Katie Holmes (l) and Tom Cruise before divorce PIC: Reuters
Katie Holmes and Tom Cruise before their divorce (Reuters)

Tom Cruise has admitted that his devotion to Scientology was one reason why Katie Holmes left him and took their child Suri with her.

Actor Cruise, 51, made the disclosure during a bad-tempered exchange with lawyers who were quizzing him after he launched legal action over magazine claims that he "abandoned" his daughter.

When asked by lawyers for Bauer Media if Holmes fled to "protect" Suri from Scientology, he replied: "That was one of the assertions, yes."

Cruise then added: "There are many different aspects to the divorce."

Cruise is suing for £30m the US magazines Life & Style and In Touch for libel.

He told lawyers: "I didn't abandon her [Suri] emotionally, physically or otherwise."

Further questioning about the role of his beliefs in the breakdown of his marriage angered Cruise.

"I find that question offensive," he said. "Like with any relationship, there are many different levels to it. You know, I find it very offensive. There is no need to protect my daughter from my religion. I don't know where it was all coming from but I heard that horrific thing."

Scientologists are encouraged to cut all ties with members who walk away from the organisation. It was revealed during questioning that Suri no longer practised Scientology and that Cruise had not seen her for 110 days following his divorce in 2012.

He was asked: "Would you consider Ms Holmes to be a 'suppressive' person upon leaving the Church?"

Cruise replied: "That is a distortion and a simplification of the matter. I don't want to just give an oversimplification of religious doctrine."

He was challenged on why he had been able to fly to London to promote Scientology but had not made a similar effort to see Suri, aged seven.

He answered: "When a divorce occurs, things change. And it's more complicated - you now have to ask for permission and organise schedules to make things happen.

"So it wasn't - it's not an ideal scene. It's not an ideal situation. What doesn't change is the love I have for my daughter, the fact that I didn't abandon her emotionally, physically or otherwise."

The case continues.