We may never learn the full story behind Katie Holmes’s decision to break things off with husband Tom Cruise and file for sole custody of their 6-year-old daughter, Suri. Even the degree to which Tom’s religion, Scientology, played a role — if at all — remains unclear.
Us Weekly reports that Katie was strongly opposed to several of the main tenets of Scientology parenting, especially those related to education and the general treatment of children. A source tells the magazine, “She wants to be in charge of how Suri is being raised and didn't want her to have an exclusively Scientology education.”
Apparently Scientology exhorts parents to “treat kids like grown-ups,” leading one insider to suggest that Katie “struggled to be a disciplinarian” with Suri, especially as Tom acted “all-around overindulgent.”
Marc Headley, a former high-level Scientologist who left the church in 2005, tells The Hollywood Reporter, “[Suri] is at the age where the kids get indoctrinated. It’s like, playtime over. You’re a Scientologist now. And they really de-emphasize the family. Katie becomes a lot less important as a mother. It’s all about the organization over the individual.”
He continues, “You're either in or out when it comes to Scientology. 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.”
An attorney representing Scientology released a statement to THR about Headley’s comments, as well as those made by other detractors and former members: “All of these people are excommunicated self-promoters who are sadly exploiting a private family matter for their own personal financial gain. The Church stands by its previous statements with respect to all of them. They cannot be believed given they have acquired no firsthand knowledge of the Church for many years and have a record of making false and/or misleading statements about the Church.”
Despite Headley’s remarks and the Us Weekly report that the couple “fought viciously” over how to raise their little girl, TMZ has come out with a claim from a source connected to Tom’s camp that the divorce “is not a fight over religion.” The insider explains, “[Katie] was totally committed to Scientology. She had enthusiasm for it and would voluntarily and gladly participate in it when Tom was off shooting movies.”
So if Scientology isn’t the issue, what is?