In the latest edition of BBC Radio 4’s Desert Island Discs, Pegg told host Lauren Laverne that he actively avoids mentioning Cruise's ties to the Church of Scientology because he feels it would be a violation of their friendship.
“I don’t ask him about stuff like that because I feel that would be me abusing my privileged access that I get to him, you know what I mean?” Pegg, 53, explained.
The Mission: Impossible franchise star shared that his relationship with Cruise is "just very simple and amiable. We're friends."
“It’s always been a very easy relationship. I think you realize, when you meet the person rather than the thicket of mythology that’s built up around them, it’s a different experience," he said. "I mean, he loves the fame and he really relishes it, it’s all he knows. It energizes him and spurs him on.”
However, Pegg noted that he wouldn't feel the same way about reaching Cruise's level of fame because "I don't think I would appreciate that particularly. I'd find that very stressful and overwhelming."
Despite the circus surrounding Cruise, Pegg says that the actor “kind of appreciates the ridiculousness of it sometimes," and shared that they can even laugh about it. “We joke about it. I mean, I always make fun of him for it, you know, about the things that he can access."
Pegg also shared an interesting incident that occurred when the duo was on a break from filming in South Africa recently. "He decided he wanted to go swim with sharks," said Pegg, who added that Cruise flew them in a helicopter to a seaside part of the country. At the end of the day, Pegg called it “a real Tom Cruise kind of day” due to its extreme nature with an emphasis on adventure.
Pegg also opened up about his struggles with depression and alcoholism during the interview. He noted that he did his best to conceal his difficulties on the 2006 set of Mission: Impossible III when he was "in the heart of where I always dreamed of being." Still, he was miserable.
"I was kind of in this terribly panicky, distressed state. I couldn't figure out why. I was like. .. 'what is this?' Of course, it was because I was depressed and I needed to address that instead of trying to take care of it myself in unadvisable ways," he explained, pinpointing his alcoholism.
With his loved ones particularly concerned about his well-being, Pegg says he became "very sneaky when you have something like that in your life,” he shared. “You learn how to do it without anyone noticing because it takes over. It wants to sustain itself and it will do everything it can to not be stopped." Ultimately, he realized he needed to make some changes in his life, particularly after the 2009 arrival of his daughter Matilda. Around 2010, he cleaned up his act.
“Eventually it just gets to a point when it can’t be hidden, and that’s when, thankfully, I was able to pull out of the dive," he stated, noting that he got help, quit drinking and addressed why he was drinking in the first place.