Stephen Kent: Well I too was pleasantly surprised by the book, especially given all the sometimes rocky pre-publication publicity it received. What struck me most about the book actually Morton’s discussion about the behind-the-scenes negotiations that went on involving Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman. Certainly a lot of us who observe Scientology wondered whether Kidman caused a problem for Scientology, because in part, her father is a psychologist, and also in part she never really seemed to be that committed. What I did not realise however was the extent to which the organisation apparently involved itself in that relationship.
Stephen Crittenden: They were there at the beginning, helping to set the marriage up. They were there when the children were being adopted, and they were there at the end when the marriage was falling apart.
Stephen Kent: It’s a very good observation. And it’s the case that many people take on the veneer of a partner’s marriage just for practical purposes and don’t internalise that particular faith, and that seems to be the pattern that Nicole Kidman followed. But of course her relationship with her parents, particularly her father, was going to be an ongoing problem. Scientology’s antipathy towards the mental health profession, psychiatry, but also psychology, is long-standing and well-known.
Stephen Crittenden: And what about Andrew Morton’s statement that Tom Cruise is the No.2 figure in Scientology; was that news to you?
Stephen Kent: I hadn’t thought of it in the way that Andrew Morton framed it, and his framing was something along the lines that Tom Cruise is the No.2 person. Now certainly in an organisational sense, that claim is just not true, but it may be true in the context of the prestige that Tom Cruise has for other Scientologists, and from that standpoint Morton’s statement made a great deal of sense.
Stephen Crittenden: A couple of other things that struck me in Andrew Morton’s book: one is that Tom Cruise appears to have gone through the same step-by-step initiation process that everyone else in Scientology goes through.