There's a rumor going around that one of Scientology's most powerful proponents, John Travolta, is looking to leave the draconian religion once and for all. After the year he's had, it would make sense.

According to the Daily Mail - who rounded up some interesting quotes on the matter - it appears to be a very real possibility. To say Travolta's had a rough go of it recently would be putting it very, very lightly.

On the business side of things, Travolta's big role this year performed under studio expectations. A complete aside, when you consider his personal life:

His son Jett - reportedly autistic, a diagnosis the Church of Scientology refuses to dignify - passed away earlier this year. Travolta defied Scientology and acknowledged it. Some sleazy gossip website put together a theory that enlists the idea of Travolta not only having a gay lover, but the gay lover - his son's nanny - being a primary cause of his son's death. Which is besides the fact that someone tried to extort him over documents involved in his son's transportation, and his wife might've tried (successfully) to get Roger Friedman fired by going to the top brass at Fox over Friedman's comments on Scientology.

All of this gives the Daily Mail's report some ground to walk on, when they note:

His distress, say sources close to him, has been compounded by the first cracks in his 34-year relationship with the Church of Scientology, the cult-like religion of which Travolta is a prominent and generous benefactor. And there are dark mutterings that if he carries out private threats to leave, the organisation will go public with embarrassing details of his private life, including, it is claimed, allegations of past homosexual relationships. Sources in the U.S. disclosed to me this week that his son's sudden death has 'deeply shaken' Travolta's faith in the strange sect, which makes wild claims about its ability to cure a variety of physical and mental disorders.

There's more talk of Travolta taking late night drives by himself, and being in a "state of constant distress." There's the very evident weight Travolta's gained. There's the memory of Scientology's scary-ass leader David Miscavage slagging on Travolta's sexuality:

Earlier, the prestigious Time magazine also reported allegations made by Richard Aznaran, the former security head of Scientology, that the Church's leader, David Miscavige, had repeatedly joked about Travolta's 'promiscuous homosexual behaviour'.

And then there's the fact that Scientology has a well known history of intimidation of the physical and emotional stripe. This goes without saying, but: Travolta's donated millions of dollars, and what could only be thousands of hours to the church throughout his life. Shit, he made Battlefield Earth.

For a celebrity of Travolta's stature to renounce Scientology would be massive, for both parties. Even rumors of Travolta's potential departure from the religion are pretty damning. Granted, it'll be a difficult path if he chooses to take it - the resistance he'll encounter from the highest levels of the religion are potentially fiscally, emotionally, and physically dangerous to his livelihood - but one that could shake Scientology to its absolute core.

Is John Travolta cracking up? [Daily Mail]