The Church of Scientology ripped apart Tom Cruise's first marriage, set him up with Nicole Kidman and then tore them apart too, the author of a new book on the controversial religion has claimed.
ABC journalist Steve Cannane's Fair Game looks at Scientology's growing influence in Australia. He spoke about the book on The Nation on Saturday, but also took time out to tell host Lisa Owen how the world's biggest movie star ended up married to, then divorced from, an actress from down under.
To sum up: "They facilitated it in the first place, and then they helped derail the relationship, and then they helped kill it off."
Cruise's first marriage was to Mimi Rogers, who introduced the Top Gun star to Scientology.
"Mimi introduced Tom to Scientology, but she practised a form of Scientology that Scientology leader David Miscavige was uncomfortable with - her father ran a mission outside of central control of Miscavige," says Cannane.
"They wanted to kill off his first relationship with Mimi Rogers so much so that they got L Ron Hubbard's former personal lawyer to deliver the divorce papers to Mimi Rogers' house."
L Ron Hubbard was a science fiction writer who found much greater success with Scientology.
"They wanted him to get into a relationship with Nicole because they wanted to kill off his first marriage to Mimi Rogers," says Cannane.
Cruise had previously expressed an interest in Kidman. They were paired up in 1990.
But the marriage soon ran into problems, at least as far as the church was concerned.
"Nicole Kidman at one point was able to get Tom to drift from Scientology for a number of years because she smelled a rat," and Cruise was "besotted" with her, says Cannane,
So the church responded by infiltrating the couple's relationship, through personal assistant Michael Doven.
"From 1998 onwards, they asked Michael Doven to plant a seed in Tom's head that Nicole was not the right person for him to be with. Fast-forward to January 2001, Tom Cruise rang the church of Scientology… and said 'I want a divorce' and that he wanted Nicole's phone to be tapped."
Scientology's lawyers deny it, but Kidman's phone was tapped, says Cannane - and though she suspected it, wasn't able to find the bugs because they weren't in the house. Scientology's infiltration had allegedly spread to the telephone exchange itself.
Kidman and Cruise split in February 2001.
Fair Game: The Incredible Untold Story of Scientology in Australia is out now.