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There's no shortage of speculation on what Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes' divorce settlement stipulates, from custody of Suri to talk about supposed supervised visits for the 6-year-old with her father.
But there's one thing Cruise's lawyer wants you to scratch from the list: that Scientology played a part in settlement talks.
His attorney, Bert Fields, is shooting down reports that the 50-year-old's controversial religion—and his strident devotion to it—was a major sticking point in top-secret divorce negotiations between the actor and his estranged ex.
"Let me be very clear about this. The Church of Scientology played absolutely NO ROLE in the divorce settlement talks at all. Period," Fields tells Radar Online.
"The mere suggestion that the Church was involved in any element of the talks and ultimate settlement is categorically false. Anyone suggesting otherwise is just wrong."
Scientology has been a hot-button topic surrounding both the divorce and the ex-couple's subsequent settlement, and while Fields' statement explicitly states that the religion didn't play a role in the actual settlement talks, it didn't necessarily address whether Scientology factored into the divorce itself.
Shortly after word of the split broke, a source close to Holmes told E! News exclusively that the 33-year-old was "never truly comfortable" with the religion. "It was something she accepted and put up with for many years because it was important to Tom," the source said, adding, "It wasn't that she was against Scientology...but she also didn't want it to be her everything, and for Tom, in some ways, it was."
A rep for the church, on the other hand, denied insinuations that it has remained involved in the actress' life, including rumors that it dispatched a surveillance team to monitor Holmes' activities.
News of the divorce settlement has also fueled talk of Scientology's subsequent role in Suri's life, with reports surfacing that Holmes demanded the religion not be discussed around the child, and that Suri be accompanied by Holmes' personal staff during visits with Cruise.
Holmes' lawyer, Jonathan Wolfe, has slammed such talk, telling E! News in a statement, "There are numerous inaccuracies in the reports regarding the purported contents of the agreement reached between the parties. The agreement is confidential and its terms will not be disclosed."
No one, however, has emphatically denied that Holmes now has sole custody of Suri.
The Los Angeles Times, meanwhile, is reporting that the actress set the wheels in motion for the divorce early on by using a disposable cell phone to hide from Cruise evidence of any preliminary conversations with her lawyers.
Whatever speculation hovers above them, the ex-couple is clearly moving on: A day after the settlement, Cruise was spotted—sans wedding ring—back on the California set of his new flick Oblivion, while half a continent away, Holmes stepped out on Tuesday with her mother and Suri for a gals' day out in New York City.
by Alexis L. Loinaz
(Originally published on July 11, 2012 at 5:54 a.m. PT)