A new report claims that the way Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes relationship started was bizarre – and the Church of Scientology was apparently to blame.
The secretive religious group organized an “audition” process to find Tom Cruise a wife, according to Vanity Fair, grilling dozens of young women to make sure they posed no threat to the church or its most famous member.
And Katie Holmes was apparently not the first choice – the church wanted Tom Cruise to marry a young actress who was already a Scientologist, but she was seen as disrespectful to religious leaders.
The shocking allegations about the origins of the stars’ six-year marriage are made by writer Maureen Orth in the October issue of Vanity Fair.
Maureen Orth claims that the project to identify a new partner for Tom Cruise, following the break-up of his relationships with Nicole Kidman and Penelope Cruz, started in 2004 and was headed by Shelly Miscavige, wife of the church’s top official David Miscavige.
A number of Scientologist actresses were interviewed by church leaders, according to former official Marc Headley, and told they were being considered for a role in a new training video.
However, they were faced with unexpected questions such as: “What do you think of Tom Cruise?”
Katie Holmes, who did not become a Scientologist until she started going out with Tom Cruise, was not part of this process.
Instead, Shelly Miscavige apparently chose Nazanin Boniadi, then 24, an Iranian-born actress who grew up in Britain, to be the megastar’s new partner.
Nazanin Boniadi was told she had been selected for “a very important mission”, and ordered to break up with her boyfriend.
When Nazanin Boniadi was flown to New York and taken for dinner by Tom Cruise at trendy restaurant Nobu, she began to suspect she was part of an elaborate set-up.
The pair went ice-skating at Rockefeller Center, where the rink had been closed for them, then spent the night together.
The actress, who has appeared in General Hospital, How I Met Your Mother and blockbuster Iron Man, was made to sign multiple confidentiality agreements over her relationship with Tom Cruise.
While the process which selected Nazanin Boniadi may have been arbitrary – one of the stipulations was that Tom Cruise could not go out with a woman who had ever been in a threesome – the star soon fell hard for the young woman.
However, Nazanin Boniadi was not affectionate enough towards her new boyfriend, Vanity Fair reports.
Tom Cruise was keen on extravagant romantic displays, and complained that the actress would not reciprocate his grand gestures.
Moreover, she was repeatedly in trouble for not respecting senior Scientologists – including Tom Cruise himself.
The first time they met, she congratulated him on winning a medal from the church, which apparently implied that she was superior to him.
And when she met Shelly Miscavige, she asked him to repeat himself because he was talking too fast.
When the couple had been dating for three months, Tom Cruise allegedly tired of his lover, and officials asked her to move out of his house in to the Scientology Celebrity Centre.
Her relationship with the star remained a secret, and Vanity Fair claims that she was once forced to do manual labor for telling a friend about the affair.
Scientology officials have dismissed several of the magazine’s sources as vindictive and unreliable, and deny the story about the wife search.
Just a few months after the break-up, Tom Cruise started seeing Katie Holmes, who converted to Scientology ahead of their marriage in November 2006.
Katie Holmes filed for divorce in June, and the split was finalized two weeks later.