Nazanin Boniadi, the Iranian-born woman who said she auditioned to be Tom Cruise's girlfriend in late 2004, has bounced back from her Scientology scandal with a new breakout role on the hit Showtime series "Homeland."
Boniadi was just a small-time actress with only a "General Hospital" stint under her belt, as well as a few cameos on shows like "Grey's Anatomy" and "CSI" before a 2012 Vanity Fair article blew the lid off her brief relationship with Cruise
, which lasted from November 2004 to January 2005.
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The Vanity Fair article, citing a Scientologist source, claimed that the then-25-year-old Boniadi was approached by church leaders in October 2004 who told her she had been selected for a very important mission. She was then reportedly subjected to an intense audition process, forced to divulge her innermost secrets and details of her sex life, told to get rid of her braces and red highlights, and even encouraged to file down her front incisor teeth.
She was also forced to sign a confidentiality agreement stating that if she "messed up" the relationship, she would be declared a "Suppressive Person," or a church outcast, the source told VF's Maureen Orth.
After being prepped and preened, the church flew Boniadi and a Scientology supervisor to New York to meet with Cruise. The couple dated for a few months — Boniadi even moved into the actor's Los Angeles home briefly — but eventually she grew tired of trying to please both Cruise and the church.
"Anything she said or did that Cruise found fault with he immediately reported to a member of the Scientology staff, and she would be audited for it. This began with her very first words to him, 'Very well done,' regarding his receiving Scientology’s Freedom Medal of Valor. The phrase implied that Cruise was her junior," Orth wrote.
The Church of Scientology has refuted the entire article and all of its claims.
"The entire story appearing in Vanity Fair is hogwash," church leaders said in a statement at the time. "There was no project, secret or otherwise, ever conducted by the Church to find a bride [via audition or otherwise] for any member of the Church. Never."
Boniadi, now 31, left the church when her relationship with Cruise ended and decided to pursue acting. She hopes her new role as an Iranian Muslim analyst working with the CIA on "Homeland" will help jumpstart her career.
"It's a groundbreaking role," she told the New York Post of her "Homeland" character.
"How often do we see a Muslim woman who is intelligent and independent, and has a voice of her own and is career-driven on American TV? And she really is all of those things."
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