The Church of Scientology has rubbished claims that it auditioned potential mates for its highest-profile member, Tom Cruise.
According to Vanity Fair, Scientologist actresses were invited to audition for a church training film in 2004, only to be asked, "What do you think of Tom Cruise?"
After an intensive screening process, Scientology officials eventually chose British-Iranian actress Nazanin Boniadi.
Film director Paul Haggis, an ex-member of the Church of Scientology, said that Boniadi "was embarrassed by her unwitting involvement."
She embarked on a brief relationship with Cruise, subject to intense secrecy, before church officials broke it off in January 2005.
Three months later, Cruise began publicly dating actress Katie Holmes.
"The entire story is hogwash," the New York Daily News quoted a Scientology representative as telling Us magazine.
"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 rep said.
The church said it has been denying the audition rumors since they first surfaced four years ago.
Marc Headley, a former Scientologist and author of the expose 'Blown for Good,' said that he watched several audition tapes.
Canadian director Paul Haggis, another prominent ex-member and a friend of Boniadi's, confirmed that she went through the process and dated Cruise.
"Naz was embarrassed by her unwitting involvement in this incident and never wanted it to come out, so I kept silent," Haggis wrote in an email to the website Showbiz 411.
After the relationship ended, the 'Crash' director said, he 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 same Scientology rep who slammed Vanity Fair's report dismissed Haggis as a "status-obsessed apostate," whose 2009 resignation from the church was a publicity stunt.
"No Church members were 'used,' nor were they punished, nor silenced. This is totally false," the rep said, claiming that Haggis and Boniadi are in a romantic relationship.
The rep said the two are trying to exploit Holmes' divorce from Cruise "in any way they can by spreading lies to draw attention to themselves, so they can make money shilling their self-published books." (ANI)