With the recent shocking news of Katie Holmes filing for divorce from Tom Cruise and seeking sole custody of their 6-year-old daughter Suri, the internet is abuzz with possible explanations for the abrupt split. And of course, many are speculating that Scientology is to blame.
It’s been more than a decade since Tom divorced his second wife, Academy Award-winning actress Nicole Kidman. And while his split with Katie dominates headlines, Nicole’s estrangement from Bella and Connor, her teenaged kids with Tom, remains a source of curiosity for many.
Sure, there’s geographical distance: Nicole lives in Australia and Nashville, Tenn., while Bella, 19, and Connor, 17, are in Los Angeles. And Nicole’s own growing family with second husband Keith Urban have been the unofficial explanations for the sad rift. But several former members of the Church of Scientology claim there are other factors for the estrangement.
Karen De La Carriere, ex-wife of former Scientology president Heber Jentzsch, opens up to The Hollywood Reporter: “By filing for sole custody of Suri, [Holmes is] making it very clear she’s not going to let what happened with Nicole Kidman happen to her.” She goes on to claim that members of the church deliberately turned Bella and Connor against their mother during and after the high profile 2001 split.
As well, former Scientologist leader Marty Rathbun adds that members, including staffers who worked in the family’s L.A. home, campaigned against Nicole in front of the children. Rathbun says he observed Tommy Davis, who heads the Scientology Celebrity Centre, feeding “false information” to Bella and Connor.
“Tommy told them over and over again their mother was a sociopath, and after a while they believed him,” Rathbun claims. “They had daily sessions with Tommy. I was there. I saw it.”
“Katie could blow Scientology wide open,” adds Rathbun, who was in the church for 22 years before leaving in late 2004.
“If Tom’s smart, he won’t fight her on anything, even custody. He should just try to settle his way out of it,” says Rathbun. “She could press this sole-custody issue and litigate it, and that would be the biggest nightmare in the Church of Scientology’s history. It would be a circus they couldn’t survive.”
“You’re either in or out when it comes to Scientology,” another source says. “That’s why Katie is making custody such an issue in the divorce petition. If you’re out, the way she seems to be, they want to cut you off from everyone, including your kids.”
Nicole has not been photographed with Bella and Connor for several years.
“They live with Tom, which was their choice,” Nicole said of her older kids in a late 2010 interview. “I’d love them to live with us, but what can you do?”
In May, Bella said: “I love my mom. She’s my mom. She’s great . . . I see her sometimes and I speak to her.”
What do you think? Is Katie protecting Suri from Scientology?