A representative for Tom Cruise has officially denied that the actor ever auditioned Nazanin Boniadi to be his wife, as has been reported by Vanity Fair special correspondent Maureen Orth for the magazine's October issue.
A rep for Cruise said that the story about Boniadi auditioning with the Church of Scientology is a lie. In a statement to ABC News the rep said: "Lies in a different font are still lies -- designed to sell magazines." The Church of Scientology told Vanity Fair that no such recruiting project occurred.
However, Oscar-winning director and former Scientologist Paul Haggis has backed Vanity Fair's story about Cruise auditioning wives. In an email to Showbiz411.com, Haggis revealed that he has known Boniadi for years.
I’ve known Nazanin for about three years. I met her through a mutual friend when I was doing my own personal research into the allegations against Scientology, before I wrote my letter of resignation. Naz was embarrassed by her unwitting involvement in this incident and never wanted it to come out, so I kept silent. However I was deeply disturbed by how the highest ranking members of a church could so easily justify using one of their members; how they so callously punished her and then so effectively silenced her when it was done. It wasn’t just the threats; they actually made her feel ashamed, when all she had been was human and trusting.
Orth's Vanity Fair piece alleges that a secret wife-auditioning process began in 2004, headed by Shelly Miscavige, wife of Scientology chief David Miscavige, with the purpose of finding a girlfriend for Cruise. Sources told Orth about the elaborate wife-auditioning process, in which actresses who were Scientologists were chosen and questioned.
Nicole Kidman, who was married to the actor from 1990 to 2001, and Penelope Cruz, who dated the actor from 2001 to 2004, were not aligned with the path of Scientology.
Boniadi, an Iranian-born, London-raised actress, was eventually selected as the Chosen One. She was audited every day for an entire month and told to change various aspects of her life, according to Vanity Fair.
In a month-long preparation in October 2004, she was audited every day, a process in which she told a high-ranking Scientology official her innermost secrets and every detail of her sex life. Boniadi allegedly was told to lose her braces, her red highlights, and her boyfriend. According to a knowledgeable source, she was shown confidential auditing files of her boyfriend to expedite a breakup.
She and Cruise dated from November 2004 to January 2005. Although she was in love with him, his intense affection and affinity for public displays of that affection were too much for her. After she reportedly disrespected a Scientology chief, she was asked to move out of Cruise's home and into into Scientology’s Celebrity Centre where she was later told she had been dumped.
Cruise began dating Katie Holmes in 2005. That same year, Holmes began studying Scientology. "I'm really excited about it," she told The Associated Press at the time. The two divorced in late-June. Details of the split have not been publicly reported, but some believed Scientology and the possibility of daughter Suri adopting the religion caused a major divide.
The October issue of Vanity Fair will hit newsstands September 6.
UPDATE: A representative for the Church of Scientology further rejected Vanity Fair's story, calling the allegations "hogwash" in a statement issued to Us Weekly.
"The entire story is hogwash. There was no project, secret or otherwise, ever conducted by the Church to find a bride (audition or otherwise) for any member of the church," the Church said in a statement to Us Weekly. "The allegation and entire premise of the Vanity Fair article is totally false . . . We have been denying this ridiculous tale now since it first appeared in print four years ago."
The rep went on to attempt to dismantle Paul Haggis' email to Showbiz411.com, claiming that the filmmaker had a previous relationship with Nazanin Boniadi.
"Both Paul Haggis and Nazanin Boniadi are members of a small self-proclaimed 'posse' of anti-Scientology apostates founded by self-admitted liars and suborners of perjury," the rep added in the statement to Us Weekly. "This posse has been selling stories to the highest bidder for years . . . In recent weeks, they have exploited this high profile divorce in any way they can by spreading lies to draw attention to themselves so they an make money shilling their self-published books."
PHOTO: Nazanin Boniadi, the woman at the center of the alleged Tom Cruise wife-auditioning scandal, poses at Radio City Music Hall in March.