LOS ANGELES–The Church of Scientology denied Monday sending anyone to follow Katie Holmes after she filed for divorce from Tom Cruise, amid reports she feared her husband’s plans for their daughter. A lawyer for the church also dismissed reports that Cruise — a prominent Scientologist — wanted their 6-year-old daughter Suri to join the Sea Organization, described as a boot camp for the controversial religion. “There is no truth whatsoever to the TMZ.com report (or any other report) that the Church of Scientology has sent anyone to follow or surveil Katie Holmes,” lawyer Gary Soter told AFP in an emailed letter. “The allegation about a 6-year-old joining the Sea Org. is similarly untrue,” added Soter, who described himself as counsel for the Church of Scientology International. Celebrity news website TMZ reported that Holmes, who announced on Friday that she was filing for divorce, feared that he wanted their daughter to join the Sea Org. in the near future. But it cited the Scientologist’s lawyer as saying nobody under the age of 16 can join the elite body, adding that minors must have the “consent of both parents and/or all legal guardians” to become members.
TMZ also cited sources close to Holmes as saying she believes the Church of Scientology views her as a threat to the organization, and has put a team on her tail, with “mysterious” men and vehicles tailing her in recent weeks. The attorney’s statement came after 33-year-old Holmes was spotted in New York on Monday without her wedding ring. She left a shoot for a television series in Times Square, her hair pulled back conservatively in a sleek ponytail and wearing a navy ensemble. Throngs of television satellite trucks and paparazzi were camped outside the Manhattan building where she was staying. Cruise, who turns 50 Tuesday, wed Holmes in a storybook Italian castle in November 2006 after declaring his love for the former “Dawson’s Creek” star live on “Oprah” — famously jumping up and down on a couch in the studio. Holmes announcement that she was filing for divorce reportedly took Cruise by surprise. A spokeswoman said Friday that he was “deeply saddened” by the move to end their five-year marriage. Cruise is among the many celebrity members of the Church of Scientology. American Scientology leader David Miscavige was said to have officiated at the event, arguably the most high-profile Scientology wedding to date, in a ceremony that lasted no more than 15 minutes. Tabloids, shadowing the couple since the get-go, have speculated for some time that the relationship was on the rocks after the pair was not seen together for months. Cruise has also won two lawsuits against publications alleging he is gay. Reports at the time of Holmes’s marriage to Cruise said that under the prenuptial agreement, Holmes — who converted to Scientology — would receive US$3 million for every year of the marriage plus ownership of a California mansion if they split.