The success-driven, image-conscious Type 3 Achiever with the security-conscious, risk-averse Type 6 Skeptic — do they work as a couple or do they drive each other crazy?

Like all Enneagram couples, this pair can be blissful or miserable, depending mainly on their levels of awareness. With high levels of consciousness, this is a stable, supportive partnership based on shared values and a true heart connection. And with low levels of awareness, this is a lifeless relationship peppered with evasiveness, withdrawal, and often an eventual split.

If we want to see the spectrum play out in real life, we can study the relationship between Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes.

What they got right

We’ll start with the strengths of this pair. A Type 3/Type 6 couple shares the values of hard work, discipline, determination, and a drive for comfort and security. Both are willing to put in effort, energy, and sacrifice to reach their targets. They can have a high degree of respect and admiration for each other.

The Type 3 brings optimism, a can-do attitude, and a sense of expansion and possibility. They present confidently to the outside world and communicate positively and easily with others. They give the relationship polish and a drive to be the best.  

Remember Cruise during the early period of TomKat? He used to gush about Katie Holmes, and you just need to go to YouTube and type in “Tom Cruise couch scene” to  watch him lose his mind talking about Holmes on Oprah Winfrey’s show. Staged? Who knows, but it was typical Tom Cruise. As a Type 3 Achiever, he fuses love with the appearance of love. Some found it phony, some found it sweet, but we all remembered it… For a Type 3, appearance matters a lot.

The Type 6 offers reliability, a strong sense of duty and responsibility, and an eye for potential pitfalls. They balance the Type 3’s drive to constantly be achieving with a reminder about the value of human relationship and connection with other people. With their collaborative, interpersonal approach, they can take the edge off the Type 3’s competitive drive.

Katie likes stability which is why it was possible for her to go from her 5-year relationship with Chris Klein ending in March of 2005 immediately into the arms of Tom Cruise who was first seen with Holmes in April of 2005. By June they were engaged and by October they were expecting their daughter Suri. Whirlwind? Yes, but it worked for Holmes because it gave her the stability that is very appealing to her Type 6 need for security. 

She seemed to effortlessly convert to Scientology that same year, another thing her psychology might not have resisted since it gave her clear structure and guidelines to follow. Many, but not all, Type 6s are drawn to religious systems that give them a framework for living. Within their dynamic, Holmes was always the relatable partner, the sympathetic character. If we were rooting for this couple, it was because of Holmes.

For many years, the relationship seemed to work as a stable, supportive partnership. Both were each other’s best cheerleader, and they seemed happy in the life they had built.

Where it all went wrong

The divorce announcement on June 29, 2012 seemed abrupt, not just to the outside world, but to Cruise himself. But through the lens of the Enneagram, it makes more sense.  

In May of 2012, in a "Playboy" interview, Cruise called Holmes "an extraordinary person," and added, "I'm just happy, and I have been since the moment I met her. What we have is very special." They seemed happy, which is why it was confusing when just one month later, Holmes filed for divorce. We don’t know the intimate details of their relationship, but from an Enneagram perspective the theory can help us to understand. 

The Type 3/Type 6 pair have the potential to be workaholics and to look outside themselves to feel secure and valuable. It is easy for both to lose their own internal compass and to get lost in the opinions and impressions of others.  

The Type 6 often gets frustrated with the relentless work orientation of the Type 3. They can get irritated by the Type 3 putting a positive spin on everything. And it is safe to say that in Holmes’ case, her worst-case thinking mind was starting to focus on the impact Cruise’s growing devotion to Scientology would have on their daughter Suri.  

For a Type 6, catastrophic thinking comes naturally, and this topic gave her lots of material for anxiety. It’s not unlikely that this, coupled with the fact the pair had lost their emotional connection, led her to strategize a swift and final divorce from Cruise, giving her primary custody of Suri.

The Type 3 psychology of Cruise can be seen in the divorce as well. He seemed genuinely blindsided by the divorce request and buried himself in his work. And in typical Type 3 form, the divorce itself addressed the issue of appearances. Their agreement stipulated Katie Holmes wouldn’t be seen in the public eye with a new partner for at least five years. 

Why? Because it would look bad, something Cruise’s Type 3s psychology wouldn’t tolerate well.

Summing up

Relationships are extremely complex and if you weren’t there yourself, it is nearly impossible to understand what exactly happened in the marriage breakdown of TomKat. That said, systems like the Enneagram can give us valuable insight into habits of attention, behavioral patterns and basic fears and basic desires. If used properly, these systems can be one more tool in our personal development toolkit to help us better  understand ourselves and others in our most important relationships.

Lynn Roulo
Lynn Roulo is an Enneagram instructor and Kundalini Yoga teacher who teaches a unique combination of the two systems, combining the physical benefits of Kundalini Yoga with the psychological growth tools of the Enneagram. She has written two books combining the two systems. Headstart for Happiness, her first book is an introduction to the systems. The Nine Keys, her second book, focuses on the two systems in intimate relationships. Learn more about Lynn and her work here at