During the 76th Annual Golden Globe Awards on Tuesday night, host Jerrod Carmichael poked fun at Tom Cruise, joking that the Hollywood Foreign Press Association should use the actor’s three returned gongs to help find the “missing” wife of Scientology leader David Miscavige.
Carmichael joked, “I have a pitch,” while holding up Cruise’s Golden Globes, which he famously gave back to the Hollywood Foreign Press Association in 2021. To ensure Shelly Miscavige’s safe return, I propose we trade the following three items.
As “The First Lady of Scientology,” Shelly’s whereabouts have been the subject of intense speculation since she disappeared from public view in August 2007.
In 2012, lawyers claiming to represent the 61-year-old said they had no evidence their client was doing anything other than leading a private life away from the spotlight.
However, ex-Scientologist Leah Remini filed a missing person report the following year because she didn’t think Shelley was okay. The LAPD reportedly began looking for Shelly and later reported finding her. It was decided that the matter was finished.
David Miscavige, 62, and Shelly have been married since 1982. In addition to being the leader of Scientology since 1987, David is also well-known for his close friendship with Cruise; in fact, he was the best man at the “Top Gun” actor’s wedding to Katie Holmes in 2006.
Who Is Shelly Miscavige?
Michele Diane Barnett, better known as “Shelly” Miscavige, was born on January 18, 1961, into a family with deep ties to the Church of Scientology. Vanity Fair claims that Miscavige’s parents were devout Scientologists who entrusted her and her sister to the care of Scientology’s late founder, L. Ron Hubbard.
As such, Miscavige spent the better part of her formative years on board Hubbard’s Apollo. Miscavige’s first job was with the Commodore’s Messengers Organization, a branch of Hubbard’s Sea Org., when he was just 12 years old. They were all teenagers, but they took care of the Commodore, Hubbard, together.
But as Lawrence Wright writes in Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood, and the Prison of Belief, while one of Miscavige’s shipmates remembers her as “a sweet, innocent thing thrown into chaos,” others recall that she never quite fit in with the other girls.
Former Scientologist Janis Grady, who knew Shelly as a child, told The Daily Mail, “Shelly was not one to step out of line.” She played a supporting role in everything. She was devoted to Hubbard, but she lacked the experience and street smarts to be given responsibility for a project and told to “run with it.”
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Despite her incompetence, Shelly was able to find a partner who shared her passion for Scientology: the volatile and passionate David Miscavige, whom she married in 1982. However, former Scientology members claim that Shelly Miscavige was in danger as David rose in power and eventually became the organization’s leader.
Scientology’s “First Lady” Vanishes
When the 1980s rolled around, Shelly Miscavige’s devotion to Scientology appeared unwavering. Miscavige allegedly said, “Well, good riddance to that bitch” after her mother committed suicide (though some dispute this) after joining a Scientology splinter group that her husband despised.
In the meantime, David, her husband, had worked his way up to the very top of the company. After L. Ron Hubbard passed away in 1986, David assumed leadership of Scientology with Shelly at his side.
Shelly Miscavige, the “first lady” of the Church of Scientology, was responsible for a wide range of tasks. She helped her husband with his work and helped keep his temper in check when he became violent with other family members. Vanity Fair claims that in 2004, she spearheaded the effort to find Tom Cruise a new wife. Cruise’s lawyer has denied the existence of such a project.
Nonetheless, there are claims that David and Shelly Miscavige’s marriage was strange and lacked affection. Many of the former Scientologists who spoke to Vanity Fair and The Daily Mail said they never saw the couple embrace outside of public appearances. Also, in 2006, they say, Miscavige made the fatal mistake of crossing her husband.
Ex-Scientologists claim that Shelly began working on the plan that would ultimately bring down the church in late 2006. She revised the “Org Board” of the Sea Organization, which had previously been revised by many without meeting David’s approval.
Is Shelly Miscavige Dead?
Leah Remini’s split with Scientology began when Shelly suddenly disappeared. The 47-year-old actress caused a commotion in the Scientology community when she inquired about Shelly’s whereabouts at Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes’s wedding in 2006.
The question “Where’s Shelly?” came up because Leah found the situation peculiar, as she explained on Conan. “In the church, it was being hailed as the wedding of the century…. In response, people began to disperse. Having anything to do with this was not something they desired. They were completely disorganised.
When I arrived at the church, I asked Tom Davis, the official spokesman, “Where is Shelly?” It seems strange that she isn’t here,'” L each went on. ‘You don’t have the f*cking rank to be asking about the leader’s wife,’ he snarled.
Since 2007, Shelly has not been seen in public. The Los Angeles Police Department denied Leah’s 2013 missing person report, saying that Shelly was fine and that her request was “unfounded.” The fact that Shelly has been spotted a few times in the past three years disproves any claims that she is dead.
Where Is Michele Miscavige Today?
As the years went on, speculation grew about where David Miscavige’s wife had disappeared to. Ex-member Leah Remini voiced her concern when she didn’t see Shelly at the wedding of Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes at the end of 2006.
Nobody was in the know. Nevertheless, a number of news organizations have speculated that Shelly Miscavige is being held at the mysterious Scientology compound known as Twin Peaks. She might be making confessions, repenting, and submitting as part of the “investigations” she’s undergoing there. It’s possible that she’s being held there against her will or in her husband’s direction.
One way or another, Shelly Miscavige is no longer visible to the general public. Even though she left Scientology in 2013, some of her former followers, like Leah Remini, are determined to learn what happened to her.
People report that shortly after Shelly left Scientology in July 2013, Remini filed a missing person’s report on her behalf. But LAPD Detective Gus Villanueva told the press, “The LAPD has classified the report as unfounded, indicating that Shelly is not missing.”
She and other apostates from Scientology now run a forum where current members and sceptics can talk openly about their experiences within or outside the group.