Actor Tom Cruise and actress Katie Holmes arrive at the 2012 Vanity Fair Oscar party in West Hollywood in this February 26 file photo. The couple settled their divorce Monday in what Holmes’ lawyer called a “speedy resolution” to a case that prompted questions over the raising of their daughter and the Church of Scientology.
The L.A. Times reported that “Scientology and what role it would play in the upbringing of the couple’s daughter, Suri, was a key factor in the split.”
And for many, Scientology is also the most intriguing aspect of the Hollywood power-couple’s split.
Holmes was raised Catholic and Cruise, of course, is Scientology’s most famous adherent, putting a handsome Hollywood face on the little-known religion.
The 20th century faith, founded by eccentric science fiction enthusiast L. Ron Hubbard, is controversial for many reasons –including the cost of membership, its policies of secrecy, discrepancies over its number of adherents, and allegations that its members are expected to shun those who leave the church. Church members, including Cruise himself in a May interview with Playboy, say that Scientology’s methods of self-improvement and personal liberation simply work.
Others have noted that the Holmes-Cruise story line isn’t only about the (some-say) fringe faith of one movie star. The breakdown of a marriage rumored to be troubled by a difference in belief systems is, nowadays, as American as celebrity news sites.
USA Today’s Cathy Lynn Grossman pointed out on her blog last week that interfaith couples face bleaker divorce statistics than couples of the same faith. A 2010 Washington Post Outlook article explored the phenomenon, noting that “people who had been in mixed-religion marriages were three times more likely to be divorced or separated than those who were in same-religion marriages.” And more Americans than ever are coupling outside of their faith—a hopeful sign for pluralists, but still a challenge for long-term relationship stability.
Update: This post previous stated that Holmes had joined a New York City Catholic Church. A church leader there told the Post that she has not registered, but is welcome to join.