An apologetic Cruise returned to the morning program Monday to sit for his first interview with Lauer since criticizing Brooke Shields for taking anti-depressants in 2005.
"It's not what I had intended," Cruise said. "In looking at myself, I thought, `man, that came across as arrogant.' ... That's one of those things you go, OK, I could have absolutely handled that better."
That now-infamous conversation grew heated when the star told Lauer he was glib and didn't know about psychiatry.
Cruise, who has been a Scientologist for 25 years, agrees with the religion's long-running campaign against psychiatry and the pharmaceutical industry.
But in hindsight, "I thought I didn't communicate it the way that I wanted to communicate it," the 46-year-old actor says of defending his controversial views in the interview. "And that's also — that's not who I am. ... That's not the person that I am."
Lauer also took a moment to clear something up: He and Cruise remained friendly following their TV debate.
"There was no animosity," Lauer said. "As a matter of fact, at the end of the interview, we got up and shook hands and put our (arms) around each other."
In October, Cruise made a surprise cameo at a Friar's Club roast of the "Today" show host. He joked that Lauer had given him some advice before his couch-jumping episode on Oprah Winfrey's talk show: "Go crazy. Trust me. Trust me. People will love you for it."
Cruise is making the rounds on talk-shows to promote his new movie, "Valkyrie."
He stars as a would-be assassin of Adolf Hitler in "Valkyrie," which is to be released Dec. 25.