How Scientology Auditioned Women for a Cruise Marriage

Nazanin Boniadi was first choice, but got axe for 'rudeness'
By Mark Russell,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 2, 2012 7:54 AM CDT
How Scientology Auditioned Women for a Cruise Marriage
Nazanin Boniadi, best known for her roles on "How I Met Your Mother" and "General Hospital," reportedly dated Tom Cruise for three months as part of a Scientology-sponsored audition process.   (AP Photo/Alastair Grant)

When Tom Cruise was ready to embark on marriage No. 3, the project became a major in-house initiative at the Church of Scientology, overseen by the wife of leader David Miscavige in a process that gets thoroughly dissected by Maureen Orth in Vanity Fair. Actresses already affiliated with Scientology were told they were auditioning for a "training film," and asked questions such as, "What do you think of Tom Cruise?" “It’s not like you only have to please your husband—you have to toe the line for Scientology," said the former head of Scientology's in-house studio, who claims he saw some of the audition tapes. “You can’t do anything to displease Scientology, because Tom Cruise will freak out.”

Scientology's first pick was Tehran-born actress Nazanin Boniadi (probably best known as Nora on How I Met Your Mother). After heavy preparations and auditing in October 2004, Boniadi met Cruise secretly in New York in November, going skating and spending the night together. But Cruise was almost immediately annoyed with Boniadi, complaining she didn't gush enough love to him. But her biggest infraction was being rude to Miscavige—she repeatedly asked him to repeat himself, a big no-no in communications-obsessed Scientology. Scientology officials told Boniadi her relationship with Cruise was over in January, and she was sent to the group's Celebrity Center in Florida, where after spilling details of the saga, she was punished by scrubbing toilets with a toothbrush and digging ditches in the middle of the night. Of course, Scientology denies the whole thing. (Note: Mark Rathbun, famous anti-Scientology crusader, says that the Vanity Fair piece was written without Boniadi's involvement, and the actress has made no comments on her Twitter page).

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