It’s always interesting when children raised inside of Scientology start to kick the cage a little bit. Of course, we’re talking here about 16-year-old Connor Cruise (son of the unhinged, lift-wearing midget known as “Tom”), for whom the plight certainly isn’t nearly as desperate as the young ladies who founded the Ex-Scientology Kids website. Still, Connor is pretty high profile as far as the CO$ is concerned, so it came as quite a surprise when he showed up on 10/26 at the TeenNick HALO Awards wearing a blatant symbol of Christianity around his neck. Let’s take a closer look at that Jesus emblem:
Let’s not completely jump the gun here though, for Scientologists are technically allowed to celebrate holidays like Christmas, according to Juliette Lewis. Still, their version of the holiday is much like X-Mas in that it’s pretty secular and largely revolves around the materialistic, gift-giving aspect of the season. So in contrast, is it a big deal what Connor is doing here? I tend to think it’s something worth acknowledging; and while this could merely be a passive-aggressive statement against the cult, he must have known that people would pay attention to a known Scientologist who is walking the red carpet with a Jesus necklace on.
This much celebrated demonstration of sentience on Connor’s part dovetails nicely with a story from this week’s In Touch that Connor is “losing his religion” and also has felt (for quite some time) that he doesn’t get enough attention from his parents:
Most kids spend their childhood under their parents’ thumbs — it kind of goes with the territory. But a family friend says that Tom has been unusually strict, and that Connor is finally getting sick of it. “He’s starting to rebel against his father and the other components in their life, maybe even Scientology,” the friend says. Connor was raised in Tom’s controversial religion, but he has recently been seen wearing Christian symbols, like crosses and a Jesus pendant. “He wants to be independent,” the friend says, “but Tom doesn’t want to give up control over his son.”
From the outside, Connor Cruise looks like one of the luckiest kids on the planet: His parents and stepparents are world-famous entertainers and — materially, at least — he wants for nothing. But the truth is tragically more complicated. As a source close to him tells In Touch, “Connor has always had a difficult relationship with his parents, and it has definitely affected him. He has broken down crying about it.”
The 16-year-old (as well as his sister, Isabella, 18) was adopted by Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman when he was a newborn. And he has long strugged with insecurity about his place in the family. “When he was young,” the source says, “Tom was always off doing his thing, working like a mandman. He traveled all the time, and was totally focused on his career. When he came home, he didn’t always have much left to give.” While Tom’s rep unsurprisingly denies the story, as a result, the source claims Tom, 49, and Connor’s relationship became strange and cold. “Tom is a very difficult man to get to know on a deep level. It’s almost like he treats Connor like a business associate rather than a son.”
Unfortuantely, Connor’s relationship with Nicole isn’t any better. “She wasn’t the best mom to him and Isabella,” the source says. His parents divorced in 2001, when Connor was just 6. And though, for a time, Nicole made an effort to stay involved in her kids’ lives, she had a miscarriage after Tom started the divorce proceedings, and it was hard for her to cope. “She forgot so many things, like school pickups and projects; she was a wreck, and probably had trouble giving them the affection they needed from her,” the source says.
Eventually, Nicole moved back to Australia. The source thinks Connor had been dealing with abandonment issues as a result o being adopted, and it was possibly the worst thing that could have happened. Until, that is, his half-siblings were born and he saw how differently their lives are from his.
On one hand, yes, Suri — Tom’s daughter with Katie Holmes — has a strange, sheltered life. But her parents also unabashedly lavish the 5-year-old with attention, fancy family trips and essentially whateve her heart desires materially. And Connor has had to watch jealously from the wings as his icy father grows warmer and warmer to his half-sister. “Connor loves Suri,” the source says. “But he also thinks she gets a lot more of Tom’s time and attention than they ever got.” The same goes for Nicole’s daughters with her husband, Keith Urban.
Now, the family friend says, “Connor is at a crossroads in his life. He’s been pushing for more freedom — he wants to drive a car and date whomever he chooses.” And this could spark a major war at home with his control-freak dad, who’s so notoriously stubborn about his beliefs. But ultimately, Connor’s move to separate himself from the family could be a good thing. And ironically, it may just be the best way to finally get Tom’s attention.
[From In Touch, print edition, November 21, 2011]
This is really a sad story, but I believe it completely. After all, the poor kid went though a divorce, which culminated with having his mother ripped away from him and declared a suppressive person. Now, a robot named Katie exists in Nicole’s place. As for his father, Tom’s always been a workaholic and still even follows up a long day on the set of an action movie with 10 hours of singing and dancing in preparation for the next film.
Meanwhile, Connor still attends the Delphian School (which, interestingly enough, is located on grounds that were once scouted for use as a penitentiary) in Sheridan, Oregon. As such, he has been immersed in L. Ron Hubbord’s Study Tech since, well, before he could even read. So Connor has spent his childhood in boarding school and has been raised by the cult although, at times, Tom and Katie made a few photo ops with him as recently as 2009. It’s just not enough though:
Meanwhile, Connor’s 18-year-old sister, Isabella, was also reportedly pondering giving up Xenu last year in exchange for rekindling her contact with mom Nicole Kidman. However, this plan was quickly scrapped when Katie enticed Isabella by making her an apprentice for the busted Holmes-Yang fashion line. Problem solved. For now.
I can completely empathize how Connor must feel while watching Tom from the sidelines, since he seems so much more joyous in public with Suri than he ever has before. There’s no way in hell that Suri will one day get shipped off to Delphian. Hell, Katie can’t even manage to attend fashion week in NYC without pulling Suri out of school. Although most Scientology children her age are on the brink of a demanding upbringing, things will be different for Suri. And I think that Connor realizes that.
Photos courtesy of Fame and WENN