CELEBRITY WATCHERS ARE GEARING UP FOR A BLOODY LEGAL BATTLE BETWEEN KATIE HOLMES AND TOM CRUISE over custody of their daughter Suri. Legal observers say Holmes showed cunning by filing for divorce in New York where, unlike California, divorce records remain sealed and judges aren’t hesitant to grant sole custody to one parent.
“This is a very aggressive move on Katie’s part,” divorce attorney Vikki Ziegler told US. “…Usually sole custody is requested when a person either wants to hurt the other parent or has evidence of a parent being unfit.”
Holmes, 33, had better strategize: by filing for divorce from Cruise she has thrown the first salvo against one of Hollywood’s most powerful players, as well as alpha leader inside the feared “religion” Scientology. And TMZ reports today that Holmes fears henchmen for the “church” have begun following her since she filed for divorce. “People who have photographed Katie multiple times tell TMZ there have been several “mysterious” men and vehicles around Katie’s apartment and following her when she’s out,” the online tab reports.
Founded in 1952 by science fiction writer L. Ron Hubbard who believed humans evolved from aliens who traveled to earth millions of years ago, Scientology requires members to undergo “security checks” or intensive interrogations beginning at age six, the age Suri turned last April. The Village Voice published a detailed list of the guilt-inducing questions posed to children members, such as “What has somebody told you not to tell?, ” “Have you ever spied on anyone?,” and “Do you have a secret?”
Numerous media outlets have reported sources saying Holmes was “terrified” that Suri would be forced to sucuum to Scientology’s teachings. Former Scientologist Marc Headley, 39, believes Holmes took the drastic step of setting up residency in New York before filing for divorce “to save Suri from Scientology,” the U.K.’s Sun reports. “She knows if Tom has his way, the girl will be home-schooled by the cult.”
During her whirlwind courtship and subsequent marriage to Cruise, Holmes spoke openly in support of Scientology which Cruise introduced to her. But the 33-year-old actress also underwent a public personality change, prompting jokes on the Internet about her being brainwashed by the organization. During her initial days with Cruise Holmes was frequently shadowed by a high-ranking Scientologist “handler” who even controlled Katie’s responsesduring news interviews. Holmes’ divorce filing undermines both Cruise and Scientology’s public image and may make make her the target of vengeful tactics from both parties, according to observers.
“It’s hard to envision a scenario where an amazingly controlling guy like Tom Cruise would respond (well) to custody challenges with Suri,”Divorce Court‘s Judge Lynn Toler News 10 in Sacramento. “And that could play out in any number of ways. We just don’t know.
She added: “It could be a situation where she does not have the same caché and control, even though I’m sure she has a good lawyer,” “I worry about the equity in power in a divorce situation.”
And Michael Levine, described as a “Hollywood public relations veteran,” says of the filing: “This will have a serious impact on his deeply controlled, obsessively veneered image.”
Indeed, Cruise, whose attorneys originally claimed they did not want a “contentious” custody battle, are gearing up for just that. Cruise attorneys are intending to file for divorce in California, claiming it is the proper venue for the proceedings. And a source tells RadarOnline omniously: “There is absolutely no way he is going to let Katie have sole custody. The lines are being drawn and this is going to shape up as a very contentious custody battle.”
By Elizabeth C.