NEW YORK – Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes reached a settlement Monday, legally sorting out their divorce with the same speed that kicked off their much-scrutinized romance seven years ago.

Just as Hollywood was settling in for what was expected to be a long and nasty separation, attorneys for the couple said the pair settled less than two weeks after Holmes unexpectedly filed for divorce.

In a joint statement, Cruise, 50, and Holmes, 33, asked for privacy for their family with 6-year-old daughter Suri.

“We are committed to working together as parents to accomplish what is in our daughter Suri’s best interests. We want to keep matters affecting our family private and express our respect for each other’s commitment to each of our respective beliefs and support each other’s roles as parents,” read the statement from Cruise’s publicist Amanda Lundberg and Holmes representative Nanci Ryder.

The rapid settlement saves the couple from a public battle that was sure to be covered vigorously by the celebrity news media. In the already voluminous tabloid reporting, Holmes has been portrayed with overwhelmingly more sympathy. The emerging narrative was of a locked-away Holmes breaking free from the servitude of a strange, corrupting marriage.

Us Weekly reported that the couple “fought viciously” over Scientology parenting. The Daily News trumpeted Holmes entering “a new phase.” A TMZ headline blared “Tom treated me like a robot.”

That may also be the most convenient view of a relationship that even at its start spawned “Free Katie!” T-shirts. In 2005, the couple publically announced their relationship in Rome, famously celebrated it on “The Oprah Winfrey Show” and got engaged on the Eiffel Tower in Paris. They were wed in November 2006 at a castle in Bracciano, Italy.

The Church of Scientology didn’t want to be portrayed as the schism between the couple. The quick settlement and joint statement may put out some of that fire.

Cruise and Holmes may have saved more than just their dignity by not fighting out their divorce in court. A drawn-out custody battle would have likely cost more than a million dollars in legal fees.

Cruise has two children with his previous wife, Nicole Kidman. The actor was also previously married to Mimi Rogers. This was Holmes’ first marriage.

Band drummer arrested after Bangor concert

LOS ANGELES – Rocker Ted Nugent has made it perfectly clear over the years that he won’t tolerate the government trampling on his liberty or that of his bandmates. This time, however, the famously right-wing singer-guitarist might have to concede that Johnny Law had a point.

According to police in Bangor, Maine, Nugent’s drummer, 55-year-old Mick Brown, was arrested Sunday after allegedly stealing a golf cart from Bangor’s waterfront pavilion, where Nugent had just performed with Styx and REO Speedwagon.

When confronted by officers, an intoxicated Brown allegedly tried to flee in the golf cart, according to police. Brown reportedly shoved an officer away from the commandeered cart before another officer pulled him out of the vehicle.

Brown was booked on charges of operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol, driving to endanger, theft and assault, and released on $4,000 bail.

Even while police say the drummer was boozily evading arrest in the golf cart, he still had the wherewithal to pull two women on board.

Guthrie makes debut as ‘Today’ co-host

NEW YORK – Savannah Guthrie made her official debut as Matt Lauer’s co-host on NBC’s “Today” show Monday, shaking off nerves and starting the longtime dominant morning show’s effort to move past a rough patch in its history.

The 40-year-old Guthrie, NBC’s chief legal analyst, said she was honored to have one of those rare jobs “you can describe as fun and actually mean it.”

“This was a little unexpected, as we all know, but I just want to say that I’m so proud and honored to be in a place occupied by so many women I admire,” Guthrie said. She named all her predecessors from Ann Curry to Jane Pauley. After saying she hoped she didn’t miss anyone, Lauer replied that “you’ll hear if you did.”