Tony Ortega Drags Scientologist Mother Through Daughter’s Death to Attack Her Religion

Tony Ortega dragged Catherine through the tragic death of her daughter, Tayler, the day after the memorial service to attack her religion—then hung up on her when she begged him to please leave the family alone.


A friend of mine has a good saying. I love this little saying. She’s an older woman. I just adore her. She says, “People always tell you who they really are. You just have to listen.” Yeah, that tells you about Tony Ortega.

What really happened with Tayler, more than anything, is—she was extraordinarily bright—she had a genius IQ. She was absolutely beautiful, she was funny, she was creative—she was all of those things. And she just couldn’t find her place in this world. She couldn’t find her purpose in life. She just had trouble, everything bored her or she just couldn’t figure out how to get somewhere in the world—as happens with a lot of people in their, you know, late teens, early 20s, trying to find their way in the world, mid-20s. And so I did a tremendous amount of help over the years of paying for classes for her, sending her to different schools for things. I can’t even tell you how many things we paid for, for her, that she started and then found it completely boring, and then left it. But I kept trying and trying and trying. And so, you know, kind of coming forward into the last year of her life, she was just very distraught about what to do with her life. She just couldn’t figure out what she wanted and she was very frustrated.

But she had health problems that started to crop up. And one of the biggest problems was that she started taking a birth control called Depo-Provera. And Depo-Provera is where you get one shot every three months, so it’s like taking 100 birth control pills at once. Now, Tayler was always very slim. That was just her natural build. And so this reacted on her greatly. And she started becoming very erratic in her behavior after that, which is what happens when you get that ridiculous amount of hormones. She also got a sore on her face from this—you know, a pimple which grew into a staph infection. And they started giving her massive amounts of antibiotics, on three different rounds. And I later found out that the side effects from those antibiotics—which I didn’t know till well after she died—all of the symptoms that she had were exactly the symptoms—the side effects of those antibiotics. So between those—and also she had allergies. And most of these people who are chattering negatively about her all over the Internet, in this TV show and stuff, they don’t know that, that she had horrendous allergies.

So in that last year, I can’t even tell you how many things we did to try to help solve. And that included when things got really rough, I did consult a psychiatrist. I actually did. And she actually helped me find a clinic in Portland where Tayler was. And that clinic was incredible. And their entire specialty was mental health care problems. And what they do is, they can give them drugs because they’re doctors, but they can also do supplements, lifestyle management. So we went there and they ordered a lot of tests and things for her, and sent us to the University of Oregon. I took her over there. I didn’t live there, I went up and just helped arrange all of these things. And she had extensive amounts of tests. She was evaluated by about ten different doctors there. And, you know, we were trying to determine—the biggest problem and really what led to her suicide actually was that she couldn’t sleep. She would not sleep for four or five days at a time. And she used to call me and just screaming, “I can’t sleep, Mom! I can’t sleep!” And she was just going crazy. And in the end, she was not sleeping, and she shot herself one day.

But, I find it incredibly offensive and incredibly hurtful that I’ve had to go through this absolute hell, you know, that happened to me and my family, and to Tayler. And now, you know, this woman, Leah Remini, and this very selfish man, Tony Ortega, want to prey on someone who’s had to go through this tragedy and bring it back again for me to have to relive, go through and be criticized for. Which is a really, really low blow. You know, that they could actually go after people that have had to go through something like this, is—just tells you who Leah Remini and Tony Ortega really are. Like, how could she do this to me and to my family, you know?

So, the day after Tayler’s memorial, I went out and got this beautiful tattoo. And what this is, is angel wings—they’re the identical ones that she had on her back. And her half-sister and I did that together. And while I was there, I got a phone call from Tony Ortega. I’d had no idea who he was. I had no idea what his website was or anything. And I thought that he was calling—he said he was a reporter—I thought he was calling because there’s an incredible story that happened where people all over the world sent off red balloons. Red was Tayler’s favorite color….​And took pictures and posted them and sent, you know, lovely, lovely wishes and things like that.

Anyway, I thought Tony was calling me about that because it was such an incredible, extraordinary story. And so I started talking to him and he was saying, giving his condolences, “I’m so sorry about your daughter,” this and that and whatever. And out of nowhere he says to me, “So, do you think she—your daughter killed herself over Scientology?” I will never forget those words. I was jarred. It just shocked. I mean, I had just, you know, had my daughter’s memorial the day before and had been dealing with the funeral as a single mom. I had to really handle everything. And I was, I was utterly stunned that anybody would have the gall to talk to me like that. And so, I was like, “No, absolutely not!”

And, at the end of the story, I begged him. I said, “Tony please, please don’t publish a story. I have been through absolute hell. This has been the worst thing imaginable. And I’m—it’s one day, not even one day past her funeral, and I’m trying to get on with my life. I’m trying to just, you know, get a breath for a minute.” And I said, “Please don’t do this to us. Please don’t do this to my family. We don’t deserve this. If you have problems with other people, fine, but just stop with this. I can’t take any more.” And he said, “We’ll see about that,” and hung up on me.

So yeah, that’s Tony Ortega for you, you know. It’s like, it’s disgusting. You know, I noticed my hand here. I’m going to say something. You know, going through it was extremely, extremely hard. And I had to go down to the coroner’s office and get her personal belongings. And yeah, she borrowed this ring and it was on her body when she died. So how could somebody be talking to me like this? How could somebody make me have to relive this, and do it in such a public, public way? And, you know, Leah Remini, who’s trying to make money off of this—other people’s sadness, you know, is just absolutely the lowest blow. And Tony Ortega, I mean really, how low can you go?