A former Scientology member who was considered royalty within the church has told of her unrivaled access to the group’s celebrities, including Tom Cruise, John Travolta and even Jada Pinkett Smith, in an exclusive interview with DailyMail.com.
Sam Domingo is the daughter-in-law of the world’s most famous opera singer, Plácido Domingo, and during her 22 years in the Church, rubbed shoulders with the rich and famous at the International Celebrity Centre in Los Angeles.
The 51-year-old socialized and studied with Cruise’s family. Her children would run around with his kids, Connor and Isabella, and she was especially close to his three sisters, Cass Mapother, Marian Henry and Lee Ann DeVette.
Now, for the first time, she reveals what life inside the Church was like for the stars and their ‘indoctrinated of hatred’ children in a wide-ranging bombshell interview with DailyMail.com.
Domingo is now out of the Church, along with her three daughters Paloma, 22, Victoria, 20, Daniela, 17, and ex-husband Plácido Jr, but wants her story to be told as a warning of what harm Scientology can do – even to its most powerful members.
A spokesperson for the Church has denied Domingo’s claims, saying she has been making false allegations about the Scientology religion.
Sam Domingo is the daughter-in-law of the world’s most famous opera singer, Placido Domingo, and during her 22 years in the Church, rubbed shoulders with the rich and famous. Now, for the first time, she reveals what life inside the Church was for the stars and their ‘indoctrinated’ children in a wide-ranging bombshell interview with DailyMail.com
Tom Cruise, his children and sisters
Domingo said she was moved to speak after seeing Cruise’s daughter Isabella, 26, being ‘used’ as Scientology’s ‘poster girl’.
In March, Isabella was featured in a Scientology promo in London thanking the Church and her father for finding a ‘missing piece’ of herself.
This has compelled Domingo to open up on Isabella and brother Connor’s lives, which dramatically changed after Nicole Kidman split from the Top Gun actor in 2001, and the indoctrination of hatred towards her began.
Domingo said she had kept quiet out of ‘loyalty’ to Cruise and his sister Cass Mapother, but when they ‘started using Isabella, I feel sorry for that kid.’
You can’t be anti-Scientology if you’re part of Tom’s family, you will be disconnected – look at his daughter Suri.
She added: ‘Isabella’s being used for PR, she’s Tom Cruise’s kid, it’s not fair what they’re doing to her and Connor. They have no choice but to be the poster kids of Scientology now.’
To Domingo, Isabella and Connor Cruise were just regular kids at Scientology’s Celebrity Centre where she worked as a supervisor, playing with her own children, but it all changed after the divorce.
The children lived an isolated ‘boot camp’ experience, away from the other kids, under the watchful eye of Scientology No 2 and enforcer Marty Rathbun – who has since has left the Church – as they were led into believing their mother should be ex-communicated and regarded a ‘Suppressive Person’.
Domingo explained: ‘I know what techniques they used… I know what the second-in-command at the time Marty Rathbun did, he was so tough on them, the Cruise kids had no choice. After the divorce, they were indoctrinated into Scientology and very much isolated.’
Domingo said she was close with Cruise’s sisters, sharing the same babysitter with Cass and Marian giving her daughter a Christening present.
Domingo socialized and studied with Tom Cruise’s family. Her children would run around with his kids, Connor and Isabella, whose lives which dramatically changed after Nicole Kidman split from the Top Gun actor in 2001, and the indoctrination of hatred towards her began, Domingo said. Pictured: Kidman and Cruise introducing their children Connor and Isabella to the media on January 24, 1996 in Sydney, Australia
She explained: ‘Lee Ann, Marian and Cass all moved to Clearwater to do their higher levels when I was there, we were friends for a couple of years. We’d be practicing auditing together, how to use the E-meter, it was fun.
‘The whole Cruise family got ordered back to LA when he divorced Nicole, as they were studying in Florida at the time. I was shocked they were leaving, I said to Cass [Cruise’s sister]: ”Why are you leaving, you’re doing the courses, nothing gets in the way of that?” She didn’t say anything.’
Domingo said once Marian got told off for selling discount rugs, being told it was an embarrassment to Cruise.
She explained: ‘She got a bollocking for selling her own rugs. I understand coming from a celebrity family myself, you don’t want to be sponging off the relatives, you want to make your own way, so she was selling her own knock off rugs from a local rug dealer, a few Scientologists were doing it.
‘Doing Scientology full time meant you didn’t have much money. Marian told me she got a big telling off, saying she was an embarrassment to the family, she then got rounded up and told she was doing Scientology full-time and Tom would pay for it. ‘
Domingo also described the Church intensely indoctrinating Cruise’s mother Mary Lee, in an effort to bring all of Cruise’s family into the fold, explaining: ‘They were in it 100 percent, there was no wavering.
‘You can’t be anti-Scientology if you’re part of Tom’s family, you will be disconnected – look at his daughter Suri.’
Domingo said she was close with Cruise’s sisters, sharing the same babysitter with Cass and Marian (left) giving her daughter a Christening present. Domingo also described the Church intensely indoctrinating Cruise’s mother Mary Lee (right), in an effort to bring all of Cruise’s family into the fold, explaining: ‘They were in it 100 percent, there was no wavering
Domingo said Cruise’s sister Marian attended her daughter Daniela’s Christening. Pictured: Domingo with her ex-husband Placido Jr and father-in-law Placido Domingo in 1996
Domingo kept the gift list from her daughter’s Christening, noting Marian gave her a sweet present of a rattle and some clothes (pictured)
Domingo reveals the agony actor John Travolta went through in an ambulance and the counseling he and wife Kelly Preston received from Scientology.
In January 2009, Travolta’s son Jett, then 16, died after suffering a seizure during a family holiday in the Bahamas.
Travolta then tried to command Jett’s Scientology spirit – known as a ‘Thetan’ – back into his body, according to Domingo.
She said: ‘Scientologists believe the spirit Thetan doesn’t pick up a body until birth. If you lose a baby before it’s born, then it’s just an empty shell, nothing to worry about.
‘It’s the same with death. To them once your body is of no use, your Thetan can just go out and pick up a new body and carry on right where you left off.
‘John Travolta did a ”Bring Back To Life” assist while Jett was in the ambulance, it’s where you order the Thetan to get back into the body, saying: ”I command you to get into the body now.” This is meant to raise them back to life.
‘When Jett died, Kelly was camped out at the Church HQ in Clearwater, in a hotel room, day and night, with private security, getting auditing.
‘When you lose a child in Scientology, you believe that the spirit – Thetan – has left that physical body and will find another one.
‘In the case of Kelly, she got pregnant while she was being audited several months later and Ben was born just over a year and a half after Jett’s death. She will believe the Thetan of Jett is in Ben.’
The former Scientologist says John Travolta tried to command his 16-year-old son Jett’s Scientology spirit back into his body after a fatal seizure in 2009, which was meant to raise him back to life. Pictured: Travolta with his wife Kelly Preston and their son Jett in 1997
Jada Pinkett Smith
Jada was definitely in Scientology – she was a recruiter and paid commission to bring in other celebrities, Domingo claims.
‘When I moved to LA from Clearwater, I was just hanging out with celebs and their kids at the Celebrity Centre, most of them went to the Scientology school, Delphi LA.
‘Jada would always be around. There was a Sunday buffet where you can invite your friends and they brought in Daphne Wayans, her then-husband Keenan and their five kids.
‘Daphne told me that Jada had introduced them to Scientology, Daphne was really excited telling me all this, but that’s what Jada did – she was charged with getting people into Scientology and I’m sure she’d be getting commission for it.
‘Jada was always around Celebrity Centre, doing her own thing with Kelly Preston in the President’s Office. They were like the Stepford Wives of Scientology.
‘At this time, Will was going to put in $1 million into a new Scientology school in Santa Monica, Placido and I were asked to be a part of it, and we said no. It never materialized and Will set up his own school.
‘We all knew both of them were Scientologists though. There was never any doubt amongst internal staff.
‘They deny they’ve ever been in it – they lie. She was a recruiter.
‘I was told by Daphne that Jada was the one who got her into the Celebrity Centre and the kids into the prestigious Scientology school called Delphi LA. After I left, Daphne disconnected from me.’
Jada was definitely in Scientology – she was a recruiter and paid commission to bring in other celebrities, Domingo claims. Pictured: Jada with Cruise and her husband Will Smith in 2007
Kirstie Alley had to beg low ranking members to be allowed ‘back in’ after drinking glass of wine, according to Domingo.
‘Kirstie was always around at Clearwater, she’d just hang out at the restaurant and be constantly audited, it was quite sad really.
Kirstie Alley had to beg low ranking members to be allowed ‘back in’ after drinking glass of wine, according to Domingo
‘During an auditing session, they’d found out she’d been drinking wine, which you’re not allowed to do if you’re on courses, so she got called back to the HQ and had to do a whole ethics program because she’d had a glass of wine.
‘She was wandering around the restaurant in The Sandcastle, which is a Scientology hotel strictly for members, begging people to sign what’s called liability forms.
‘There were around 200 people in the room, so she needed the permission of the majority of the group after being ”disgraced”.
‘It meant getting the signatures of at least 101 people, so she was working the room and telling everyone all the great tasks for Scientology she’d done to prove she was genuinely sorry.
‘How degrading for such a huge star to be going up to all the tables in the restaurant literally begging people: ”Please can you sign my liability form?”
‘It said something like: ”I drank wine while I was on course and to make up the damage I handed out a load of leaflets and I donated thousands to Scientology.” There was this long list just for a bit of booze.
‘She was always there with the rest of us, it endeared me to her, Tom Cruise wouldn’t do that. Poor Kirstie, what can you say?’
How Sam Domingo signed a billion-year contract with Scientology, was ‘forced’ to have an abortion by the Church and her famous father-in-law desperately tried to get his son away from group
British-born Domingo became interested in Scientology through a friend in 1987 when she was 20 years old. Two years later, she signed a billion-year contract to work in the ‘elite clergy’ called the Sea Org, which often meant grueling work for little pay.
In 1992, she was ‘poached’ from the UK by the Celebrity Centre in LA to work as a room maid while being trained to be a course supervisor.
She started dating fellow Scientologist Mike Gomes, who was an officer in the center’s President’s Office, where only the likes of Cruise and leader David Miscavige are allowed to go.
Domingo became pregnant not long after and claims she was coerced into having an abortion.
British-born Domingo became interested in Scientology through a friend in 1987 when she was 20 years old. Two years later, she signed a billion-year contract to work in the ‘elite clergy’ called the Sea Org. Pictured: Domingo posing with her certificate after completing the fourth highest level possible – Operating Thetan Level 5
She said: ‘When I went to the Celebrity Centre the morning I discovered I was pregnant, I reported straight to Ethics. I told them I was pregnant and, as per supposed Sea Org policy, I expected to be reassigned to a smaller Church, where there’s less pressure.
SCIENTOLOGY’S DENIAL IN FULL OF DOMINGO’S CLAIMS
There is no ‘revelation’ in what Sam Domingo told you. She has been making false claims about the Scientology religion for the last decade, using her past connection to famous individuals to peddle her lies to tabloids.
Concerning Sam Domingo’s claims about abortion, Domingo’s former husband, whom she was still married to at the time the alleged incident occurred, has stated unequivocally that Ms. Domingo was never forced into making any decision regarding her pregnancy.
She made the decision herself. It is shameful that she is now blaming everyone else for her life choices instead of accepting responsibility herself.
Furthermore, intrinsic to the Scientology religion is the deepest respect for the family and for family life. Procreation and the rearing of children is a part of life—it is one of the eight dynamic urges to exist that manifest themselves in all people.
The eight dynamics are fully explained at www.scientology.org under the ‘Beliefs and Practices’ section. All Scientologists, staff and parishioners alike, are free to make the decision whether to have a family.
This includes such personal matters as birth control and abortion, which the Church does not take a position on.
That said, as stated on our website in describing Scientology practices, abortion is rare among Scientologists, who recognize that even an unborn fetus may already be occupied by a spiritual being.
‘So I was shocked when the ethics officer demanded to know what I was going to do about it and was steering me towards abortion, while the commanding officer is dealing with my husband in a separate room, and telling him that I got pregnant deliberately to make him leave the Sea Org.
‘Once I had been coerced, well, bullied into ”doing the right thing” I was frog marched off to the Director of Special Affairs at Celebrity Centre, where they were keeping my passport ”safe” so I couldn’t go home.
‘There I was briefed on how to find a free abortion clinic – Scientology didn’t ever want to pay – and told to go sort it out and keep my mouth shut.’
She continued: ‘I was told to lie at clinic and tell them I was homeless, so it wouldn’t be connected back to the cult.
‘So I took a bus to the clinic, had the abortion, then was whisked away to a Scientologist’s house to recover for a week before being sent back to work as though nothing happened. They had me do some auditing, which is like counseling, to help me get over the trauma.
‘Mike and I divorced shortly after that, I never saw him again. My divorce papers arrived through the internal mail system, via the Office of Special Affairs, which is like the Scientology spy unit.’
A spokesperson for Scientology denied the group ever forced her to make a decision about terminating her pregnancy, saying Domingo ‘made the decision herself. It is shameful that she is now blaming everyone else for her life choices instead of accepting responsibility herself.’
They added: ‘Furthermore, intrinsic to the Scientology religion is the deepest respect for the family and for family life.
‘All Scientologists, staff and parishioners alike, are free to make the decision whether to have a family. This includes such personal matters as birth control and abortion, which the Church does not take a position on.
That said… abortion is rare among Scientologists, who recognize that even an unborn fetus may already be occupied by a spiritual being.’
While at the Celebrity Centre, Domingo met Placido Domingo Jr, 53, the famous opera singer’s son. Along with his half-brother Jose, 60, he was a Church VIP.
The pair clicked and started seeing each other, but Scientology didn’t like the mismatch of Domingo with such a famous member.
While at the Celebrity Centre, Domingo met Placido Domingo Jr, 53, (pictured on their wedding day in 1996) the famous opera singer’s son. Along with his half-brother Jose, 60, he was a Church VIP
Pictured: Domingo and Placido Jr on their wedding day with his famous father Placido looking on in February of 1996
Within a few weeks, Domingo was put on the Rehabilitation Project Force (RPF), a hard labor camp for members who’ve supposedly committed ‘crimes’ against the Church.
‘I was put on the RPF for around a year to keep me away from Placi. I was doing what’s called Rats Alley, it was the worst possible punishment, every Scientologist feared it.
‘It was a grease pit under the Big Blue Building, which is the HQ on Hollywood Boulevard in LA. They put you on a dolly board, and go through three-feet high tunnels, scrubbing the grease for ten hours day. You’d be laid on your back and use your legs to propel through the tunnels, which were swarming with rats, cockroaches and silverfish.
‘You’d work until 8pm, study until 10pm, then up at 7am. You have auditing two hours a day, but the rest of the time you’re on the decks slaving away until you serve your rehabilitation.’
When Domingo jumped out of a fourth floor window to escape, the pair said they wanted out of the Sea Org and after two weeks of interrogation, she was eventually allowed her passport back.
They became public Scientologists and were part of the Church’s top table. Domingo and Placido Jr were regularly sitting in the front row at major Scientology events, fraternizing with its stars.
They flitted between LA and the Church’s global headquarters in Clearwater, Florida, doing courses and raising their three daughters.
But it was always his father who footed the bill, despite hating Scientology for taking away two of his kids.
The Church was desperate to recruit Placido (pictured with Domingo’s daughter Paloma) himself, a music legend who was part of the Three Tenors, along with Luciano Pavarotti and Jose Carrera, famed for their live performances during the World Cup soccer finals
Eventually Domingo and Placido Jr divorced and their paths diverged with Placido growing more into the Church’s fold and Domingo finding herself on the perimeter. Pictured: The former couple with their three daughters in the early 200s
He had no choice: if he wanted to see them, then he had to pay for their courses. Placido ended up giving at least $2 million to the Church for his two sons and their families.
But the Church was desperate to recruit Placido himself, a music legend who was part of the Three Tenors, along with Luciano Pavarotti and Jose Carrera, famed for their live performances during the World Cup soccer finals.
‘I was treated so differently being with Placido’s family. We were VIP-ed everywhere. We tried to recruit more Domingos as that was our job. Jose and Placi have always tried to recruit their dad, he funded all of our services,’ Domingo said.
‘Placido paid $200,000 just for a Founding Patron Card for me and Placi – it’s just a card, it’s worthless.
‘Then for the privilege of going up the Operating Thetan levels – high level courses in Scientology – he was paying $100,000 each for me and Placi.
‘He paid my $40,000 freeloader bill when I left the Sea Org, a further $200,000 for auditing. The bills kept mounting and mounting not just for me and Placi, but his brother and his family. Placido has easily given $2 million-plus to Scientology.
Placido privately hates it, but publicly he doesn’t want to be associated with it in any way, shape or form.
‘Scientology desperately wanted Placido, he’s high profile and massively respected, but it’ll never happen. He’s got three sons – two are in Scientology, the other [Alvaro, 50] has never shown any interest and my mother-in-law Marta, the matriarch, would never allow it.
‘She’s rabidly against the Church. She watched the anti-Scientology documentary Going Clear and wanted to make the whole family watch it, I don’t know if it ever happened. They tried to get the other brother into it, but she put a stop to it.
‘Placido privately hates it, but publicly he doesn’t want to be associated with it in any way, shape or form.’
Being part of the Scientology ‘cool celeb set’ appeared to be fun on the surface.
Their kids were enrolled at the prestigious Scientology schools in Florida and Los Angeles called Delphi, they socialized with the Cruises, and had plenty of Domingo’s money to throw at Church courses.
Domingo was a high achiever in the Church and had reached Operating Thetan Level V, the fifth of eight levels.
Placido Snr footed the family’s Scientology bills. He had no choice: if he wanted to see them, then he had to pay for their courses. Placido ended up giving at least $2 million to the Church for his two sons and their families. Domingo said he paid $200,000 just for a Founding Patron Card (pictured)
Not only did the pair spend $100,000 each for membership cards, but they also paid thousands for their children to receive pointless ‘lifetime cards’ (pictured)
‘For the privilege of going up the Operating Thetan levels – high level courses in Scientology – he was paying $100,000 each for me and Placi,’ Domingo said. Pictured: Placido Jr graduating from an auditing course
Domingo was even on the Delphi LA Parents Organization Committee but life as Scientology VIPs meant they had to be faultlessly devoted to the Church, which put a strain on their own relationship.
Not only did the pair spend $100,000 each for membership cards, but they also paid thousands for their children to receive pointless ‘lifetime cards’.
In 2006, they moved to Clearwater, but it fell apart when Placido Jr grew close to a Scientology spy, who worked in the secretive Office of Special Affairs.
Two years later, they divorced and their paths diverged with Placido growing more into the Church’s fold and Domingo finding herself on the perimeter.
Yet she had an unlikely ally in her 78-year-old father-in-law, who was desperate to get his son out.
‘After the divorce, Placido wanted one last family holiday in Acapulco, all of us, and I told him the whole truth as to what happened about the divorce, what happened to me, everything about the RPF, my abortion, being spied on.
‘He was shocked. That was the first time I’d ever said everything. He said: ”I knew it”, then turned to me and said: ”How do I get my son out? What do I do?” He then said: ”No more money for Scientology”.’
Domingo moved back to the UK, but still had her hand in Scientology, enrolling the kids in the Scientology school Greenfields, in East Grinstead, West Sussex.
Domingo was even on the Delphi LA Parents Organization Committee but life as Scientology VIPs meant they had to be faultlessly devoted to the Church, which put a strain on their own relationship’
Domingo moved back to the UK, but still had her hand in Scientology, enrolling the kids in the Scientology school Greenfields, in East Grinstead, West Sussex
But her faith was wavering, especially after seeing close friends, Marty Rathbun and former spokesman Mike Rinder, escape the Church.
‘I secretly met with them in London a month after reading all this stuff. When I get home there was a threatening message from the Church giving me 24 hours to report to the UK HQ in East Grinstead for interrogation.
‘Turns out the threat was for giving a Scientologist an anti-Scientology book written by a whistle-blower.
‘I suddenly realized that I’m no longer afraid of these idiots and all they can do to me is ex-communicate me and I actually don’t care anymore. I then get a visit from a pair of high up ambassadors of David Miscavige’s and am warned that, even if I’m unhappy, if I keep my mouth shut, I’ll be left alone.
‘That’s all the ammunition I needed, no one was going to keep me quiet about what Scientology does to people’s lives.’
‘No one was going to keep me quiet about what Scientology does to people’s lives,’ Domingo said
Domingo took her daughters out of Greenfields, and she was paid a surprise visit by Placido, who came into London via private jet.
‘He said: ”The Celebrity Centre is trying to speak to me, they told me they want to talk about you. I know what they are trying to do, they’re trying to tell me how bad you are.’ I said: ”Yes”. He was desperate to get his son out.
‘I said you need to worry that your son is now dating an agent, she’s part of the Office of Special Affairs, the spy unit. The girlfriend and the Church tried to get him to disconnect from his whole family, but he was holding firm against it. Placido made it clear he wasn’t disconnecting from his children or me. We finally got him out in Spring 2009.’
While one son is out, Placido’s eldest son Jose is still in – and is still always trying to recruit family members.
Usually, Scientology forces its members to disconnect from non-Scientology family, but this rule is allowed to slide for its celebrity members.
Domingo says: ‘Jose is still in with his kids – they’d do anything they can to get all the family in, they will manipulate everything when we’re at family reunions. Dominic, my nephew, talks about it all the time.
‘At a dinner, where Jose and Dominic were talking in all this Scientology speak, Placido raged: ”I’m sick of this Scientology in the family.”
‘My kids still go on family holidays and they talk about Scientology all the time, disseminate about it until the kids want to vomit, they have to listen to this, how long do we have to deal with this being in our family?
‘But Jose loves it, he loves being part of the cool celeb gang in LA, it’s part of the attraction. We’ll never be free until the whole family are out.
‘As long as Grandpa Placido is around, then Scientology will tolerate the situation that some of the family are non-Scientologists, but he’s not going to be here forever, then who knows what will happen?’