Tom Cruise says Scientology played a part in his split from Katie Holmes because she wanted to protect their daughter from the controversial religion.
While being deposed by Bauer Publishing in Los Angeles, Cruise — who is suing the publisher for $50 million for claiming he "abandoned" the 7-year-old girl after his divorce — made the admission, which had long been speculated about.
According to a transcript of the Sept. 9 deposition, which was obtained by "omg! Insider," the 51-year-old revealed that Suri is no longer practicing the religion and was asked whether Holmes divorced him to "protect" the girl from Scientology.
Cruise, who said he found the question "offensive," replied, "There is no need to protect my daughter from my religion."
However, when asked whether Holmes divorced him for that reason, he replied, "That was one of the assertions, yes. … There are many other aspects to the divorce."
The movie star was also asked about Scientology's term "suppressive person," which the church labels those who publicly renounce Scientology, and if Holmes fit into that category.
"That is a distortion and simplification of the matter," he replied. "I don't want to just give an oversimplification of religious doctrine."
However, he noted that his older children from his marriage to Nicole Kidman haven't had contact with Holmes since the divorce.
The deposition also included Cruise talking about how he didn't seen Suri for at least three months after the divorce — a period of time from early August 2012 to Thanksgiving — when he was filming a movie in London. It included the girl's first day of school.
"If she had asked me to be there, I would have been there I would have worked it out in any way I could," he said of Suri, whom he described as a very happy child, and confident, and has a good sense of herself."
He claimed that they spoke on the phone almost daily during that time period.
"I've gotten very good at it," he said of their long-distance phone calls. "I tell wonderful stories."
He admitted that Holmes tried to get him to visit Suri in October of that year, but he was unable to make it. And they failed to agree on other days within the time period.
"Things change and there is different agreements, like in any divorce, where you work out schedules," he said. "It's just a different set of circumstances. It certainly does not mean that I've abandoned my daughter."
During the deposition, Cruise made it clear that he wished he didn't have to press forward with the lawsuit — saying that his lawyers tried to resolve things with the publishing company behind closed doors — but he saw no other course of action when the magazines deemed him a bad father and wouldn't issue a retraction.
"What I find most disturbing is that I have to sit here and look at this photograph of my daughter with 'Abandoned by Daddy' [on the cover]," said Cruise, who has been single since the end of his third marriage. "To me, that is what sticks out the most. 'He chose Scientology over Suri for good.' Has he chosen Scientology over Suri for good?' ‘Abandoned by Daddy.' I mean come on, that is absolutely disgusting. That is absolutely disgusting."
"And I have to tell you, with everything — listen, I am a public person, I absolutely understand," he continued. "For me there is — I tolerate a tremendous amount and I am very privileged to be able to have the life that I have and I believe that. But there is a line that I draw for myself and ... and that's it."
The next court date for the case is scheduled for Nov. 26.