The Church of Scientology is lashing out against claims that it “embarked on a top-secret project” in 2004 to help find a girlfriend for Tom Cruise. According to a story in the October issue of Vanity Fair, Shelly Miscavige, the wife of Scientology leader David Miscavige, headed up the effort, which eventually led to Cruise dating actress Nazanin Boniadi for a short time.
“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 says 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.”
Filmmaker and former Scientologist Paul Haggis wrote an email to Showbiz411.com on Sunday (Sept. 2), confirming the Vanity Fair report.
“Naz was embarrassed by her unwitting involvement in the incident and never wanted it to come out, so I kept silent,” Haggis writes about his friend. “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.”
The church’s rep calls Haggis “a status obsessed apostate who exploited a tenuous connection with Scientology to grab headlines via a publicity stunt whereby he ‘resigned’ from the Church where he had not been an active parishioner for decades. … He is doing the same again — attempting to grab headlines and falsely slander his former religion. No Church members were ‘used,’ nor were they punished, nor silenced. This is totally false.”