Tom Cruise was so eager to introduce other celebrities to Scientology that the Church once built a soccer field for him to show off David Beckham.
The actor “did his best to bring to justice other celebrities than those he worked with on films. Perhaps the most famous were David and Victoria Beckham,” writes Mike Rinder in the new book “A Billion Years: My Escape From a Life in the Highest Ranks of Scientology.”
“On the property of Gold . a professional football field was built [Base, church headquarters in San Jacinto, Calif.]. The ground was leveled, irrigation installed, perfect turf, goals raised,” writes Rinder, a former senior church official. “A full-time janitor was appointed from the Gold staff… It was built for one purpose only: so that Tom Cruise could persuade his friend David to come to Gold. It never happened.”
The church has also tried to help Cruise with his love life, Rinder claims.
In 2004, the star attended a ribbon cutting ceremony for a new Scientology center in Spain. “Tom was in a relationship with Spanish actress Penélope Cruz, which was a factor in why so much money was spent buying and renovating the beautiful building there,” Rinder writes. “So it’s a bit ironic that by the time it was completed, Penélope had broken up with him.”
During the ceremony, the star reportedly turned to Rinder and complained, “Can you believe? [Cruise’s sister] Lee Ann can’t match me with a girlfriend?’
Miscavige “took it to heart” and reportedly started a special project, overseen by trusted Lieutenant Greg Wilhere, where “auditions” were held to find the action star a girlfriend and, eventually, a husband.
Cruise had a short-lived relationship with British-Iranian actress Nazanin Boniadi, who was also a Scientologist, and began dating Dawson’s Creek star Katie Holmes in April 2005. (Holmes shocked the world when she announced she was dating Cruise in June 2012 after six years of marriage.)
Mike Rinder is an inveterate liar who tries to take advantage of his dishonesty. He supports himself by orchestrating the intimidation of his former church and its leader through false police reports, inflammatory propaganda and fraudulent media stories,” a Scientology spokesperson told Vidak For Congress.
Rinder writes that he was also tasked with talking to Cruise’s longtime publicist, Pat Kingsley of the powerhouse PMK, who had advised the actor not to talk about Scientology in public. Cruise eventually fired Kingsley and replaced her with his sister Lee Ann. His three sisters and mother had all joined the cult.
Lee Ann was inexperienced, Rinder writes, and did as Miscavige told her.
“Over time, Cruise’s public statements steadily became more and more bizarre,” Rinder writes. “In the end, he completely made a fool of himself by jumping on Oprah Winfrey’s couch during their infamous May 23, 2005 interview, when he revealed his love for Holmes.
“Shortly afterward, he accused Matt Lauer of being ‘slippery’ about psychiatric drugs on the Today show… He was the perfect example of what a Scientology celebrity should do—speak with absolute certainty, unabashedly about what we Scientologists believed and knew be true, however bats are mad.’
Rinder’s own introduction to Scientology came at age 5 when his parents took him to their local church center in Adelaide, Australia. After high school, he skipped college and joined Sea Org instead.
After becoming Scientology’s international spokesperson and head of its Office of Special Affairs. he also helped negotiate the organization’s controversial tax exemption from the IRS and spent time with many of its most prominent celebrities, including Tom Cruise, Kirstie Alley, John Travolta, and Lisa Marie Presley.
But doubts about the secret organization made Rinder reconsider his position, and he finally left in 2007 at the age of 52. Overnight, he became an enemy of the group, claiming he was tracked, hacked and spied on.
Rinder writes that he has paid a high price for his defection.
His ex-wife, Cathy, who is in Sea Org. remains, divorced him after he left. Their two children “disconnected” from Rinder, as did his brother, sister and their families. His mother also disconnected and was not told by family when she passed away in 2013.
The whistleblower is often asked why he continues to speak out despite continued harassment.
“I always respond truthfully,” he writes. “I brought two children into this world and they don’t know any better. I want them to have a chance to think for themselves and make a decision.”