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I’ve been following the abrupt separation and soon-to-be-divorced Katie Holmes/Tom Cruise saga with utter fascination.
The last 6 years of their extremely uncomfortable “whirlwind” romance looked contrived. Most news sources reported the story with considerable skepticism. (Editor’s note: I will tell you that on our radio show, we were extremely careful about what we said about Scientology. No matter how goofy the faith may look to you or me, they are aggressively litigious. Speak at your peril.) But when the story broke about Katie’s “Mission Impossible-esque” divorce proceedings, I cheered. And with the extremely abrupt capitulation of Tom Cruise, it seems clear that Katie is not the pushover she seemed to be.
There’s an interesting trend to view Katie Holmes as a feminist hero. I loved this article from Virginia Heffernan today:
Katie Holmes is not just a Catholic daughter of Ohio, a straight-A Catholic-school student who attended Columbia, and an ambitious actress and designer. She is also shrewd. And her father, Martin Holmes, is shrewder still—and a divorce lawyer.
“Marty believes there are only two sets of rules: the rules of the court and his rules, and he carries himself that way,” says a Toledo lawyer who has worked with him, according to People magazine. Martin Holmes had been skeptical of the match from the beginning, the tabloids reported; now he’s said to have “helped orchestrate his daughter’s sudden split” from Tom Cruise using thriller-like tactics, including disposable phones.
Perhaps it’s Martin Holmes who foresaw that the divorce—Holmes and Cruise had a prenup, so money questions were forgone—would turn on a so-called spiritual custody dispute. “Spiritual custody” is a fascinating phrase; it refers to a child’s education and environment—the set of facts, beliefs and practices they’re modeled and taught. Holmes’s lawyers were especially strict about Katie keeping control over family’s choice of nanny and what Cruise could say to Suri about her mother’s status as a non-Scientologist. Jeffrey Shulman, a professor of law at Georgetown, told the Los Angeles Times that a judge could intervene if the religion was used to turn Suri away from Holmes because she was not an adherent. (Shulman believes the law should protect children better against religious coercion.)
She got out! She’s free! The tabloids, which have been rooting for Katie from the start, now post—nearly every hour—photos of Holmes looking radiantly happy. Like actually sanguine and not actress-sanguine, with her rose-red daughter and her proud Catholic mom. In a flash, Holmes is divorced and has full custody (Cruise gets a “meaningful relationship” with Suri)—along with a contractual say in what Cruise can do with his daughter.
As celebrity disputes go, Holmes has pulled off the biggest rout in memory. What Tina Turner did for battered women by breaking away from Ike, Katie Holmes has done for spouses and children suffering from religious abuse and coercion. She fought bullying with bullying. She beat Tom Cruise. She beat Scientology. It’s not too much to call her a feminist hero.
Read the rest of the article on Yahoo here.