How Nicole Kidman Almost Got Tom Cruise to Leave Scientology - 2019-12-28
There was a time when, before the couch-jumping, clash with Matt Lauer, and maniacal recruitment video, Tom Cruise abandoned the Church of Scientology (temporarily, of course). His estrangement from the cult-like religion and its Mephistophelean kingfish, David Miscavige, owed to a variety of factors—none more instrumental than the sway of his then-wife, Nicole Kidman, and the making of Stanley Kubrick's Eyes Wide Shut, which turned 20 this year.
The seed was first planted in 1989. It was then that Cruise, after seeing the Aussie thriller Dead Calm, became infatuated with its fiery-haired leading lady, Nicole Kidman—so much so that he convinced producers it was a good idea to have the 21-year-old actress portray a neurosurgeon who falls for his race car driver in the 1990 film Days of Thunder. Only Cruise was married to another actress, Mimi Rogers, who'd introduced him to Scientology. So, following its release, Scientology fixer Marty Rathbun, accompanied by a Scientology attorney, paid Rogers a visit to serve her divorce papers.
"Miscavige's concern was that Mimi was the daughter of this major 'squirrel'—someone who leaves the Church of Scientology but continues to do Scientology on their own—and her Dad had started his own church," explains Tony Ortega, the world's leading journalist covering Scientology. "The story Marty Rathbun tells is that Miscavige made it clear that they thought the Nicole thing could be a fling to separate him from Mimi."