STILL badly shaken by her brutal divorce, KATIE HOLMES feels helplessly trapped, sources say.
Her superstar ex remains in almost constant contact to keep tabs on their beloved daughter Suri, so Katie can’t ever feel completely free.
“Because of Suri, Katie is tied to Tom for life whether she likes it or not,” said an insider.
“If I were in her shoes, I’d be looking over my shoulder every step to see Tom’s reaction. I know how she must feel. It would be torture almost 24 hours a day. I don’t see how Katie would ever be able to relax.
“However she looks at it – she’s trapped.”
One thing that must be spooking Katie just months after their shocking split is a series of Scientology recruitment posters featuring a Cruise look-alike near her New York City home, friends say. The emotionally vulnerable single mom has also struggled to face what would have been the once-golden couple’s sixth wedding anniversary, according to pals.
Meanwhile, she’s got no public romantic prospects, and to make matters worse, reports allege that Tom wants to patch things up with Katie!
Now, with Thanksgiving and Christmas looming, insiders believe that Katie, 33, will be dreading the tug-of-love she’ll face with Tom, 50, over where 6-year-old Suri will spend the holidays, sources say.
Katie was awarded full custody of Suri, but the couple’s divorce papers – obtained exclusively by The ENQUIRER – clearly stipulate that she and Tom must maintain close contact regarding the little girl’s care. Now friends fear that will only intensify Katie’s feelings of powerlessness.
“The ongoing communications between Katie and Tom about Suri’s schooling, visitation, her health or his financial obligations are certain to be a constant reminder of the control that Tom will probably always have,” explained a close friend.
Adding to her anxiety is the fact that the couple would have celebrated their sixth wedding anniversary on Nov. 18.
“She’s got to be torn up emotionally because it dredges up both good and bad memories of their marriage,” explained a source.
And in many ways, Katie STILL won’t be able to escape Tom. Adding to her current heartache, this year will be the first time that she and the “Mission: Impossible” star won’t celebrate Thanksgiving and Christmas with Suri as a family, sources say.
“There will be a battle over Suri’s affection for the holidays,” the friend pointed out.
“Katie must be fretting over where Suri should spend Thanksgiving and what she should buy her for Christmas. There’s always the worry that Tom will outdo Katie and make her feel inadequate as a mother.”
Not even superstorm Sandy could break Tom’s hold. When the hurricane hit the northeast, Tom was working in England. Phone service to New York was disrupted, but sources say that didn’t stop him from trying to reach his beloved Suri, who’d moved to a swanky hotel on the city’s Upper East Side with Katie after their plush apartment in Chelsea lost power.
“Katie must have already been out of of her mind worrying about their safety and then she had to deal with Tom trying to call from London,” said the source.
“It must have brought back all the unhappy memories she had during their marriage. And Katie must have buckled at the knees when she saw one in a series of Scientology recruiting posters in the subway near her home,” the source added.
One of them features a hunky Tom Cruise look-alike staring at the Empire State building from a balcony with the words: “Searching for answers to life? Scientology. Know yourself. Know life.”
Said a source: “The proximity of those posters to her home must have chilled Katie to the bone. It’s like she can never escape him.”
As for Katie’s love life, the only man who’s been spotted getting cozy with her is actor Josh Hamilton, her co-star in the upcoming Broadway play “Dead Accounts.”
“Josh is very attentive to Katie, and they clearly have great chemistry on-stage and off,” said the source. “But he’s married, and that makes him off-limits for Katie.”
In addition to socializing with Hamilton and Jeremy Strong, her cast mate in the 2010 movie “The Romantics,” Katie has been linked with screenwriter Alex Schemmer. She’s also been in contact with her former “Dawson’s Creek” co-star Joshua Jackson.
“Katie really wants to start dating again,” said the source. “But now she will have to struggle with how to introduce a new man to Suri, and get her to accept him, when Tom remains such a huge presence in their lives.”
The stress seems to be chiseling away at her looks and emotional state, say sources. In the wake of the hurricane, Katie was spotted looking lonely and stressed in a dowdy gray sweater with her hair pulled back as she walked in New York City on Nov. 2.
Meanwhile, it appears that Tom is desperately trying to win her back, said the source.
“I think Tom has had time to think since the divorce,” noted the source. “He still loves Katie and wants his family back. He wants Katie to bring Suri on a family vacation with him. But reconciling with Tom is probably the LAST thing that Katie wants.”