Mon July 16, 2012 11:36am
THE Church of Scientology has been quiet about Tom Cruise's divorce but the split has put the religion in the spotlight.
The church has made barely a single comment since Katie Holmes dropped her June 28 bombshell on the Hollywood A-lister, probably the most high-profile member of the nearly six-decade old organisation.
Cruise's representatives have been more forthcoming - and lashed out this week at the tabloid National Enquirer over a story describing the "Mission Impossible" actor as a "monster."
But the publicity blitz around the story has also shed an unfavourable light on the church, which has long battled with a controversial image, fueled by criticism including from former members.
"It's a terrible public relations situation for the Church," said Karen Pressley, former "commanding officer" of the Scientology Celebrity Centre - the very name of which raises eyebrows to LA newcomers - based in Hollywood.
"This is now his third marriage as a Scientologist and my observation is, what does it says about Tom Cruise's ability to succeed in relationships?" she asked rhetorically.
She added: "He goes to the media and speaks to people like (talk show hosts) Oprah (Winfrey) and Matt Lauer and say 'We are the only ones that can help when people has troubles, we have the answers of everything.'
"And what does it say about his ability to apply Scientology to relationships? To marriage and to raising a family?" said Ms Pressley, who has lived in Atlanta since "escaping" in 1997 after 16 years in the Church.
Cruise is probably the biggest Scientologist celebrity, but not the only one: John Travolta is also a member, as are the musician Beck and actresses Juliette Lewis and Mimi Rogers - Cruise's first wife.