Who Is Nazanin Boniadi, Tom Cruise's Alleged Set Up?
Katie Holmes, 33, may not be the wife of Tom Cruise, 50, anymore, and, according to new reports, she almost wasn't at all!
Holmes married Cruise after he was allegedly set up with Iranian-born How I Met Your Mother actress Nazanin Boniadi, 32, by the Church of Scientology, which reportedly vetted potential wives for Cruise, according to a new Vanity Fair story.
The article claims that Shelly Miscavige, the wife of Scientology chief David Miscavige, led the search for Cruise's new wife, and Boniadi, who has also had roles in General Hospital, Iron Man and 24, wound up in first place. She reportedly had a two-month relationship with Cruise after being flown out to New York to meet him. Toward the end of the relationship, Boniadi reportedly starting falling from grace, as her relationship with Cruise was going sour and she was said to have offended David Miscavige by asking him to repeat himself several times on one occasion, as she kept misunderstanding him. "Mr. Miscavige doesn't remember any girlfriend of anyone, in his entire life, insulting him," a rep for Miscavige reportedly told Vanity Fair.
After the incident, Cruise and the church allegedly sent Boniadi to the Celebrity Center in Florida, where she broke down and told a friend about the arrangement. The friend reported her to the church, and Boniadi was reportedly punished for her indiscretion, made to clean toilets with a toothbrush, clean bathroom tiles with acid, and dig ditches in the middle of the night, says the magazine.
Boniadi later left the Church of Scientology, the article reports, Cruise was hooked up with Holmes, and the rest is history.
The Church of Scientology recently issued a statement vociferously denying the claims, calling the article "hogwash," reports E! Online. "There was no project, secret or otherwise, ever conducted by the Church to find a bride (audition or otherwise) for any member," read the statement, released by church representative Karin Pouw. "The allegation and entire premise of the Vanity Fair article is totally false."
In the meantime, ex-Scientologist and Oscar-winning Crash director Paul Haggis, who had a vocal split from the church three years ago, put in his two cents on the matter, which he has reportedly known about for some time, having met Boniadi after the incident. "[Naz] never wanted it to come out, so I kept silent," Haggis wrote in an email to Showbiz 411. "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."
While Haggis castigated the Church of Scientology, he had only kind words for Boniadi. "In Naz's case, she has no right to feel ashamed. She is not only a terrific actress at the beginning of a very promising career, she is a dedicated human-right activist and a truly lovely and caring person. The last thing she wanted or needed is this kind of publicity, but here it is, and I'm sure she will deal with it with the same grace and dignity she exudes in her daily life."
Boniadi, who has been called the Iranian Audrey Hepburn, has a current recurring role in How I Met Your Mother as Nora, the woman who stole the playboy heart of Barney Stinson, played by Neil Patrick Harris.
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