- (Photo: Reuters/ Stefan Wermuth)
Tom Cruise was not always a model Scientologist, a friend now claims, but wanted to be a Catholic priest. Things changed drastically when Cruise was asked to leave seminary after stealing alcohol from a group of his teachers.
"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," childhood friend Shane Dempler, who attended school with Cruise, told the New York Daily News.
"Tom was instantly hooked," Father Ric Schneider added. "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 managed to gain entrance into St. Francis Seminary School in Cincinnati and enjoyed his time at the school, Dempler and Scheider said. He particularly enjoyed participating in school plays and dramatic competitions.
"We had a great drama teacher in Father Aubert Grieser. 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 cost us 50 cents," Dempler explained.
Of course, that was just the beginning of a successful career in acting for Cruise, even if he did not know it at the time. What led to the change in plans, then, for the boy who wanted to be a priest? The official explanation from the school is that Cruise's family moved, causing him to transfer.
Dempler, however, has another explanation. He alleges that he and Cruise decided to steal some liquor from priests who were organizing a party; as Cruise waited below, Dempler threw bottles of liquor down to him.
"I tossed about six, most broke, but we managed to get a couple and hide them in the nearby woods. The priests didn't even realize until some of the other boys found out about our plan and snuck into the woods and got drunk. They were caught staggering down the road to the seminary and forced to confess," he explained.
"The school wrote a letter to our parents saying they liked us both, but would prefer if we didn't return. So we weren't kicked out, just preferred not to go," Dempler added.
Cruise has not spoken about the incident or Dempler's claims, but remains a staunch Scientologist today. He was introduced to Scientology in 1990 by his then wife, Mimi Rogers, and has been a huge advocate for the organization. It's believed that differences over Scientology were the reason for his divorce from Katie Holmes, who, ironically, was raised Roman Catholic.