Katie Holmes ended marriage 'amid fears Tom Cruise planned to send Suri away to hardcore Scientology organisation Sea Org'
Katie hires high-profile lawyers suggesting she won't settle for 10 million promised in pre-nupKatie fears she is being followed by members of the Church of ScientologyCruises desire to immerse six-year-old Suri into the church is 'terrifying' her
Saving Suri from Scientology is said to be the main reason behind divorce
14:31 GMT, 2 July 2012
Katie Holmes's fears that daughter Suri was set to be inducted into a hardcore Scientology organisation were the driving force behind the end of her marriage to Hollywood star Tom Cruise.
The actress was allegedly convinced husband Tom Cruise was planning to send Suri, six, away to Sea Organisation – an association of Scientologists established in 1968 by L. Ron Hubbard, the science fiction writer and founder of Scientology.
Sea Org, as it is known, is where the
highest levels of Scientology are taught and children as young as five
can be sent to live there – without their parents.
Fears: Katie Holmes seen here with Tom Cruise in April, feared the actor planned to send Suri away to a hardcore Scientology organisation
The company has been often compared
to a boot camp and several ex-Scientologists (including Oscar winner
Paul Haggis) have been outspoken against its military-like conditions.
Initially created at sea, maritime customs and traditions persist today even in the land-based branches of the organization.
It claims to act as goodwill representatives and
administrators of Scientology with the stated purpose to 'get ethics in
on the planet.' And a source told website TMZ that Cruise is a big fan.
Pledge: Katie felt the only way to stop Suri being shipped off was to end their marriage, the six-year-old in seen here with brother Connor
The website claims that Katie and Tom had been arguing over Suri's indoctrination into Scientology — and it seems that for Katie talk of her six-year-old joining Sea Org was the final straw.
The huge Scientology boat The Freewinds that was the location of Cruise's infamous birthday party in 2004, is entirely staffed by Sea Org members and the highest levels of Scientology are
taught on the ship.
According to the official Scientology website, members of Sea Org sign 'a one-billion-year pledge to symbolize their eternal commitment to the religion and it is still signed by all members today.'
When Holmes and Cruise first got together in 2005, a prominent Scientologist who had been with the Sea Org since 1994 Jessica Rodriguez was transferred and became Katie's assistant/Scientology chaperone.
High flyer: Tom Cruise seen leaving Reykjavik airport in a helicopter and heading to his film set in Iceland after news of the divorce broke
Keen: The actor is said to be a keen advocate for the Sea Organization and Katie is said to have rowed with him over plans to send Suri
Feshbach, in one of Katie's first interviews after getting together with Cruise, was described by a writer for W magazine as 'cold-eyed' and 'a third-wheel.'
The battle for Suri: Katie and Tom's daughter seen on set of his new movie 'Oblivion' back in April
Katie felt the only way to save Suri from being shipped off to Sea Org was to file for divorce and seek sole legal custody.
Tom's devotion to the
shadowy church of Scientology is set to come under scrutiny as,
according to New York legal sources, Cruise’s religious beliefs will be
central in the divorce battle.
is no way her advisers will not be putting Scientology at the very core
of this divorce,’ says Mike Paul, a prominent New York crisis manager
who counsels celebrities on how to handle high-profile court cases.
The heart of the divorce is nothing less than the battle for the soul of Cruise and Holmes’ daughter Suri.
only possible reason for Katie to push for this is that she fears for
the emotional wellbeing of her daughter,’ says Mike Paul.
is at an age where she will be becoming more and more involved with the
church and Katie clearly wants to make the break before her daughter is
dragged into Scientology.’
fact, Suri is understood to have been enrolled in Scientology-based
school programmes by her father, which is said to ‘terrify’ Holmes.
desire to immerse his daughter in Scientology is believed to have
brought about a culture clash of religions with Katie, who was raised a
devout Roman Catholic.
such is the actress’s concern over a backlash from the sect that she is
convinced rogue elements from the church have been monitoring her
The battle has begun: Suri is at the centre of her parents' bitter divorce
On Tuesday, a worried Katie called
police to the New York apartment where she is living with Suri after
spotting two mysterious men in a black Mercedes SUV parked outside the
Katie, who looks
strained and gaunt, was said to be convinced they were not members of
the paparazzi who sell footage of her and her daughter to American
celebrity websites, but Scientology operatives. Apparently, neither had a
celebrity website TMZ, the actress also believes she has been followed
when she leaves the apartment in the fashionable East Village district.
In addition to the Mercedes, a white Cadillac has also been spotted regularly outside the apartment.
Meanwhile, others who have quit the church of Scientology say it goes out of its way to discredit and intimidate former members.
Domingo, 45, a British mother of three who was married to the son of
opera star Placido Domingo, says her life was made hell when she split
from her husband and left Scientology three years ago.
'Quite happy to wreck families': The Church of Scientology Celebrity Centre International in Los Angeles, California
Stakeout: Photos have emerged of two vehicles Katie is convinced are from the church, and are people monitoring her movements
‘They are ruthless and quite happy to wreck families,’ says Miss Domingo, who joined the cult at 21.
Suspicious: The vehicles are seen on different corners watching the building where Katie visited almost daily last week
‘My former husband was told to disconnect from me — cut me out of his life completely — and to contact our children only through a lawyer.
‘For married couples thinking of splitting up, they make you confess all the things you have done wrong to each other. It’s incredibly intense and personal. But when I left they made public the information they had got on me and my husband.’
Meanwhile, there is increasing evidence that far from disintegrating only recently, the Cruises’ marriage has been at best semi-detached for at least three years.
While he has remained at the family’s 22 million home in Beverly Hills when he is not filming, she has spent much of her time since 2009 on the opposite side of America.
Katie has been buying up other apartments in the 11-storey Manhattan apartment block where Tom has owned a flat since 1985 to enable her to build a gym and quarters for her security staff.
She has also enrolled Suri in a Catholic school in the city and is said to have removed all of her belongings from their Los Angeles home.
This makes something of a mockery of
the increasingly hollow protestations that all was well in the marriage —
not to mention those awkward hand-holding pictures of the couple taken
just two weeks ago in Iceland where Tom is filming the action movie
The fact she has
chosen to remain in New York is significant, not least because its
courts tend to order children to remain with one parent in custody
disputes, while those in California favour joint custody.
her supporters say she has also felt it necessary to distance herself —
and, crucially, Suri — from Scientology and members of the Cruise clan
who are as devoted as he is to its strange teachings.
Increasingly, Suri is reaching the age when children from Scientology families begin their indoctrination process, which involves ‘auditing’ — being connected to a crude lie detector called an e-meter and having to tell your deepest and darkest secrets to sect staff.
Suri Cruise and Tom Cruise at Friars Club Entertainment Icon Award presentation, inside, Waldorf Astoria Ballroom, New York
One of the principle reasons behind
the split, say Holmes’s circle, has been her growing scepticism towards
Scientology, which was founded by Fifties sci-fi writer L. Ron Hubbard,
who taught his disciples that humans are descended from space aliens
with, Katie played the dutiful convert. The couple had a lavish
Scientology wedding in Rome in November 2006 at which the church’s
leader David Miscavige was Cruise’s best man — he was even said to have
accompanied the couple on honeymoon.
Six months earlier, Katie had given birth to Suri amid rumours she had gone through a ‘silent birth’ (Scientologists insist mothers should not scream or shout out in pain during labour in order for babies to be born in a calm environment).
Happier times: Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes on their wedding day
And for anyone who imagines such tales are merely colourful myths, Kelly Preston, the wife of fellow celebrity Scientologist John Travolta, publicly admits she went through a silent birth with their son Benjamin in 2010.
But within a year of Tom and Katie’s wedding, which had received the blessing of the church’s hierarchy, the marriage was in trouble, with Miss Holmes having doubts about the sect’s all-consuming influence over her life.
In 2007, she stood up for herself and insisted on sacking her Scientology-hired ‘spiritual minder’ Jessica Rodriguez, who was tasked with accompanying the actress 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and sitting in on interviews she gave about her marriage.
Even so, one former Scientologist, who was employed at its head- quarters in Clearwater, Florida, told me yesterday that around the same time Miscavige persuaded Katie to attend a Scientology boot camp at the organisation’s Gold Base centre in Hemet, California, which is used for those having doubts about their faith.
At the 700-acre property, disciples are expected to exist on little food or sleep and detox by drinking vinegar mixed with calcium and magnesium.
They are also required to go through intense ‘auditing’ sessions. The process is supposed to clear the mind of ‘engrams’, the Scientology term for painful experiences that block spiritual growth.
But throughout the marriage, Cruise’s attempts to persuade his much younger wife to submit fully to the teachings of the church have met with resistance.
In 2008, two of the most influential figures in Tom’s circle, his mother Mary Lee and sister Cass — both devout Scientologists — mysteriously moved out of Cruise’s sprawling LA compound.
Tom put them up temporarily in an apartment at a Scientology-owned building on Hollywood Boulevard, which he largely funded through donations totalling millions of dollars.
At the time, Cruise’s PR team insisted
Katie had not thrown them out, but rumours were already rife that
tensions with her in-laws had reached breaking point.
reliable sources in the U.S. were privately speaking of tensions
between the Mission Impossible actor and Katie’s Catholic mother Kathy
and lawyer father Martin, from whom she is said to have sought advice
over the divorce.
Kelly Preston, wife of John Travolta, has admitted that she was completely silent during the birth of the couple's son Benjamin in 2010, all in accordance with the Church of Scientology
the salons of Beverly Hills and Bel Air have been full of talk of
Cruise’s controlling ways, which are said to have extended
to authorising acting roles for Katie — who found fame in the TV series
Dawson’s Creek — as well as his insistence she should remain
pale-skinned, like his second wife Nicole Kidman.
And the couple spent ever longer apart, though officially it was claimed she had begun spending time in Manhattan only for work after appearing in the Arthur Miller play All My Sons on Broadway in 2008.
Throughout, Cruise — who is 50 tomorrow — has publicly done his best to paint an unlikely picture of domestic bliss. As recently as two weeks ago, he was gushing about how lucky he was to be married, speaking at a Friars Club awards ceremony at the Waldorf Astoria in New York.
Significantly, however, while Suri
accompanied her father to the event on one of his infrequent trips to
New York, Katie chose to be nearly 7,000 miles away on business in
had seen his career dip temporarily in the embarrassing wake of his
‘jumping on the couch’ moment, when he excitedly hopped up and down on a
TV sofa professing his love for Katie, his then girlfriend, while being
interviewed by Oprah Winfrey in 2005.
he has spent much of the last two years on location in such far-flung
places as Dubai, Vancouver and Cadiz shooting the movies Mission
Impossible: Ghost Protocol, and Knight And Day with Cameron Diaz.
Cruise’s family, particularly his sister Cass — who home-schooled
Isabella, 19, and 17-year-old Connor, the children the actor adopted
with Nicole Kidman — have begun, say U.S. sources, to exert a greater
influence on the upbringing of Suri during the time she spends with her
The famous cover of Vanity Fair where Tom Cruise Katie Holmes first presented Suri to the world
Miss Kidman has blamed their children’s induction into Scientology for her long-distance relationship with them following her divorce from Tom in 2001. Clearly Miss Holmes does not plan on suffering the same fate with Suri.
An indication that Katie is prepared to play hardball from the outset comes in the guise of the colourful Allan Mayefsky.
The 58-year-old Harvard graduate was one of the principle legal players in the messy divorce of model and actress Christie Brinkley and her husband Peter Cook, which has become notorious as one of the most bitter of Hollywood break-ups.
New York-based Mr Mayefsky is a shrewd operator who has a habit of airing the grievances of his clients in front of the media.
He is known for demanding an even split of proceeds in divorces and for winning 28 million for the wife of a Wall Street financier in a landmark case in 2003.
Katie’s legal team also includes Jonathan Wolfe, a partner in the relatively low-profile firm of Skoloff & Wolfe, based in unfashionable New Jersey.
Crucially, Mr Wolfe is an expert in what is euphemistically known in American legal circles as ‘business evaluation’ (in plain English, that means he is a terrier when it comes to finding hidden money).
specialist forensic accountants, employed by one of the two legal firms
she has engaged, are busy untangling the complex web of businesses and
trusts that manage the Top Gun star’s estimated 180 million fortune.
want to establish Cruise’s exact wealth, which suggests 33-year-old
Holmes is not prepared to walk away with the relatively modest
settlement of 10 million that has been widely quoted — 2 million for
every year of their five-year marriage as stipulated in the couple’s
100-page pre-nuptial agreement.
‘The last thing Tom wants is for the divorce to drag on and for details of their troubled marriage to start coming out, particularly in relation to his religion,’ crisis manager Mike Paul told me.
‘But as always in these cases, if he wants to get the divorce over quickly, some of Katie’s advisers will be telling her she can get more money to go quietly.
‘The danger for him is that the more the details of his private life are discussed openly, the more potentially damaging revelations can emerge.
‘There have been rumours about Tom’s sexuality for years, which have always been denied.
‘His PR team will be acutely aware that opportunists looking to cash in on him could start emerging with lies and half-truths.’
It looks as if the Top Gun star had better prepare for the battle of his life.
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