Where is Shelly Miscavige?
It’s the question that’s haunted Leah Remini for over a decade. And in the latest episode of her A&E series Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath, the ex-Scientologist turned whistle-blower, a former friend and pen pal of Shelly’s, interviewed several of her closest confidantes who provided valuable context for why the wife of Scientology leader David Miscavige hasn’t been seen publicly since August 2007, at her father’s funeral.
According to author Lawrence Wright’s book Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood, and the Prison of Belief, Shelly both functioned as Miscavige’s right-hand woman as well as a handler to Scientology’s biggest star, Tom Cruise. And, in the latter capacity, Wright claimed that she supervised the auditing of the Mission: Impossible actor’s then-girlfriend Penelope Cruz, as well as the search for Cruise’s new partner following his split from the Spanish actress.
The problems for Remini began at the 2006 wedding of Cruise and this new partner, Katie Holmes—a $3 million, star-studded affair at a 15th century castle in Italy. Among the guests were Brooke Shields, Giorgio Armani, Jim Carrey, Will and Jada Pinkett Smith, David and Victoria Beckham, Jennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony, and fellow Scientologists John Travolta and Kelly Preston. The couple was serenaded by Andrea Bocelli, and took part in Scientology’s Double Ring ceremony, with Miscavige serving as Cruise’s best man. Remini was there too, and when she began asking guests and Scientology officials at the bash why Shelly was nowhere to be found, says she was subsequently “punished for asking where the leader’s wife was.”
In the Season 3 premiere episode of Scientology and the Aftermath, Remini interviewed Valerie Haney, who served 22 years in the church’s fraternal religious order, Sea Org, whose members must sign billion-year contracts, and was also the personal assistant to Shelly Miscavige. Haney says she last saw Shelly crying and entering a vehicle outside “Gold Base,” the international headquarters of the Church of Scientology in Riverside County, California.
“What [Miscavige] is doing with his wife, hiding her and not having her anywhere around, I don’t get it. That is heartless to me,” claims Haney.
Tom DeVocht, a former Church of Scientology official who knew Shelly, adds that she confided in him that her husband was “losing it” prior to her public disappearance.
Remini filed a missing-persons report on Shelly’s behalf in 2013, and after conducting a safety check, Det. Gus Villanueva stated, “The LAPD has classified the report as unfounded, indicating that Shelly is not missing,” though they declined to provide any details as to the state they found her in, where she is, or if she was in the presence of church officials.
“What matters to me is that I have not seen proof that this woman is alive, or doing well, so I can give a shit what the LAPD said as their bullshit statement that they put out, because I haven’t seen her face. I’m calling bullshit on it,” Remini told me.
Det. Kevin Becker of the LAPD’s Hollywood Division, a friend of Remini’s who’s since retired from the force, provided a written statement to The Daily Beast about the Shelly Miscavige wellness check which read, in part: “I and many other detectives believe that the ‘investigation’ was VERY poorly handled and LAPD fell way short on this one.”
In a threatening letter to The Daily Beast, Glassman Media Group, the law firm representing the Church of Scientology, called Remini and Rinder’s claims “false,” said they haven’t provided any evidence of Shelly’s whereabouts because they don’t want to “dignify the preposterous allegations,” and alleged, “Mrs. Miscavige has never been missing and is living her life to her choosing.” (They declined to provide any information on her current state or her whereabouts.)
“Mrs. Miscavige has been married to Mr. Miscavige for almost 40 years. She is a life-long Scientologist and is a dedicated member of the Sea Organization, the Scientology religious order. While her husband lives a public life as the Church’s leader, Mrs. Miscavige lives a private life. My partner Rebecca Kaufman has personally met with Mrs. Miscavige,” wrote Anthony Michael Glassman of Glassman Media Group.
Remini and her Aftermath co-host Mike Rinder, a former senior executive in the Church of Scientology, believe that Shelly is being kept at the Church of Spiritual Technology (CST), a heavily-fortified complex near Lake Arrowhead, California, comprised of vaults housing Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard’s collected works on gold compact discs, and nuclear shelters. It’s where Scientologists are preparing for Armageddon.
“Mike and I are pretty positive that in 2005, once Dave [Miscavige] had his blow-up with her, he sent her up there to be a non-person,” Tony Ortega, publisher of The Underground Bunker and the leading journalist covering Scientology, told me a few years back. “They let her out for a couple of days for her father’s funeral in the summer of 2007, and nobody has seen her since. I’m positive she’s still there, and I have my sources saying that she’s still there.”
Rinder further claims that he was contacted by a person at CST whose job was to monitor Shelly’s whereabouts, and maintains that they explored Shelly’s disappearance on Aftermath “because so many people reached out and demanded that we do a show about it.”
“They believe that the world doesn’t have the rank to ask about this; that nobody has the rank to ask about this,” Rinder tells me. “It’s an interesting look at the mindset of Scientologists, and how out of touch with reality they are. If Shelly Miscavige is really just peachy-keen and fine, how simple would it be for her to write a handwritten note to the world, or to Leah? How simple would it be for her to do a video? Scientology has thousands of videos they put out. How come there isn’t one of Shelly, if she’s so fine?”
“The proof that there is something wrong is not the statements made by me or anybody else, the proof that there’s something fishy is in Scientology’s response,” he continues. “This would be the easiest thing in the world to deal with if there wasn’t something weird going on.”