On Sunday night, HBO aired Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief, a damning exposé of the Church of Scientology from Oscar-winning director Alex Gibney. The film is based on a 2013 book of the same name by Lawrence Wright and contains some pretty explosive allegations, among them that Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard kidnapped his own daughter, that the Church wiretapped Nicole Kidman’s phones while she was married to Tom Cruise, and that members of the Church’s elite “Sea Org” wing are tortured to the tune of Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody.”
The film does not, however, include any of Wright’s research into the disappearance of Michele (or Shelly) Miscavige, the wife of current Scientology leader David Miscavige. Michele was once a high-ranking member of the Church, but she has not been seen in public since 2006. Here is what we know about her, and where she might be.
Michele grew up in the Church of Scientology
According to an in-depth profile in Vanity Fair, Michele’s parents were both devoted Scientologists—so devoted, in fact, that they allowed L. Ron Hubbard to effectively raise Michele and her older sister. Michele is said to have been one of Hubbard’s “Messengers:” devoted servants who, among other things, brought Hubbard drinks and drew his baths.
She married David Miscavige in 1982
At the time, Miscavige was rising through the ranks of the Church (he ultimately took over when L. Ron Hubbard died in 1986). Miscavige is, Vanity Fair reports, a highly irascible man, prone to fits of physical and verbal abuse.
Michele may have played an instrumental role in Tom Cruise’s marriage to Katie Holmes
The New York Post reports that Cruise turned to his friend David Miscavige after his marriage to Nicole Kidman ended. Michele is rumored to have led a “casting crew” that solicited women for Cruise to date, among them Jennifer Garner, Sofia Vergara, and, finally, Katie Holmes.
Michele disappeared after making executive decisions without her husband’s permission
Michele made two key decisions without her husband’s approval in late 2006, Vanity Fair reports. First, she assigned new titles to the so-called “Org Board” (high-ranking administrators within the Church). Second, she had some of Miscavige’s belongings moved into temporary housing in order to facilitate renovations on his living quarters. Shortly thereafter, she was stripped of her duties. Then she disappeared.
Police say they have spoken to Michele since she vanished from public life
When Michele did not show up at the Cruise/Holmes wedding, actress and former Scientologist Leah Remini filed a missing persons report with the LAPD. The case was quickly closed. An LAPD detective told E! News that his colleagues had spoken to Michele, though he could not confirm when or where.
Michele is believed to be living in a secluded Scientology base called “Twin Peaks”
According to Vanity Fair, multiple sources report that Michele is living on a 500-acre compound about 90 minutes outside of Los Angeles. The magazine also writes that Michele is likely to have endured months of auditing, “re-programming” and menial labor in an effort to instill her with sufficient levels of “clarity” after her perceived insubordination. There is a debate among former Scientologists as to whether or not Michele is being held at Twin Peaks—which is monitored by armed guards and surrounded by spiked fences—against her will.