Tom Cruise is the face of Scientology. He is easily the church's most recognizable member, and though his lawyer asserts he has no official role within the church, a new tell-all book about the controversial organization claims to reveal the depths of his involvement.
In an excerpt from his new book, "Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood, and the Prison of Belief," author Lawrence Wright details how the church allegedly tried to seduce Cruise, made him their most important member and played a role in his divorce from Nicole Kidman.
Wright writes that the church's current leader, David Miscavige, was "bedazzled by the glamour surrounding [Cruise]" and Cruise, for his part "fell under the spell of Miscavige's commanding personality." He claims that in the early '90s, Miscavige lured Cruise into the organization by surrounding the actor and Kidman with a "completely deferential environment as spotless and odorless as a fairy tale" at the church's desert outpost near Hemet, Calif. Wright claims that when Miscavige learned of the couple's fantasy of running through a field of wildflowers together, he went to extremes to make that fantasy a reality.
When Cruise and Kidman began drifting away from the organization in the mid-'90s, Miscavige blamed Kidman, whom he saw as a gold digger who was faking Scientology, says Marty Rathbun, a former high-ranking church official and the church's most prominent detractor. Rathbun told Wright that Miscavige hoped if they convinced Cruise that his wife was a Suppressive Person, he would stray from her and find his way back to the church.
It's long been rumored that Scientology played a role in ending Cruise and Kidman's 10-year marriage, and allegations that Miscavige tried to break up the couple were corroborated by John Brousseau, Miscavige's former brother-in-law, now a former Scientologist and bodyguard, who once lived at Cruise's home. He told Vanity Fair in September that the couple's children took classes on how to identify a Suppressive Person and claims they once whispered to him, "Nicole is an S.P.! Our mom's an S.P. -- we hate going and seeing her."
When Cruise split from Kidman in 2001, he renewed his dedication to Scientology and he and Miscavage became closer than ever, Wright claims in his new book.
The tell-all also addresses Cruise's relationship with aspiring actress Nazanin Boniadi, who allegedly auditioned to be his girlfriend. Wright claims their relationship ended when she offended Miscavige, by asking him to repeat himself more than once, when she couldn't understand what he was saying.
Wright claims that Cruise lectured Boniadi on the seriousness of the situation, and explained his rank within the church:
"You don't get it, it goes like this," Cruise said. He raised his hand over his head. "First there's LRH." He moved his hand down a few inches. "Then there is COB." Bringing his hand down to his own eye level, he said, "Then there's me."
It's been rumored that Cruise is a high ranking official within the church, but his lawyer denies that this exchange with Boniadi ever took place, and that they auditioned her to be his girlfriend. Wright claims that by the mid-2000s, Cruise was considered the unofficial Ethics Officer of Hollywood, and was thought to be the embodiment of Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard's vision of a church with temples dedicated to celebrity rather than God.
For more on Tom Cruise and his involvement with the Church of Scientology, click over to The Hollywood Reporter.