Inside Scientology superstar Tom Cruise is regarded as their most dedicated follower.

The mystery is why he never joined their most elite unit.

Tonight, a former top-ranking defector reveals why.

Amy Scobee tells us the truth about how the cult controls celebrities, the way they handled Tom Cruise's marriage to Nicole Kidman and eyewitness accounts of what happens when their leader loses it.

Bryan Seymour travelled to Seattle for this exclusive interview.

Amy Scobee and her husband Matt Pesce for 27 years lived in an alternate universe where mind-control, brutality, superstars and cash all combined to convince them they were mankind's only hope.

Amy was just a teenager when she was recruited into Scientology.

It was Halloween in 1979 and 14 year old Amy Scobee was sent all on her own from her home in Seattle to the Church of Scientology in Los Angeles. She began life and work in the organisations elite unit, called the Sea Org. It was there she met some of their brightest stars and learned some of their darkest secrets.

During her three decades inside Amy managed the Scientology celebrity centre and rubbed shoulders with a-list converts.

Tom Cruise

Amy claims that Tom Cruise wanted to join the Sea Org but was not eligible.

"I was talking to Shelley and she was telling me about how dedicated Tom Cruise is to Scientology, and she was really pumped about the fact that he was so dedicated."

The "Shelley" she was talking to was Shelley Miscavige, the wife of Scientology's leader David Miscavige, who is best friends with Tom Cruise.

"He said he would join the Sea Organisation, which is where you sign for a billion years and it's a living, working situation; that he would do that but he's unqualified because of his previous drug history," Amy said.

"She told me what drugs he took, which I wont get into, but she did tell me that (these) drugs disqualify him for the Sea

Organisation… there are specific drugs that make it an 'out qualification' that you cannot join," Amy said.

The most respected and dedicated Scientologists, like Amy, are expected, even required, to join the sea org. Tom Cruise did not join.

"He's not qualified to join the sea organisation, but otherwise he'd be here in a heartbeat."

"Because he (Tom Cruise) took those drugs he's no longer qualified. He's not qualified to join the Sea Organisation," Amy said.

Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman

Instead Tom Cruise went on to movie mega-stardom and marriage to Nicole Kidman.

During Cruise and Kidman's ten year union Amy was ordered to interview staff to work in their Pacific Palisades home. Ultimately, she says, Tom was told to choose between Scientology or Nicole.

"I know that it wasn't considered a big loss for the church, because she has... Her father somehow is somehow connected to psychiatry or a psychologist or something like that."

Kidman's father Anthony is a Clinical Psychologist which makes him an arch enemy of Scientology and Tom Cruise.

Amy told us that Nicole Kidman studied Scientology more than anyone had realised. She says Kidman achieved the state of "Clear" and started on her "Operating Thetan" levels, the same path taken by John Travolta, Kate Ceberano and James Packer.

"I like the fact that she is her own woman and she made her own decision and if it wasn't for her, then she was able to leave and not stay under their bind," Amy said.

Scientology Leader David Miscavige

"Intense and evil, almost impossible to please and egotistical beyond imagination."

This is how Amy Scobee describes Scientology's leader David Miscavige. Amy recounted several vicious attacks she claims Miscavige launched on Scientology staff.

"David Miscavige jumped up onto the table and lunged at Jeff Hawkins and knocked his chair over into my cubby, right at my feet… and he's struggling with him and strangling him and knocking him about and Jeff was just completely shocked," Amy said.

"You don't know what sparks him off,"

(Note: We interviewed the victim of this unprovoked attack, Jeff Hawkins, in February in Los Angeles and his account matches Amy's)

In another incident, Amy claims that Miscavige snuck up on former Scientology Spokesman Mike Rinder.

"David Miscavige grabs Mike around the neck and he starts strangling and shaking him and strangling and holding just his grip and Mike's like trying to turn around to see… he doesn't even know what's happening or who's doing it or whatever," Amy said.

"He's strangling him like crazy and he's trying to turn around in the chair, kind of struggling to get his balance or whatever in shock and his face is turning colours and you could tell his eyes were just bugged out and then he takes him and he throws the chair down… throws him by his neck down onto the ground and the chair topples over too.

"And then he turned around and walked out! Stormed out, just like that… so we're like, what happened?

"I've seen him go off on people like that, just out of the blue, several times," Amy said.

Amy explained that the celebrities in Scientology - such as the John Travolta, Tom Cruise, Kirsty Alley, Nancy Cartwright, Juliette Lewis, Jason Lees and so on - don't know about this abuse; they are shielded from all of this nasty horrendous stuff?

"They are handled with kid gloves because you want them happy and satisfied," Amy said.

Scientology Victims

Worse still, Amy claims she was raped at age 14 by an older scientologist... whom she names in her book - and Scientology covered it up to avoid bad publicity.

"I was told don't, you know, tell anybody because it would be bad PR for the Church," Amy said. "We just handle our own. We contain our situations and we handle our own."

Amy and her husband Matt escaped in 2005 and today they run a furniture business in Seattle. Amy has written a book detailing her experiences in Scientology as a record, a warning and a call to action.

"To Senator Xenophon I would say thank you," Amy said.

Amy has joined calls for an Australian Senate inquiry proposed by independent Senator Nick Xenophon.

"This just goes to show Scientology is toxic from the top," Xenophon said.

"If the leaders of the church of Scientology think that this will all go away that it will be back to business as usual then they are deluded… too many good people are coming forward with serious allegations, with serious concerns about this organisation, too many lives have been destroyed," Xenophon said.

Amy's book - Scientology: Abuse at the Top - is due out next month, already Tom Cruise's lawyer, Bert Fields, has written to her, threatening to sue."Mr Cruise has no 'drug history' whatsoever. He has never used illegal drugs of any kind."

"Scientology had nothing to with Mr Cruise's divorce from Ms. Kidman."(Source: Letter from Tom Cruise's lawyer Bertram Fields)

Amy says she is not worried about being sued but she would like to talk with Tom Cruise.

"I would tell him, and it would be a personal communication, that it's very irresponsible for him to hold up David Miscavige as a leader of leaders when he's abusing people and if he doesn't know that, get informed," Amy said.

A spokeswoman for Nicole Kidman told us she has moved on from that life and she has no comment on Scientology or Tom Cruise.

Story links:

Amy Scobee's book "Scientology - Abuse at the Top"

Senator Nic Xenophon

Some of our stories on Scientology

Scientology - The Truth Rundown