Today, Tom Cruise is the most famous Scientologist in the world, but it was another actor who first introduced him to the controversial religion. From 1987 to 1990, the Top Gun star was married to Mimi Rogers, his first wife, who was raised in the controversial belief system. After their split, Cruise became a more and more vocal member of the Church of Scientology, while Rogers moved away from it. Now, a new book claims that high-ranking members of the church were directly involved in the celebrity couple's divorce.
As reported by Page Six, in his new memoir, A Billion Years: My Escape From a Life in the Highest Ranks of Scientology, former church executive and co-host of the series Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath Mike Rinder claims that Scientology officials were assigned to talk Rogers into agreeing to divorce Cruise, who soon moved on to a relationship with second wife Nicole Kidman. Read on to see what Rinder had to say and how the church responded.
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Cruise and Rogers were married for three years.
Rogers and Cruise got married in May 1987, but by the end of 1989, Cruise filed for divorce, as reported by InStyle. According to Tom Cruise: An Unauthorized Biography by Andrew Morton (via Today), the former spouses said in a statement at the time, "While there have been positive aspects to our marriage, there were some issues which could not be resolved even after working on them for a period of time."
The book also reports that Cruise later told Talk magazine, "Before Nicole I was dissatisfied, wanting something more. It was just two people who weren't meant to work and it wasn't what I wanted for my life. I think you just go on different paths. But it wasn't Mimi's fault … it's just the way it is."
According to People, Rogers later said of being married to Cruise, "You cease to become a singular individual. You're never again mentioned without that name. And that's hard."
Rinder claims Scientologists helped move the divorce along.
In A Billion Years, Rinder claims that Cruise fell for Kidman while they were making the 1990 movie Days of Thunder. He writes that Scientology leader David Miscavige was "invited to Daytona, to watch the filming. He and his trusted lieutenant Greg Wilhere, now assigned as Cruise's personal auditor, hung out with Cruise at the Speedway, went skydiving with him, and most importantly helped facilitate Cruise's desire to make Nicole his new wife … Miscavige no doubt saw this as an opportunity to demonstrate his ability to make Tom's wishes come true." Cruise's auditor when he first joined the church was reported to be Rogers, his soon-to-be-ex-wife.
Rinder also claims that Wilhere was "assigned to get Mimi to agree to a divorce so Tom could marry Nicole." He continues on to say that this was "highly unusual and would never have happened with a normal Scientologist."
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Rogers' father had left the church.
Tom Cruise: An Unauthorized Biography also claims that Rogers and Cruise's split involved Scientology. Rogers' father, Philip C. Spickler, had been close with founder L. Ron Hubbard and heavily involved in the church, but he broke from the faith in the early '80s, which made him persona non grata. It's also been reported that Rogers herself was not a fan of Miscavige, the new leader of Scientology and Cruise's personal friend.
"The Scientology leadership felt such hostility toward Mimi's father that Mimi was stained by association," the book claims of her ex-Scientology member father. Morton continues, "'They no longer wanted her on the team,' says a former Scientologist who was involved in the charade. 'The impetus was to help Tom Cruise, and within twenty-four hours they had agreed to split up.'"
Kidman and Cruise ended up being married from 1990 to 2001. The Top Gun star then was married to Katie Holmes from 2006 to 2012. Kidman and Rogers also moved on to new relationships: Kidman has been married to husband Keith Urban since 2006, and Rogers has been married to Christopher Ciaffa since 2003. It has long been rumored that Scientology came between Cruise and Kidman and Cruise and Holmes, as well.
The church denies the claims.
In a statement to Page Six, the Church of Scientology denied Rinder's recollection of events.
"Utterly ludicrous," a spokesperson for the Church of Scientology said. "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."
Rinder also writes in his memoir that Scientology provided Cruise with household staff and customized various vehicles for him. To this, the church responded, "Tom Cruise most certainly has his own staff. And to say the Church worked on his vehicles is another blatant invention."