Everyone knows the eccentric, strange, bewildering nature of the Hollywood heartthrob Tom Cruise. Those are just a few adjectives that could be used to describe the star, and they mainly stem from his fascination and obsession with the extreme “religious” faction, the Church of Scientology, founded by science fiction author L. Ron Hubbard.
If Tom just played actor for Hollywood and kept his personal life low-key, then no one would know about his tumultuous relationship with the church, and the many influences that Scientology has played on his life. But instead, he has made a name for himself by appearing on shows like Oprah and the Today show, in order to spout his moral authority and superiority in being the most valuable commodity and star of the church, and all of the good things that the church does.
All of the strange things that the public has seen regarding Cruise and the Church of Scientology has given the actor a very bizarre reputation amongst his peers, the media, and the public. Still, despite his odd personal life, Cruise remains one of the highest-paid and highest-grossing actors in Hollywood, so go figure. Here are 10 shocking facts about Tom Cruise and Scientology.
10. Exiled His Niece From His Family
In a tell-all YouTube video, Growing Up In Scientology, ex-Scientologist Nick Lister points out the many faults and abuses of the church, in a way that is sure to be a thorn in the church’s backside. Lister was a teacher and friend to Jamie Lesavoy, Cruise’s 14-year-old niece. One day, Lesavoy broke down crying and told Lister that her uncle had banished her from family events after being caught kissing a boy on Cruise’s property.
Besides being banned from family functions, Cruise went one step further and forced Lesavoy on a “penance” for her sins, sending her on a pilgrimage across the country, from L.A. to Missouri, and then to Florida, in order to be eligible to “petition” to be back in the family. Cruise disregarded his sister (Lesavoy’s mother), and made the decision to kick Lesavoy out of the family.
9. Difficult Fatherhood
In another heartbreaking situation, a source revealed to In Touch Weekly that, as of 2015, Tom went nearly two years without seeing his daughter, Suri, even though he lived just blocks away from her in New York City. At one point, the two had a great bond, but that time has changed. Even while he went around the city promoting his new movie, Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation, he avoided seeing his daughter.
It’s suspected that Scientology has something to do with this, as Katie Holmes (Suri’s mother) is seen as a potentially “Suppressive Person” – the worst thing you can be labeled by the church. She is also considered a “Potential Troubled Source (PTS),” and in order to reach the highest levels of Scientology, it is best to “disconnect” from family members who are labeled PTS.
8. Introduction and Excommunication of Mimi Rogers
Tom Cruise was introduced to Scientology at the age of 23 by Mimi Rogers, whom he married in 1987. He initially kept his involvement in the church under wraps, while he underwent years of “auditing” of different aspects of his life. After the church realized that Cruise was their biggest star – more so than John Travolta, Beck, or Kelly Preston – he became their biggest asset.
In an effort to bring Scientology to the mainstream masses, the Board Chairman and #2 Scientologist, David Miscavige, helped Cruise dump Mimi Rogers. At the time, in 1989, Cruise was obsessed with Nicole Kidman, and Miscavige told Rogers that the church was bigger than her, but that they needed Tom.
7. Fallout with Nicole Kidman
Cruise drifted from the church after his marriage to Nicole Kidman. But since he was Scientology’s most invaluable member, that couldn’t be. Miscavige first tried to convert Kidman, but she was never interested, so he sought to destroy their marriage. Kidman was also a Catholic, her father was a psychologist (sworn enemies to Scientologists), so she was labeled as a “Potential Troubled Source (PTS).”
As such, the church did not trust Kidman. She was also not interested that Cruise was an “Operating Thetan III” level of Scientologist – which was a big deal for him. By 2001, the church had enough influence to push Cruise into divorcing Kidman. At the time, she was pregnant, and two months after their separation she miscarried. After the divorce was finalized, the church helped turn Nicole and Tom’s adopted children against her.
6. Attacking Psychiatry with “Powers”
Members of Scientology believe that psychiatrists control individuals through drugs and brainwashing. On an infamous appearance on the Today show in 2005, Tom Cruise called Matt Lauer “glib,” after Lauer asked questions about the merits of psychopharmacology. Cruise claimed he’d done extensive research on the subject of chemical imbalances and treatments.
He then used his expert advice to chastise Brooke Shields for using drugs in treating her postpartum depression, instead saying that she should have used vitamins and other techniques to treat herself. Cruise has a long-standing history of believing he has powers, and thinks he can cure addicts and help women suffering through postpartum depression. He also believed the church helped cure him of dyslexia, and being a “functional illiterate.”
5. Trained By David Miscavige Himself
Being the highest profile and most invaluable member of the church, Cruise was trained by the #2 member (behind founder L. Ron Hubbard) and Chairman of the Board of Scientology, David Miscavige. By being buddy-buddy with Cruise, Miscavige was able to gain the actor’s trust and become very manipulative of his personal life – including issues on his marriages, his family, and more.
The manipulations were seen as a way to promote the church in a favorable light, by using one of Hollywood’s highest-paid actors. Ultimately, this backfired, as most mainstream Americans see Miscavige as a fanatic, with Cruise not far behind. Even so, Cruise was led to believe that he was Scientology’s #3 man.
4. Helped the Church in Recruitment Efforts
In 2008, Cruise was awarded a huge medallion from the International Association of Scientologists for winning the Freedom Medal of Valor. In a pre-recorded video shown before he made his award speech, it is claimed that he “introduced L. Ron Hubbard’s technology to over one billion people.” Many believe that number to be somewhat of a stretch.
In his rambling, strange speech, Cruise claimed that Scientologists are “authorities on getting people off drugs, using the mind, improving condition, rehabilitating criminals, creating peace, and uniting cultures.” Furthermore, the church gave him a moral authority that trumps all other humans. For instance, when Cruise sees a car accident, he jumps into action, because “he knows he’s the only one that can really help.”
3. Helped Lobby for Church Tax Breaks
In 2003, a plot was revealed by then-second-in-command Scientologist, Marty Rathbun, where Tom Cruise and former President Bill Clinton lobbied to convince former British Prime Minister Tony Blair to give tax breaks to the Church of Scientology. At the time, a legal ruling refused to grant Scientology charity status in Britain.
Cruise sought to overturn the legal ruling, and to change Scientology’s charity and tax status in Britain, and he got help from Clinton (by helping raise funds in the Clinton Foundation charity). They even targeted and tried to lobby through Cherie Blair, the former Prime Minister’s wife, because she was a lawyer and had a tax background.
Rathbun pointed out that the church had $1 billion in holdings, mostly in off-shore tax havens. The City of London Corporation granted Scientology’s London headquarters an 80% rates relief on the ground that it was a “charity or other organization established for charitable purposes.”
2. Scientologist Judge and Jury
Church leader David Miscavige has a long history of using underhanded, brutal, and sometimes amoral tactics in order to enforce his interpretation of Scientology. Since he and Cruise are so close, it’s no wonder that Tom allegedly offered to “beat the living s**t” out of insubordinate members for not properly preparing the church’s Hemet, CA property for his visit.
Allegedly, three men were beaten and imprisoned by Miscavige and others, who claimed that Cruise was on his way to help, sort of as a “punisher” for the group. These allegations were of course vehemently denied. But other celebrities, such as former King of Queens star Leah Remini, have come out to say that Cruise is the reason they left the church, because of the mindset that “an attack on Cruise is an attack on the church,” and that they can’t be separated.
1. Had the Church “Cast” Him a New Girlfriend
After his failed marriages with Mimi Rogers and Nicole Kidman (thanks to the church), and his relationship with Penelope Cruz, Cruise lamented to Miscavige about not being able to find the right girl. In a Vanity Fair article, it was revealed how the church set out to groom young Iranian actress Nazanin Boniadi to be Cruise’s next girlfriend. Their courtship was strange, with intense monitoring and scrutiny from church officials. The courtship did not last, and Cruise apparently ended up shipping her to a Scientology center in Florida to “atone for her errors.”
After that, Cruise held “auditions,” supposedly casting for his next Mission: Impossible role. This was a ploy by the church, who helped “audition” Lindsay Lohan, Jessica Alba, Kate Bosworth, Scarlett Johansson, and Jennifer Garner to be his next girl. The church even arranged Tom’s first date with Katie Holmes.