Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes Divorce: Was There a Marriage Contract?
A Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes pre-nup? A virtual given. A "marriage contract" based on Cruise's religion, Scientology, that specifies Holmes' lifestyle and post-divorce payout milestones, in painstaking detail? It appears to be a dubious claim.
Cruise and Holmes' supposed "marriage contract" has dogged the couple since their 2006 wedding. Its extreme details, according to the story fueled by lower-end tabloids, included keeping Holmes on a tight leash, limiting her clothing spending and detailing cash payouts for the number of children she had with Cruise.
The so-called "marriage contract" was Scientology-mandated and required Holmes, 33, to stay married to Cruise, 49, for a total of three or seven years.
Almost six years into their union, it's over. Was this all part of the plan from the moment they met in 2005?
Cruise's attorney Bert Fields told PEOPLE magazine in 2009 that the story was "a pack of lies" and an "absolute fabrication." Fields successfully muzzled any legitimacy of a Scientology marriage contract -- casting doubts on its truthfulness.
There appears to be little, if any, evidence of such a marriage contract -- beyond a traditional pre-nup. Field experts cast doubts on its existence.
"I have actually negotiated [pre-nups] for celebrity Scientologists and have never heard of a Scientology contract -- usually they have the same provisions as any other [pre-nup]," celebrity family attorney Lisa Helfend Meyer tells Celebuzz.
Meyer's firm, Meyer, Olson, Lowy & Meyers, LLP, handled Khloe Kardashian and Lamar Odom's pre-nup -- and currently represent Kelly Rutherford in her contentious divorce proceedings with ex-husband Daniel Giersch.
"I would be shocked to learn if Tom didn't have a [pre-nup], given his wealth," Meyer says. "I would also be very surprised to learn that they already haven't resolved everything before the news of their split broke. They are both surrounded by media-savvy people. All their dirty laundry would have been dealt with before the news of their demise hit the newsstand."
Sources close to the church of Scientology echo to Celebuzz the same sentiment -- a marriage contract does not exist in Scientology.
"There are no Scientology-specific contracts of any kind related to marriage," a longtime Scientology member says. "When I got married nearly 40 years ago in a Scientology ceremony, we pledged our fidelity 'throughout our future years.'"
People familiar with Cruise and Holmes' marriage have reportedly said there is indeed a pre-nup agreement. It likely will determine financial terms based on how long the couple were married (six years). Standard rules for marriage prenups designate payouts in yearlong or five-year increments. Holmes, who is worth a fraction of Cruise's hundreds of millions, will likely stand to receive large payouts.
Details will likely emerge in coming weeks as to how much Holmes will receive, how much and if there are limits, as well as custody arrangements. Holmes filed for sole custody of their 6-year-old daughter, Suri.
While Scientology appears to have been a point of difference between the couple -- Holmes was raised Catholic in Ohio -- a Scientology-mandated contract looks unlikely.
Scientology is known as a religion don't view divorce with the same stigma of other religions.
"Marriage in Scientology is viewed as a strictly present-life 'contract,'" a Scientologist source says. "There is no stigma to divorce. It's quite common."
Cruise and Fields' ire has focused on one converted Scientologist turned blogger, Mark "Marty" Rathbun. The estranged devotee of the faith is known for being highly skeptical and critical of the church's motives on his website. Fields slapped Rathbun, who has also published a book questioning Scientology, with a cease-and-desist legal letter in 2009.
"It is neither appropriate nor lawful for you to refer to yourself online, in the media or elsewhere as Tom’s auditor. I would like to avoid taking action over this, so please stop," Fields wrote in the letter to Rathbun, who posted it on his website.
Rathbun's site claims to detail specifics of how the family's assistants are paid informants to Scientology officials. (Details are relatively scarce.) Because Cruise's life has been mapped out by religious officials, the site says, Holmes' life, by association, has been controlled, as well. Rathbun implicates a church official associate of Cruise's, David Miscavige, as meddling in Cruise and Holmes' marriage.
"Scientology Inc’s supreme leader David Miscavige (Cruise’s best man at his wedding) has infiltrated the Cruise household and used personal assistants and family members to serve as informants on every aspect of Cruise’s personal life," Rathbun wrote in a blog post dated June 30, 2012.
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