Shelly Miscavige was the queen of Scientology. No one will say where she is.

For more than three decades, David and Shelly Miscavige led the notorious Church of Scientology.

The couple, who first met in the most rigid arm of the Church of Scientology, the Sea Org, became the King and Queen of the church in 1986 when Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard passed away. 

For years, Shelly was David’s right-hand woman – she was his wife, his assistant, the first lady of Scientology and she even acted as a handler to one of Scientology’s biggest names, Tom Cruise.

But for more than 15 years, Shelly Miscavige has not been seen publicly.

Suspicions began to rise within the church in 2006 when Shelly was absent from the wedding of Cruise and his partner at the time, Katie Holmes.

Throughout her time in the church, Shelly always appeared at David’s side. But at Scientology’s so-called “wedding of the century”, she was nowhere to be seen.

Leah Remini, a former Scientologist who has actively spoken out against the church for years, was one of the first to raise questions about Shelly’s absence from the $3 million destination wedding.

david miscavige
Scientology leader David Miscavige. Image: Getty.

When Remini questioned other Scientology members about Shelly's whereabouts during the nuptials, she was "punished for asking where the leader's wife was" and told to mind her own business.

It was Shelly's absence from the wedding and the church's subsequent reaction that ultimately led to Remini's decision to leave the religion. Upon departing in 2013, Remini filed a missing persons report for Shelly.

The Los Angeles Police Department soon responded, confirming that they had made contact with Shelly and subsequently closed the missing persons case.

But despite the police department's response, Remini was not satisfied.

"There's still answers that I need," the actress said in a 2016 TV special.

"I do not know that she is alive. I do not know that she's not being held against her will."

leah remini
Leah Remini has been outspoken about her experiences with the Church of Scientology. Image: Getty.



On a 2018 episode of 60 Minutes, reporter Tara Brown sat down with Remini to investigate the sudden disappearance of the Queen of Scientology.

"'Shelly is fine and she's alive'... that's the PR line," Remini told Brown. "I don't [believe that]."

David Miscavige's father, Ron Miscavige, who departed Scientology back in 2012, said he had no idea where his daughter-in-law is.

"Shelly, she'll never be free," Ron said in the 60 Minutes interview. "These are pretty bad people, but they don't have a conscience and that lets them do it."

In response to the 60 Minutes episode, the Church of Scientology referred Mamamia to two blog posts.

Both posts, which can be read in full here and here, accused Channel Nine and 60 Minutes of staging scenes and manipulating facts. 

"[Tara] Brown used ambush interviews, bogus phone calls, drone and helicopter flights over Church facilities. She even trespassed on Church properties, with a camera crew, of course, to create the illusion of 'news'.


Many people believe Shelly initially disappeared from the church following a disagreement with her husband.

According to multiple sources who spoke to Vanity Fair in 2014, David asked Shelly to reorganise the Sea Org leadership structure back in 2006. The project was reportedly a huge source of tension between the couple, with David rejecting every single draft his wife presented on the matter.

Eventually, Shelly is said to have released her plans without David's seal of approval.

Not long after, Shelly's former personal assistant Valerie Haney saw Shelly for the last time.

In documentary Scientology and the Aftermath, Remini interviewed Haney, who said she last saw Shelly crying and entering a vehicle outside Gold Base, Scientology's international headquarters in California.

In the documentary Scientology and the Aftermath, Leah Remini shares her experience with Scientology. Watch the trailer below.

“What [Miscavige] is doing with his wife, hiding her and not having her anywhere around, I don’t get it. That is heartless to me,” she said.


In recent years, former Scientology members and journalists alike have speculated about Shelly's whereabouts.

In 2016, an anonymous source claimed to have spotted Shelly twice in Crestline, California near the Scientology headquarters. They said she was being "escorted by two men," and described her physical appearance as a "thin, smaller woman" and appeared "dishevelled... almost like a drug addict, or like she was homeless". 

While some believe she's being housed at one of the church's tightly controlled bases, others believe she may be dead.

In a more recent development, Shelly's husband David also went missing for a number of months. The New York Post reported in January 2023 that lawyers had tried to reach him but were unable to contact the church leader.

David is one of several Scientology heads embroiled in a civil child-trafficking lawsuit brought by former Church members in federal court, who allege they were forced into the Church as children and expected to work into adulthood for almost no pay.

According to the plaintiffs’ lawyers, they tried 27 times over four months to serve Miscavige the legal papers.

In April 2023, he was finally seen at an anniversary event for founder L. Ron Hubbard, where he reportedly gave a three-hour speech.

To this day, Shelly's whereabouts is still unknown.

This article was originally published on February 11, 2019 and has since been updated with new information.

Feature image: Vanity Fair Confidential/ID.