Tom Cruise Was Obsessed With a Different Religion Before Finding Scientology

At this point, everyone probably knows about Tom Cruise‘s ties to the Church of Scientology. But that’s not the only religion he’s been associated with. Long before he became a Scientologist, Cruise was actually into Roman Catholicism, according to reports.

Tom Cruise at an event
Tom Cruise at an event in January 2019 | Michael Kovac/Getty Images North America

Tom Cruise got into Roman Catholicism as a teenager, reports say

Raised in an abusive home, Cruise reportedly sought refuge as a teenager in the Roman Catholic Church. The New York Daily News reports that he found a mentor in priest Ric Schneider who helped him get into the St. Francis Seminary School in Cincinnati, Ohio, where Cruise allegedly started studying to become a priest.

“Tom was instantly hooked,” said Schneider. “I think he wanted a good education. With his parents going through a divorce, it was tough on him, that’s maybe one of the reasons why he came here.”

Cruise’s alleged former best friend Shane Dempler added that, “He had a very strong Catholic faith. We went to Mass, spent time in the chapel, and enjoyed hearing stories from the priests. We thought the priests had a great lifestyle and we were really interested in priesthood.”

Tom Cruise
Tom Cruise at an event in 1982 | Frank Edwards/Fotos International/Getty Images

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Tom Cruise also got into acting while studying at the school, according to the report

Dempler told the outlet that Cruise allegedly participated in a variety of activities at the school. He noted that Cruise spent two years in its drama club and was a part of many of the school’s productions.

“We had a great drama teacher in Father Aubert (Grieser),” he continued. “He taught us how to speak in public. We used to get into trouble, as Aubert would tell us not to spit when we were speaking and we’d spit on purpose. It’d cost us 50 cents.”

At some point, Cruise left the school for reasons that have been contested. After his exit, he started taking acting more seriously. Once he finished high school, Cruise moved to Los Angeles and eventually signed with the Creative Artists Agency (CAA), which helped him gain important connections that would lead to his first movie role in 1981’s Endless Love.

“I wanted to sit down with their filmmakers and study their movies, and CAA had all of those connections,” Cruise said in a throwback interview (via The Hollywood Reporter). “I didn’t go to acting class [nor] film school. Film school was every single day that I was making a movie.”

Tom Cruise
Tom Cruise in 1988 | The LIFE Picture Collection via Getty Images

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As his career progressed, Tom Cruise found Scientology

The BBC reports that Cruise’s first wife, Mimi Rogers, introduced him to the religion in the ’80s (via The Mercury News).

Andrew Morton wrote in a 2008 unauthorized biography of the actor that he has since grown to be “the de facto second in command of the Church of Scientology,” per The Hollywood Reporter. But Cruise’s lawyer pushed back on that to The Huffington Post, saying, “Tom Cruise has no official role, title or position in the Church of Scientology. He is simply a parishioner.”