tonight on "nightline," marriage impossible? a high-profile religion, hollywood stars the and a block buster break up as katie holmes shocks tom cruise with divorce papers. what will scientology might have played in the superstar split. think fast, johnny dep, angelina jolie and the hollywood elite. while he may not be making friends in hollywood, his smash hit, the office, has been making his fans. plus, cnn's anderson cooper tells the world he's gay in a simple e-mail exchange. a lot has changed since elen degeneral rhus, tonight how more and more celebrities are coming out casually.
this is "nightline," july 2, 2012. >> good evening. i'm terry mor reason. tonight an extremely rich hollywood couple, high profile religion and divorce battle that's about to thrust both of them into the spotlight. katie holmes blind sided tom cruise with divorce papers after five years of marriage and asking for full custody of their daughter, suri. it's a surprise move that's raised a delicate question of faith and marriage. could cruise's famous devotion to the church of scientology be one of the causes of the split? here is abc's dan harris. >> reporter: in the celebrity divorces, this one is the block buster. it's got it all, fame, hundreds of millions of dollars on the table, and high-powered lawyers on both sides. to do it quietly, would be
mission impossible. and further, inflaming this whole situation, the role of scientology. according to sources close to katie holmes, who was seen in manhattan today without her wedding ring, one of the main reasons she filed for divorce was her husband's fierce loyalty to his faith. >> how big a role is scientology playing in this divorce? >> tom cruise is a committed scientologist. for a time if their marriage, katie holmes embraced those beliefs. but it does seem to be that she has moved away from them. tom cruise is the most famous and outspoken member of the church of scientology, a faith founded 60 years ago by science fiction writer l. ron hubbard. it can heel people of past tra has been embroiled in repeated controversies. >> including this astonishing on
camera frant a reporter, clashing with a church spokesman and this exclusive exit by that same spokesman during an interview on "nightline." >> holmes and cruise got married in italy in 2006, but sources tell abc news that holmes has had a change of heart, particularly as it pertains to her daughter suri who she feared would be pulled deeply into the faith. >> she knew what she was getting into. he didn't hide his faith. they got married in a scientology ceremony. if it's all true that this is one of the reasons why she wants to move, that's a pretty big reversal. >> it is. people do have evolutions of thought and go along and raise children and come to different conclusions. >> reporter: we got a surprising look inside the faith recently in this interview with a former top official. the woman who used to run the
church mecca, flag base in clearwater, florida, as part of a now settled court battle with the church, debby cook made a series of allegations about the head of scientology, david miskaf individual, a man who is very close to tom cruise. >> i have never met a more competent, a more intelligent, a more tolerant, more compassionate being. we are lucky to have you and thank you very much. >> but debby cook testified in court that she saw him punch a fellow executive. though he never hit her, he did order a secretary to do so. >> he tells his secretary to slap you. >> yes. >> and she did it. >> she did it very hard. >> hard enough that you fell down. >> yes. >> why did he ask her to do this. >> he was displeased how i was answering a question. it wasn't what he wanted to hear. >> the church denies cook's claims and dismisses her as a,
quote, fraud. >> if it is true, she fears what this could cause her daughter, jenna, who has come forward in kre cent years that more than two decades ago, she was forced to perform manual labor at age six. >> these projects ranged from rock hauling, takes rocks out of the creek, picking them up, hauling them up the hill, putting them in the pile, lushl toy make rock walls. >> then she says at age seven she was forced to sign a billion year loyalty contract. >> it means in scientology, they believe that you live life time after life time. >> at the time of this interview, the church said hill had a long history of being verbally and physically abusive and denied can children were ever forced to do manual labor. in what could be a sign of things to come for katie holmes, debby cook says people who leave the church are often excommunicated.
>> you and your husband still have family in the church? >> yes. we do. >> and do you have a continuing relationship with them? >> no. they have been asked or pressured in some way to not communicate to us right now. >> how painful is that? >> that's very painful. >> the church denies that it encourages families to separate. as scientology celebrates its 60th anniversary this year, this divorce is exposing what a lightening rod the faith has become. something that saddens debby cook who says she is still a believer. >> it's a real travesty because, you know, that's something that has been created. it's not really -- it's been caused -- it shouldn't be that way, but it is. >> given the intensity of the media interest and the on going tom kath saga, the pr problems for scientology are unlikely to
abate any time soon. >> hard journey ahead for tom kath tharnd families. thanks to dan harris. next up, the comic who is not afraid to hit below the belt. we get to know ricky gervais. and there's lots of cool stuff happening with progressive mobile. great! tyler here will show you everything. check out our new mobile app. now you can use your phone to scan your car's vin or take a picture of your license. it's an easy way to start a quote. watch this -- flo, can i see your license? no. well, all right. thanks. okay, here we go. whoa! no one said "cheese." progressive mobile -- insurance has never been easier. get a free quote today.
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"nightline" continues from new york city with terry moran. >> he is hill lace yously offensive. ricky gervais t man behind the successful sit km the office, shock and offense, one of the few people who seems to be get away with saying the things everyone else is thinking. abc's nick watt for our series
seriously funny. >> ladies and gentlemen, ricky gervais. >> ricky gervais revels in the comedy of the unkind. remember the golden globes? >> many of you in this room probably know him best as the betty ford clinic and los angeles county jail. please welcome robert down di jr. >> unkind, that wasn't a room for the wounded soldiers. that was room full of the richest most privileged people world. i said sometime i don't like their film? really. >> butts of the jokes on the ricky gervais show. carl is now traveling around the world as the hideous abroad. >> with warrick daifts, star of life's too short, tale of a dwarf. >> called cycling round with war wick in a basket. i first pitched this to carl, he
didn't say that's a ridiculous idea. he said [ bleep ]. >> and this is derek, a pilot that just aired on british tv about an odd ball who works in a retirement home. not everyone thinks it's funny. defensive to the mentally challenged. >> does it find father of an autistic boy to call worse than racism, worse than home phobia and vile. >> no, it doesn't bother me at all because i don't agree with him. he's a fictional character. if i say he's not meant to be disabled, that's the end of it. with extras, there was a guy with down syndrome, i got an actor with down syndrome to play him. >> you keep your head down, few years time, you could be like me. >> the office is what made
gervais. >> started out in britten and spread across the globe to nearly 09 different countries. most notefully to u.s. where steve carroll took the role and gervais stayed mind the camera. >> how involved are you in that? >> i'm voofled that i cash the check every month. >> gervais is now very successful, very rich, and of course very famous. >> i remember a joumpblist rubbed me up the wrong way. she said, so, what advice would you give to other people who want to be famous like you. >> i went, i would kill a prostitute because there's no difference between fame and infa my these days. >> so far so gervais. but we spend a little time with him, a place in london where he
lives with jane, his partner of 30 years. >> i run everyday and this is where i come up with all my ideas ch say to jane, what do you think of this joke. >> she says please don't tell it out in public. >> everything i do is planned and thought about. >> is this okay? >> martin luther king. because i too have a dream that one day dwarves would be treated equally. >> i laughed at that and felt bad about myself. >> you were worried that you're laughing at him because he was a dwarf. >> i wasn't. >> no you were laughing because he was being preten shous and fell out of the car. >> it smells more chinese. sweet and sour. >> and then there's carl, a butt for is around empty headed chimp like moran, buffoon, idiot.
>> go on. >> you're uncomfortable about this? >> just say what's on your mind. >> is there actually something wrong with him. >> he has a. >> in real life the pair are great friends. 1980s music career. >> that was over very quickly. >> who wasn't in a band at 20. >> please welcome ashton kutcher's dad, bruce willis. >> gervais made a success of comedy simply by knowing formulaw for laughter. >> comedy is at its root undermining or flipping society from norms. >> i'm here because i'm thinking of doing some comedy. >> knock knock. >> come in. >> hi. >> hi what seems to be the problem. >> as i said before, i have full-blown aids. >> who thought that would be a punch line for a joke one day? i tell you what's funny,
full-blown aids. trust me, it will be if liam neeson says it. >> i want to say things that the audience didn't think they could laugh at, but now realize they can. some people confuse the subject of a joke with the target of a joke. >> i can't help but think that even to ricky gervais we thinksy the real person, award ceremonies, most interviews is actually just another character. >> you also got your name from a guy we worked with called andy hitchcock. >> i'm nick watt for "nightline" in london. >> the ricky gervais show is on hbo. anderson cooper did it via e-mail. how more and more celebrities are coming out quietly. i love everything about this country! including prilosec otc. you know one pill each morning treats your frequent heartburn
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not too long ago if a celebrity came out as a gay american, it meant talk show appearances, magazine. more and more gay celebrities choosing a mellow, matter of fact understatement. sign of the a changing times as new form of quiet activism. >> now if somebody takes away something -- >> anderson cooper, he is the guy in the war zone or the hurricane or in the studio reporting the news with a knew neek earnestness and passion. guy with the daytime talk show yucking it up with comedian
kathy griffin. >> today he made a straight-forward announcement, the fact is i'm gay in a e-mail to blogger ander sullivan, always has been, always will be and i couldn't be anymore happy, comfortable with myself and proud. >> anderson cooper's identity as gay, was one cooper chosen to keep private. why now? in his e-mail, he spoke of the struggles many gay and lesbian people still face everyday. there continue to be far too many indens of bullying of young people. and i believe there is value in making clear where i stand. >> sit a powerful statement. it will go a long way for boosting the self esteem and confidence for kids who are gay. what cooper did today will make a difference. >> we know that coming out is most powerful weapon in fighting
anti-lgbt bigotry. now everybody knows they know somebody who is gay. >> while cooper was never publicly out until today, family friends and colleagues knew, he has aggressively covered the plight of kids who have been bullied. >> this is not acceptable behavior. >> in a remarkable conversation with ellen degeneres, he spoke out about the casual use of gay slurs. >> words do have power and are used like weapons. when you're a kid, it can change the way you see yourself. >> so anderson is out now. so much has changed in such a short time. >> i'm gay. >> when ellen degeneres came out in 1997, she was a pioneer and she paid the price. there were protests, huge media coverage, speculation she put her career in jeopardy. >> this is 20/20. she spoke to diane sawyer about it. >> when was the last time you had a moment of doubt wondering
if it was the right thing. >> i made the decision during the summer that i wasn't going to live my life as a lie anymore. >> since then, it's gotten better. from neil patrick harris, magic mike he plays a male stripper, making the harts of women melt, coming out has been less risky, less newsworthy even. today in so many walks of life in so many fields and schools and families, the truth can be told. and that's what's really important. as anderson cooper put it in his e-mail today, i am blessed fwar beyond having a great career. i love and i am loved. >> we wish him the best. thanks for watching abc news. we hope you check in for good morning america. we're always online. jimmy kimmel is up next. we'll see you here tomorrow.