provided an exclusive first look.
Asked why he “sued over some particularly personal things that have been written about you and your family,” Cruise tells Playboy, “They know I mean it, that if I have to, I will sue.”
He also says, “Does refuting things help? Not really. There comes a point when you just have to go, ‘You know what? Here’s how I’ve lived my life: I’ve never been late to a set. I make films I believe in. I feel privileged to be able to do what I love.’ You just have to keep going and remember that.”
As for the gossip, “I hear it, I read it, I get it.” he says, “But life is not a matter of trying to prove anything to anybody.”
When the rumors go too far, however, he says, “You start with a letter saying, ‘Okay, you know it’s not true. Apologize.’ But with certain ones you have to go, ‘Okay, you crossed a line, and now you have the attention of my lawyers.’ [laughs] When it involves your kids, you have to go, ‘Here’s the line.’ ”