Scientologists hit back at Nicole Kidman blackmail reports

The Church of Scientology has rejected media reports that Australian actress Nicole Kidman was threatened with blackmail after the breakdown of her marriage to its most famous follower, Tom Cruise.

Author Andrew Morton has written in his unauthorised biography of Cruise that Scientology played a major role in the breakdown of the Hollywood superstar’s marriage to Kidman, with whom he has two adopted children.

Media reports said today that Scientologists threatened to blackmail Kidman if she spoke out against the controversial religion after her marriage failed.

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According to the book, a former senior Scientologist told Mr Morton how Kidman’s lawyer, Bill Beslow, revealed that Kidman “hated” Scientology by the time Cruise decided to leave her in 2000.

However, she agreed not to speak out against the religion in case she lost contact with her children and details of her sex life with the actor were exposed, media reports said today.

But Elliot Abelson, general counsel for the Church of Scientology International, said media reports that there had been a threat of blackmail were wrong. He said no such allegation was made by Morton.

“No one ever alleged that the church threatened to blackmail Nicole,” Mr Abelson told AAP today.

“None of it is true. The guy (a former Scientologist) might have said (that she would lose contact with her children if she didn’t keep quiet), but clearly he had no authority to say that because he had already been thrown out of the church, and he was lying.”

A spokeswoman for the church said Scientologist ministers could not breach the confidentiality of followers.

Scientology lawyers are expected to sue publishers St Martin’s Press, but hope the book will be pulped before it is published in the US later this month.

Mr Abelson said he had spend two years unsuccessfully trying to communicate information to Mr Morton and St Martin’s Press.

“Our side of the story is really simple, we offered the truth, they (Morton and the publishers) refused to listen,” he said.

“They came out with as defamatory a book against Mr Cruise and the church as could be imagined. This is the lowest of the British tabloid.”

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Religion News Blog posted this on Monday January 7, 2008.
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