Tom Cruise Taught to Act by Priest? Life Before Scientology

Long before Tom Cruise married Katie Holmes, before he became an actor, and before he converted to Scientology, he studied to be a priest.

Katie Holmes has allegedly returned to the Roman Catholic Church, after a five year marriage to Tom Cruise, an avid Scientologist for whom she converted. However, Holmes was not the first Catholic to convert to Scientology, as Cruise himself was once a devout Catholic who had even studied to become a priest.

"A cute little kid," Father Ric Schneider of the Order of Friars Minor told Newsweek during a July interview. Cute he said, although not quite cut out to become an actor, according to the priest who described Cruise as average looking and marked with a snag tooth.

"His teeth were different than they are today," Father John Boehman remembered. Boehman was the friar in charge of the seminary school that Cruise attended as a freshman in 1976.

Cruise however was not someone that they would have described as devout when he was a young boy and even more unexpected than his acting career, was that the "mischievous" boy would one day become a prominent member of Scientology.

"It was pretty obvious," Father Ric told Newsweek of Cruise's intentions for seminary school. "I think he went there to get an education. I didn't get a sense he was serious about the priesthood or the religious life."

While Cruise left after his freshman year, not appearing to have obtained much from his religious studies, he did pick up something else from his seminary school.

Fellow classmates and teachers described a young Cruise as shy.

"I don't think he was particularly close to really anybody," fellow classmate Don Weller told Newsweek. "Basically more of a loner, I guess."

Father Hilarion Kistner, however, attributes some of Cruise's earliest acting and social skills to Father Aubert, who taught speech and drama at the seminary.

"I think he did more for Tom Cruise than maybe anybody else did at that time to help him," Father Hilarion Kistner says of Father Aubert. "He could just bring somebody out of themselves, get over their inhibitions and act and sing."

So while Cruise may not have gone on to enter the seminary, it appears that he may have acquired his calling from priests before leaving the church and converting to Scientology.