Scientology Leader’s Wife Vanishes From Public
Shelly Miscavige worked with Tom Cruise and was at the head of Scientology until she vanished.
Shelly Miscavige was born, Michelle Shelly Barnett on 18th January 1961. She is best known for being the wife of David Miscavige, the head of Scientology. David gained his position with Scientology on the death of its founder L Ron Hubbard.
Recently, Shelly has been in the news for another reason. She has not been seen in public since August 2007. She was first noticed as missing when she failed to attend the wedding of Katie Holmes and Tom Cruise. A wedding she had been instrumental in organising. Some have questioned whether she is dead or being held against her will by her husband.
Shelly’s Career with Scientology.
Shelly started as a member of the Sea Org organisation. The Sea Org are a prestigious department of Scientology who worked with Hubbard. She was assigned as a Commodores Messenger. These were elite individuals that serviced Hubbard’s flagship.
Hubbard in later years decided to move onto an old transport ship called Apollo. Fed up of the constant media scrutiny, he became a seafaring nomad. The staff, who were all dressed in naval uniform served him. This was where Shelly started her career in Scientology.
She was described as a quiet, petite girl who was younger than the other messengers. At twenty-one, she married fellow Commodore, David Miscavige and moved up the ranks within Scientology.
Although she had a reputation for being a bitch, several people could see the nice person underneath. She encouraged members to volunteer and if someone fell ill it was her that arranged their care. She had a strong maternal side to her nature. Gary Morehead, a former Sea Org member, says ‘many church members had no idea just how much Shelly protected them.’
Tom Cruise Meets Shelly Miscavige
Part of the role that Shelly undertook was to look after the high profile members. This is where she met Tom Cruise.
When Cruise started a three-year relationship with actress, Penelope Cruz, Shelly was given the job of auditing her. Auditing is a process where people are hooked up to a basic form of a lie detector and taken through their past lives to remove any negative behaviour. It is a way of working through past events to stop them from influencing their current life. Once this process is complete the person will go through a purification program, which is similar to detox.
After the relationship between Cruise and Cruz finished, Shelly was tasked with the job of finding Cruise a new girlfriend. As Scientology is advertised in Los Angeles as a way of making it big in acting, it is no surprise that many actresses are members. Shelly would interview 100s of them, eventually settling on Katie Holmes. Shelly then instigated the two of them meeting, arrange the renovation of Cruise’s mansion and arrange their wedding. It is important here to state that Cruise’s attorneys deny this version of events.
So with this involvement, you can see why other people in Scientology were surprised when she failed to appear at the wedding of the happy couple.
Shelly Goes Missing
In 2006, David Miscavige left the international base and returned to live with Shelly. People remarked that almost instantly Shelly changed and began to look cowed. David was described as a man who had a hair-trigger temper, this resulted in him becoming verbally and physically abusive.
Scientologists are systematically brainwashed, fleeced, and abused by the church generally and by its current leader, David Miscavige, specifically — Paul Haggis former Scientology member.
The same year Shelly was put in charge of a project called Sisyphean. It was a poison chalice and involved re-organising and improving the structure of the Sea Org. Despite working on it for months, her husband was never satisfied. During this time, she made two executive decisions without his consent. Within weeks of this, insiders were reporting that Shelly knew what was coming. She dismissed her domestic staff and walked around the complex looking sheepish and withdrawn.
She also started questioning whether David was still wearing his wedding ring. Following these questions, she was stripped of her duties. Everywhere she went she was accompanied by a handler.
When Shelly failed to appear at Cruise’s wedding, her friend Leah Remini raised her concerns. She was a recent Scientology defector. She filed a missing person report, one other person not identified also filed a report. The Los Angeles police, went onto close the case in August 2013 saying they had spoken to Miscavige. It is unclear whether this was David or Shelly. Scientology issued a statement saying Remini was unhinged and abusive. They would not report where Shelly was.
Where is Shelly?
Members of Scientology will say that she is working away from the limelight. Former members of Sea Org say they believe that she is being held against her will, at a compound in California. They further report that members who try to defect are kept on heavily guarded bases. Here they endure a life of isolation, menial labour and penury. Remini herself left Scientology by hiding in the boot of a friends car.
Marc Headley, a former member, says “she’s probably the one person who could just end it tomorrow. If she just walked away from the whole craziness and said, ‘O.K., this is where all the fucking bodies are buried — this is what he did with this, this is what he did with that — let’s fucking burn it down,’ it would be done.”
Members rarely ask about her, because to ask is considered a nosy question. Remini reports that the more she enquired about Shelly, the more she was interrogated and shunned until she could take it no more and left.
Is Shelly Dead?
Mary Florence Fike, Shelly’s mother was also a long-term Scientologist who defected. She was found dead at 52 in 1985. She had been shot three times through the chest and one fatal wound through the head. The autopsy ruled it a suicide. Is this the same fate as Shelly?
No. In a twist to the tale in 2016, a photo was shared by Ron Miscavige of him with his family. Stood at the back next to David is Shelly. It is clear that she is still alive, the photo does not look altered. Whether she is being held against her will or has simply jumped out of the media attention may never be known. The mystery of Shelly Miscavige is yet another to be added to the intrigue of Scientology.