By Alyssa Goldman, EnStarz | Sep 04, 2012 12:49 PM EDT
There have been lots of allegations made about the popular celeb-filled religion Scientology, but this may be the strangest one yet.
In an excerpt from Vanity Fair magazine's October cover story, special correspondent Maureen Orth describes how high-ranking Scientology officials were sought to find Tom Cruise a suitable girlfriend in 2004.
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According to Orth's sources, officials chose Iranian-born, London-raised actress Nazanin Boniadi. The two dated from Nov. 2004 to Jan. 2005. Scientology representatives, however, said no such search ever took place and dismissed the article's sources.
But on Sept. 2, Oscar-winning filmmaker and former Scientologist Paul Haggis wrote an e-mail to Showbiz 411 confirming that the auditting did in fact take place. According to the magazine article, Boniadi, 32, was scrutinized every day in October 2004 and was allegedly "told to lose her braces, her red highlights and her boyfriend" before meeting Cruise the following month in New York City.
Orth's sources claim that although Boniadi did fall for Cruise, 50, the actor's affectionate behavior became too much for her to handle. Following a series of incidents with high-ranking Scientology officials, Boniadi was eventually forced to leave Cruise's home, where she lived, and move into Scientology's Celebrity Centre. She was later transferred to another Scientology center in Florida.
In Haggis' e-mail, he claims to have known Boniadi for three years, according to US Weekly magazine.
"I met her through a mutual friend when I was doing my own personal research into the allegations against Scientology, before I wrote my letter of resignation," Haggis wrote. "Naz was embarrassed by her unwitting involvement in this incident and never wanted it to come out, so I kept silent. 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," Haggis, 59, added.
Haggis continued to explain why he left Scientology and said he empathizes with 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 rights activist and a truly lovely and caring person," he said. "The last thing she wanted or needed is this kind of publicity, but here it is, and I am sure she will deal with it with the same grace and dignity she exudes in her daily life."
Haggis added that "Naz quietly and privately resigned from the church a couple of years ago after several years of trying to handle this injustice internally, to no avail."
Tom Cruise's rep told ABC News: "Lies in a different font are still lies -- designed to sell magazines."
Source: Us Weekly magazine
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