Tom Cruise, Katie Holmes divorce fuels speculation about Scientology

The TomKat marriage purred along for five years — but on Friday, representatives for actress Katie Holmes and her superstar husband Tom Cruise confirmed that the pair are divorcing. They have a daughter, 6-year-old Suri Cruise. The news marks the end of a marriage that began with Cruise’s leap onto Oprah’s couch, and will end with a renewed public interest in Scientology, the controversial religion that the pair shared.

Shortly after the divorce was announced on Friday, June 29, Celebritology reported:

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Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes are calling it quits after five years of marriage.

Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes are calling it quits after five years of marriage.

Holmes’ attorney Jonathan Wolfe told [People] magazine that “this is a personal and private matter for Katie and her family,” adding that “Katie’s primary concern remains, as it always has been, her daughter’s best interest.”

A rep for Tom Cruise confirmed the split to Celebritology, and notes that it was instigated by Holmes.

“Kate has filed for divorce and Tom is deeply saddened and concentrating on his three children,” Amanda Lundberg, his publicist, said in an e-mail. “Please allow them their privacy to work this out.”

The marriage was Holmes’s first and Cruise’s third; he was married to Mimi Rogers for nearly three years (they divorced in 1990) and to Nicole Kidman, whom he divorced in 2001, for 11 years. Cruise has two children with Kidman: Isabella and Connor.

Reports have speculated that Holmes wanted out of the marriage so that she could raise her daughter away from Scientology. The divorce has fueled interest in the religion, which does not have any doctrine against divorce: Under God blogger Jeannine Hunter reports that the religion’s founder, L. Ron Hubbard, was married three times. Here's how marital conflicts in Scientology are handled:

“Church members believe that tension in a marriage comes from ‘overts’ and ‘withholds,’ unstated, undiscussed issues or problems,” said Stephen Kent, a religion professor at the University of Alberta, Russell Goldman wrote for ABC News.. “Communication is therefore a good way to rebuild a marriage that’s crumbling. Couples can take a course called How to ‘Improve Your Marriage’ and in dire situations auditors, or counselors, can lead couples through exercises.”

The announcement also gave commentators a chance to remember the “Old Katie” — a a cute-as-a-button, wide-eyed innocent starlet, wrote She the People blogger Suzi Parker — before Cruise and Scientology changed her into the person she is now.

Reliable Source columnist Amy Argetsinger, who likened the couple’s snappy nickname to a “strategic consolidation ... like [a] late-’90s tech company” wrote of the newly married Katie:

“The more Cruise told us how happy they were, how rich-and-satisfying-yet-totally-normal their life was, the more he encouraged us to draw our own conclusions. And she looked tense, she looked unhappy and she looked lonely. Granted, being chased by photographers can make one tense and unhappy, and being super-famous can leave one feeling lonely. Still.”

“Katie became, like many political wives, the doe-eyed spouse gazing at the “Mission Impossible” superstar at red carpet premieres. Her acting career languished. Frankly, it was disturbing to watch,” wrote Parker.

But everyone is watching now. Monica Hesse explained why we can’t look away from this sure-to-be-a-trainwreck divorce:

“Because we had to learn about “silent births” and “thetans” and “what shoes to wear when you are three inches taller than your husband.” Because of that Tuesday afternoon we once wasted trying to figure out what was supposed to be funny about Suri’s Burn Bookand we still don’t get it.

“Because everyone will say they do not care about this, yet everyone will know and talk about this, and because it pains us that culture is like this, but we must observe it anyway, because we’re only human, God help us, we’re only human.”

 
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