Tom Cruise not only thinks he trains harder than Olympic athletes, he believes his job as a professional actor is as grueling as fighting the war in Afghanistan -- this according to legal docs obtained by TMZ.
As we reported, Cruise recently sat for a deposition in his $50 million libel suit against a magazine publisher that claimed he abandoned daughter Suri -- and his quotes are GOLD.
First, the Middle East -- Tom says his location shoots are just like serving a tour in Afghanistan, "That's what it feels like. And certainly on this last movie, it was brutal. It was brutal."
As for his physical training, Tom said, "There is difficult physical stamina and preparation. Sometimes I've spent months, a year, and sometimes two years preparing for a single film." But the kicker, he adds, "A sprinter for the Olympics, they only have to run two races a day. When I'm shooting, I could potentially have to run 30, 40 races a day, day after day."
But it's not all grenades and triathlons ... Tom says he's only flown commercial ONCE in the last 4 years ... and that was because he had no choice.
And there's this ... Tom says the skills he's picked up along the way have provided shortcuts in his relationship with Suri. For example, he says it's not always necessary for him to be physically around Suri, because he can tell her vivid stories on the phone that come to life. Tom says, "I've gotten very good at [talking on the phone]. I've gotten very good at it. I tell wonderful stories and they like hearing it."