It's safe to say that 2012 has been a hell of a year for Katie Holmes.

At the beginning of the year, we really only knew her as that chick from Dawson's Creek who became Tom Cruise's wife. But after their divorce last June, Katie quickly reintroduced herself to the public in a big way. Within a matter of months, she relaunched her Broadway career, had her clothing line take part in NYC's Fashion Week and has several movie projects hitting the big screen next year. Most importantly, she's looking healthier and happier than ever before. In honor of her 34th birthday, check out the top 10 reasons why 2012 may have been Katie's best year ever!

 

1. She Regained Her Identity

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For years, we really only knew Katie as Tom's wife. But in the wake of her divorce, she's been giving more interviews and revealing more information about herself than ever before. Now we see her as a businesswoman, a mother and a pretty stylish celebrity instead of that girl standing behind Tom all the time.

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2. She Can Ride the Subway Anonymously

One thing that Katie was determined to do after the split was to give Suri (and herself) as normal a life as possible. The private jets may be a thing of the past, but Katie can quietly ride the subway or hail a taxi like the rest of her fellow New Yorkers. And while a visit to Whole Foods was a media circus just a few months ago, it seems like a lot of the crazy attention has died down for her.

3. Her Divorce Was Relatively Painless

When news of the divorce first made headlines, we all braced ourselves for a long and nasty court battle. After all, Tom's a multi-millionaire, they have a daughter together and you knew that the Church of Scientology was looking for as much dirt as possible on Katie. But just two weeks after the divorce was filed, both parties came to an amicable agreement. The agreement is permanently confidential though and its terms will not be disclosed.

4. She Won Primary Custody of Suri

While we don't know the exact details of the settlement, all reports and signs point to Katie winning primary custody of Suri and Tom being given generous visitation rights. And with that, Katie decided to stop home schooling for Suri and enroll her in a local private school. "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," said Tom and Katie in a statement.

5. She Can Worship Whatever the Hell She Wants

Since splitting with Tom, Katie has fully removed herself from Scientology. She registered as a parishioner at the Church of St. Francis Xavier in NYC and enrolled Suri in an all-girls Catholic school. Not only that, but Katie's church is known for its inclusive thinking and welcoming of gays.

6. She's Relaunching Her Movie Career

While she was married to Tom, Katie's movie career was limited to small parts that were almost universally panned. She even won a Razzie this year for the worst screen couple/ensemble in Jack and Jill. But now she's trying to revitalize her big screen career with two major projects. Earlier this summer, she finished shooting a film about a single mom called Molly, which she co-wrote, co-produced and stars in. In addition, she's set to film a romcom with Gossip Girl actor Chace Crawford called Responsible Adults, in which Chace discovers his latest crush babysat for him 15 years earlier.

7. She Made a Triumphant Return to Broadway

Within days of her divorce's announcement, she immediately tried to reinvent herself to the public as a working girl. She signed on for another Broadway run, this time in a play called Dead Accounts, which premiered last month. And the general consensus among critics was that while the play itself lacked substance, Katie did a good job making the most of what she was given in the script.

8. Her Fashion Line is Booming

For the last three years, Katie had been relatively quietly working on a fashion line called Holmes & Yang. However, she unveiled the latest collection for her line in a very big way by having it premiere at NYC's Fashion Week last September. And while their latest pieces were hardly groundbreaking, she managed to hold her own against the far more seasoned designers also showcasing their haute couture.

9. She Scored a Lucrative Cosmetics Deal

It's been a long time since Katie was a spokeswoman for something, but she signed a lucrative cosmetics deal earlier this summer with Bobbi Brown cosmetics. “This is my first foray into beauty products and the evolution of a look,” she said. “You want the hair and makeup to support the woman, just like you want the clothes to support the woman. You don't want to lose the woman. That's how Jeanne and I design."

10. She's Single and Loving It

While some people might be feeling a bit lonely after ending a marriage, Katie is apparently having the time of her life as a newly single woman. "Katie believes in love and hopes to get remarried one day but has absolutely no plans on dating anytime soon,” said a source. “She knows bringing a new man into the situation would only cause more stress for Suri right now.”

What's your favorite Katie Holmes moment of 2012?

Photos courtesy of Getty Images, Elle Magazine and Bobbi Brown cosmetics