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Tom was joined by fellow Scientologists (from left) Kelly Preston, her husband, John Travolta, and Kirstie Alley at a San Francisco church openingg in 2001. 0. eived since she left ed by the support she’s rec rch, Tom is by no means lm he rw ove en be has h Lea comes to defending the chu ey Scientology — but when it mbers on the front lines. Cheers actress Kirstie All me for as rity eb and ” cel ot, its g big on “a h alone am led Lea u’re h herself for years; she’s cal has been feuding with Lea unds members when they leave, Kirstie added: “Yo ho d on rch sec chu — the lta t vo ” John Tra her claims tha sed. All that stuff’s bulls**t! d not shunned, you’re not cha nizable church member — has taken the high roa og John rec w, st sho s mo h’ watched Lea only to Tom as the ing recently that he hasn’t 40 years. Through all my Say rs. cto tra de g sin cus me for when dis I en nothing but helpful to added: “[The church has] be end, my son. They never left my side, so why would n lfri Joh gir led my r, cal the has h her part, Lea losses of my mo that’s not what I feel?” For want to buy into something people you’re ever going to meet.” “one of the nicest, sweetest

and counter all the negative publicity the show has generated. Tom is the church’s fiercest defender, and in my mind, I’m sure he must be insane with anger over Leah’s claims against it.” Even before the show first aired, the church reportedly tried to derail the eight-part series by smearing Leah’s reputation in a letter to the A&E network that slammed the King of Queens star, 46, as “a has-been actress now a decade removed from the peak of her career.” And this January, in a rare TV interview on 20/20, Scientology lawyer Monique E. Yingling took another swipe at Leah, saying that she “seems to be making a career out of attacking Scientology, and frankly the church would just like her to get on with her life and find something else to do.” Yingling also claimed that the series, in which defectors told horror stories of blackmail, psychological and even physical abuse by high-ranking church staff, had led to death threats against Scientology’s leader, David Miscavige. Cruise, 54, and Miscavige, 56, have been close friends for years (David was best man at his 2006 wedding to Katie Holmes), “and it seems to me there’s no question that the church has kept Tom in 34 Star F E B R U A RY

6, 2017

the loop and consulted him, especially with matters this grave,” an insider says. As Star has revealed, Tom, who’s sold both of his L.A. properties, reportedly will be moving to a luxury penthouse in Clearwater, Fla., Scientology’s main headquarters, in what could be his first steps toward eventually becoming the religion’s new leader. “I believe that it makes perfect sense for the church to turn to Tom in this fight,” the insider adds. “Both Leah and the show, which has gotten blockbuster ratings, have been grabbing huge headlines, and if there’s anyone who can go head to head with another big celebrity, it’s Tom.” GIVING AS GOOD AS SHE GETS For her part, Leah, who was raised a Scientologist before leaving the church in 2013, hasn’t been afraid to return fire. “[Tom] honestly believes that people like me are literally the devil,” she said while promoting the show in December. Accusing Tom of turning a blind eye to Scientology’s alleged misdeeds, she added: “He is very aware that it’s an organization that is defrauding people


Church leader David Miscavige and his “missing” wife, Shelly.

Tom attended the 2004 inauguration of a new Scientology Centre in Spain.

Leah welcomed David Miscavige’s father, Ron, on her show. In 2007 — three years after Tom spoke to the crowd during the dedication of a new Scientology church in Madrid, Spain — Shelly Miscavige, the 56-year-old wife of his close friend, church leader David Miscavige would mysteriously vanish from the public eye, and reportedly hasn’t been seen to this day. That’s a subject Tom hasn’t spoken about at all, but Leah certainly has. In fact, David’s own father, ex-church member Ron Miscavige, was a guest on Leah’s show. “The church is probably freaking out, worried that Leah is saving a shocking revelation about Shelly’s disappearance for the next season of her series,” says a source.

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