Yes, we're talking about that Tom Cruise – famous movie star and controversial poster child for Scientology. Oh, and don't forget that he's the parent of 10 year old Suri Cruise, his daughter with ex-wife Katie Holmes. This last part is of endless fascination to news and tabloid outlets, who seem happy to publish any and all remarks from “insiders” who claim that Tom hasn't seen Suri for the past several years. Aside to its interest as celebrity gossip, the relationship (or lack thereof) between Cruise and Suri are a fascinating case for family law issues such as custody, child abandonment and religious rights vs. a child's best interests.
Although there had always been rumors about Holmes divorcing Cruise over his religious beliefs, nothing was officially confirmed until Cruise filed suit against a publishing company over allegations that he had abandoned Suri after his 2012 divorce. Ironically, the suit backfired on Cruise, who was forced to admit in court that his religious beliefs was one of the reasons for their divorce. Specifically, Holmes was seeking to “protect Suri from Scientology”, according to one of Bauer's attorneys.
It's not known how these assertions were handled during their divorce proceedings, but the pair did release a rather vague statement about working together to accomplish what is in Suri's best interests. What may be inferred from that statement is that Cruise would retain legal custody of his daughter, although primary custody was awarded to Holmes. In short, it would seem that Cruise would have visitation and regular contact with his daughter, and participate in making decisions on her behalf.
Well, that's not how things turned out, according to the aforementioned insiders. In fact, he was just 23 miles away from her in May, when he was promoting his new film “The Mummy”, but he allegedly chose not to see her. Once again, the implication here is that Tom has abandoned his daughter, most likely due to her not being a member of Scientology. According to former Scientologists like actress Leah Remini, this is process known as “disconnection”, in which members are forced to cut off all ties with family and friends who are against, or have renounced their ties to Scientology.
While there is no concrete evidence to support these claims, we do know that Cruise and Holmes were clearly at odds over his religion, and whether or not Scientology goes against Suri's best interests. More important, it begs the question of what really is in Suri's best interests: Being protected from Scientology, even if it means cutting off all ties with her father? Furthermore, is Tom a terrible parent who has chosen his religion over his daughter? Or, is he being forced to choose between his religion and his daughter by his ex, who is unfairly biased against his religion? These questions continue to fascinate family law professionals and divorced parents who deal with the issue of a child's best interests on a daily basis.