The Church of Scientology devised an arranged romance for movie-star member Tom Cruise, spending months auditing a young actress and controlling large aspects of her life, according to a new Vanity Fair article by investigative journalist Maureen Orth.
Orth, a special correspondent for the magazine since 1993 and the winner of a shared National Magazine Award for her work at Newsweek, reports in the October issue that in 2004, Nazanin Boniadi was selected from a group of Scientologist actresses interviewed for what they were told was a new training film. Among the questions, recalled Marc Headley, were "What do you think of Tom Cruise?" Headly, who has since left the church, watched audition videotapes while head of Scientology's in-house studio.
The Tehran-born, London-raised Boniadi then spent a month being "audited," a process that involved telling a Scientology official her most intimate details. In November 2004, Orth says, Boniadi -- who has since gone on to film and TV, including a role in several episodes of "How I Met Your Mother" -- began to suspect she was to be part of an arranged marriage.
According to the article, though the relationship began well and Boniadi fell in love with Cruise, she was incurring his displeasure by the second month, and also may have inadvertently offended Scientology leader David Miscavige. Afterward, writes Orth, Cruise's affections cooled toward Boniadi, who by then had moved in with him. By January, the actress was asked to move into one of Scientology's Celebrity Centre facilities that cater to creative professionals.
Boniadi was given confidentiality agreements to sign and threatened with being declared a "Suppressive Person" (an enemy of Scientology) and expelled, the article states. Boniadi, who is now a spokeswoman for Amnesty International, has since left the organization.
Orth noted that Scientology representatives denied the article's specifics and discounted claims they said were made by disgruntled former members. Miscavige and Cruise declined to let Orth interview them.