While languishing in production limbo for the latest instalment for the Mission Impossible film franchise, Tom Cruise seems to be taking advantage of his downtime to make some personal changes.
Cruise, 59, has been shunning the spotlight in recent months and, according to sources close to the actor, has started drifting away from the Church of Scientology.
Cruise has belonged to the controversial church for several decades and has always been a vocal advocate of Scientology's teachings. Cruise commented to ITV in 2016 that he credited his acting success to Scientology: "It's something that has helped me incredibly in my life; I've been a Scientologist for over 30 years. It's something, you know, without it, I wouldn't be where I am. So it's a beautiful religion. I'm incredibly proud."
Cruise was first introduced to the church by his first wife Mimi Rogers, whom he was married to from 1987 until 1990, while he was still trying to make it as a global star.
Tom is now one of the highest-ranking Scientologists and has been hailed by leaders of the faith as the "chosen one" who will spread word of the religion.
The church, founded by American sci-fi author L Ron Hubbard in the 1950s, claims that billions of extra-terrestrial beings were sent to Earth by Xenu - the dictator of the Galactic Confederacy, comprised of 26 stars and 76 planets including Earth - who gathered them around volcanoes and then destroyed the aliens with hydrogen bombs.
The aliens' souls attached themselves to chosen humans, known as thetans, who will one day be saved from their life of spiritual harm.
On a visit to New Zealand in 2017 Cruise went out of his way to visit the NZ Church of Scientology premises in Auckland. While, in the past, the Hollywood star is a regular visitor at the religion's British headquarters as well. Cruise has often stayed at the Saint Hill Manor, East Grinstead Scientology premises in the past and was also involved in a renovation done on the church in 2015. This time around, however, Cruise is nowhere to be seen.
There is no evidence that the Cocktail star has visited the Scientology home base at all while he has been in the UK for filming.
Some have speculated that the star has lost faith in Scientology due to Covid-19, as they have taken a stance on prevention that does not seem to include vaccines.
The actor's low-key mood of late may be more to do with stress over the costly delays that have occurred while filming the seventh Mission Impossible film. A source from the MI7 set said: "Tom appears extremely withdrawn at the moment – he's really keeping himself to himself, but something seems to have changed. He's obviously under a great deal of pressure with this film and the studio are now getting on the case because things are so delayed and apparently over-budget.
"It isn't really anyone's fault and Tom has a long history of making incredible films that more than justify the big costs, but there's no doubt things are weighing on his shoulders just now.
"He has the helicopter so he can go anywhere very quickly, but he hasn't been to East Grinstead at all. A number of us wonder if the Covid situation and his religious beliefs are pulling him in different directions with so much pressure involved in getting this film finished."
While he hasn't been seen out partying in London or at the Scientology HQ, Cruise has made appearances at the Wimbledon women's tennis final and was today seen celebrating with David Beckham when England scored the first goal in this morning's Euro 2020 football final against Italy.