CRUISE CONTROL

Published on: September 1, 2005
CRUISE CONTROL

By PATRICIA SHIPP

A rift over the Church Of Scientology is threatening the close friendship of box office king Tom Cruise and Academy Award winner Jamie Foxx.

Friends say Foxx is hurt and angry that Cruise allegedly made a $5,000 donation to the church in his name without him knowing.

They believe the Mission Impossible star was using Foxx's name to recruit African-Americans into the church.

According to an insider, despite their brotherly friendship, Foxx, 37, has been hiding the fact that he has grown increasingly uncomfortable with 43-year-old Cruise's enthusiasm for Scientology.

Problems between the two stars began in 2003, while they were filming Collateral.

The insider revealed: "Tom invited Jamie and his friends out, but didn't say where they were going. Jamie was taken aback when the address that Tom had given him and his friends led them to The Scientology Celebrity Center in Hollywood. Jamie probably figured they'd all have dinner there and then head out for some fun at the clubs."

The insider said that Foxx — who is a Baptist — was disappointed when the night turned into a three-hour evening full of video presentations, the history of Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard, proclamations and detailed explanations of the different programs that Scientology offers.

The insider said: "Jamie was miffed because he felt Tom had misled him about the evening."

He added that Foxx seemed angrier than ever when he found that Cruise had donated $5,000 in his name to the Church Of Scientology. Foxx wasn't aware of the donation until the church sent him a plaque as a thank-you.

"Jamie was seething when he got the plaque," the insider said. "He must have felt Tom was going to attempt to use his name to recruit other high-profile African-Americans into the church. He probably thought it was Tom's intention to tell black people that Jamie had been to a meeting and had made a donation to the Church Of Scientology.

Jamie must have thought he was being used as a recruiting ploy and he resented it. He has tried to bury his hurt, but he can't.

"He likes Tom and doesn't want to lose him as a friend, but he'll never be able to accept it if Tom tried to use him for the sake of his beliefs."

Foxx's publicist Alan Nierob said: "Jamie has the utmost respect for Tom and his personal beliefs, and they remain the closest of friends."

Cruise's attorney Bert Fields had no comment.