The Church of Scientology contributed to Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman‘s 2001 split by creating a “distance” between them, former member Mike Rinder claims in his new book.
The issues allegedly began when Cruise, 60, and Kidman, 55, were filming the 1999 drama Eyes Wide Shut in London, Rinder writes in his memoir, A Billion Years: My Escape From a Life in the Highest Ranks of Scientology. After the Top Gun star began ignoring phone calls from the church’s leader, David Miscavige, amid his intense filming schedule, they allegedly sent a top church executive to the U.K. in order to “audit” him.
As a result of the process — which involves walking someone back through difficult times in their life in order to work through any negativity — Rinder claims that Cruise “was gradually drawn back into the world of Scientology.” The Jerry Maguire star’s rededicated focus on the Church “created a distance” between him and Kidman.
Though the Oscar winner joined the Church of Scientology following her December 1990 wedding to Cruise, Rinder claims that she “never expressed particular eagerness for her Scientology courses or auditing.” He also alleges that Scientology officials disapproved of Kidman because her father was a psychiatrist, a profession that the church looks down on. “Had she not been Mrs. Tom Cruise, she would not have been eligible to participate in OT levels at all due to her familial connection to psychiatry,” the Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath cohost writes.
Miscavige, 62, and other Scientology leaders were so concerned about the Moulin Rouge star’s potential influence on Cruise that Rinder claims that they hired a private investigator to wiretap her phone.
He later added, “When Tom and Nicole divorced, Miscavige was happy that the ‘negative influence’ of Nicole was no longer dragging Tom away. Cruise thereafter became more fervent in his vocal public support of scientology and Miscavige.”
In a statement to Page Six, the Church denied the allegations. “The Church never ordered or participated in any illegal wiretapping,” the statement, which was published on Tuesday, September 24, read. “Mike Rinder is an inveterate liar who seeks to profit from his dishonesty. He supports himself by orchestrating the harassment of his former Church and its leader through false police reports, incendiary propaganda and fraudulent media stories.”
In the decades since their high-profile divorce, Kidman has rarely commented on her experiences as a member of Scientology out of respect for the two children she shares with Cruise: Bella, 29, and Connor, 27. “I have two children who are Scientologists — Connor and Isabella — and I utterly respect their beliefs,” she told The Hollywood Reporter in January 2013.
When she was asked if Scientology strained her relationship with her two eldest children, Kidman avoided the question: “My eye is going to a dress here — that’s how interested I am in this.”
Five years later, the Australia native explained that since marrying Keith Urban in June 2006, she is reluctant to talk about her relationship with Cruise. “It almost feels disrespectful [to Keith],” Kidman said in a 2018 essay for New York Magazine. “That said, I got married very young, but it definitely wasn’t power for me — it was protection. … When I came out of [the marriage] at 32, 33, it’s almost like I had to grow up.”
Since tying the knot with the country singer, 54, Kidman welcomed daughters Sunday and Faith in July 2008 and 2010, respectively. Cruise, for his part, welcomed a daughter in April 2006 with ex Katie Holmes. The pair married in November of that year, but called it quits in June 2012.
Us Weekly has reached out to Cruise and the Church of Scientology for comment.