Shelly Miscavige and Leah Remini.
Shelly Miscavige and Leah Remini.

Where is Scientology leader’s wife?

AS LEAH Remini stood with her Scientology friends at the 2006 wedding of Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes, she looked around for her friend Shelly Miscavige.

David Miscavige, the leader of the highly-secretive church, was there as Cruise's best man.

But his wife Shelly, who he married in 1982, wasn't.

That was the first time Remini, who very publicly left Scientology in 2013, held concerns for her long-time friend.

"Shelly was always where David Miscavige was," Remini told ABC News in 2015.

"It was a wedding of the century … it was like, "where's Shelly?'

"It's such a simple thing. It's a big wedding that the leader of the Church is here and his wife isn't. It's getting weirder because you're making it weirder," Remini said, claiming anyone she tried to ask wouldn't give her a straight answer.

Nancy Many, who left Scientology in 1996, said Remini was "attacked" when she asked about Shelly's disappearance.

"Leah asked about David's wife and came under an unbelievable torrent of attack on her, an attack and inquisition," Many told Reuters in 2013.

Shelly Miscavige and Leah Remini.
Shelly Miscavige and Leah Remini.

Nine months after Remini questioned the whereabouts of her friend, Shelly made what has remained her final public appearance.

It's now been 11 years since Shelly was seen in public and since then, 13 friends admitted they held genuine concerns for her.

According to Australian Mike Rinder, the church's former special affairs director, Shelly had expressed concerns about the church in the months leading up to August 2005.

"That was the last conversation I had with Shelly," Mr Rinder said.

By 2013, Remini was clawing her way out of the infamous church and one of the first things she did was file a missing persons report on Shelly.

The Los Angeles Police Department ruled the report was "unfounded" and closed the case, claiming officers had met with Shelly.

But when pressed on the wellbeing of Shelly, officers didn't comment any further - something that's never sat well with Remini.

In her December 2016 series Scientology and the Aftermath, Remini said LAPD's response left her with more questions.

"There's still answers that I need. I do not know that she is alive. I do not know that she's not being held against her will," she said.

"I do not know these things and so if the church produces her, by bringing her to an event, even if she went on a program and said, 'Hi, Leah Remini. Go f**k yourself,' I'd be happy to know that she was alive.

"The police department should say, 'Yes, we've seen her.' No, I wasn't told that. I was told that a representative saw her or spoke to her. I'm going to continue to get and gather information."

The church has always rejected suggestions Shelly is missing and maintains she is alive and well, "working non-stop for the church out of the public eye".

David and his wife Shelly Miscavige.
David and his wife Shelly Miscavige.


The church also claims Remini's missing person report was filed in "bad faith" and she "needs to get on with her life".

In a statement released ahead of Remini's eight-part documentary, the church said the actress "seeks publicity by maliciously spreading lies about the Church using the same handful of bitter zealots who were kicked out years ago for chronic dishonesty and corruption and whose false claims the Church refuted years ago, including through judicial decisions".

Over the years, rumoured Shelly sightings have been reported, always by anonymous sources.

In December 2015, a source told Scientology reporter Tony Ortega they had seen a "frail" Shelly in person in a small town near the California headquarters.

The source said they'd seen Shelly walking into a hardware store in the town.

"She was a thin, smaller woman, escorted by two men," the source reportedly claimed. "Dishevelled. Almost like she was homeless."

Speaking to in 2015, Ortega said Shelly was not "missing" but he believed she was being held against her will by the church.

"Sadly, she may be resigned to her fate and is not looking to escape," Ortega said.

But the "sighting" that really put conspiracy theorists in overdrive was a photo shared in May 2016 of the entire Miscavige family.

David's father Ron Miscavige released a portrait of the family, taken before most of them defected from the church, to promote his tell-all book Ruthless.

In an interview with Good Morning America, Mr Miscavige released the undated photo which pictured a fresh-faced Shelly and David standing and smiling together.

The last people to see Miscavige alive all agree that she vanished in disturbing circumstances.

Members who have dared to question her fate have all since left the church and include Jefferson Hawkins, Scientology's chief marketing executive of 30 years, Australian Mike Rinder, the church's former special affairs director, and former executive Tom DeVocht.

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