Documentary says the Church of Scientology spied on Nicole Kidman, turned her kids against her

Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman

Attendees at the Sundance Film Festival are buzzing about Alex Gibney’s documentary Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief — thanks to both the subject matter and the Church of Scientology’s official denouncing of the film as “entirely false.”

Some of the biggest revelations are about what happened at the end of Scientologist Tom Cruise and non-Scientologist Nicole Kidman’s marriage, when the church identified her as a “Potential Trouble Source.” The New York Daily News reports the film goes so far as to say former church top official Marty Rathbun “facilitated a breakup” between the pair and that the church bugged Nicole’s phones because they feared she would divulge too much information about the religion.

Even worse yet, the documentary — which is based on Lawrence Wright’s book by the same name — claims the church set out to “re-educate” Nicole and Tom’s two children in an effort to turn them against their mom. Insiders say the mission was “successful,” as Connor and Isabella elected to live with Tom full-time after their parents’ 2001 split and continue to practice Scientology.

Anticipating the backlash they would face for the film, the Church of Scientology took out a full-page ad in The New York Times the day before its Sundance premiere.

Church of Scientology New York Times Ad

Church officials added in another statement today that the film is “entirely false” and information was never fact-checked with the church.

The accusations made in the film are entirely false and alleged without ever asking the Church. As we stated in our New York Times ad on January 16, Alex Gibney’s film is Rolling Stone/University of Virginia redux. The Church is committed to free speech. However, free speech is not a free pass to broadcast or publish false information. Despite repeated requests over three months, Mr. Gibney and HBO refused to provide the Church with any of the allegations in the film so it could respond. Had Mr. Gibney given us any of these allegations, he would have been told the facts. But Gibney refused to speak with any of the 25 Church representatives, former spouses and children of their sources who flew to New York to meet and provide him and HBO with firsthand knowledge regarding assertions made in Mr. Wright’s book as that was all we had to guess from. Gibney’s sources are the usual collection of obsessive, disgruntled former Church members kicked out as long as 30 years ago for malfeasance, who have a documented history of making up lies about the Church for money. We invite you to view our complete statement, correspondence and documented facts at

The film is scheduled to premiere nationally on HBO on March 16.