Church of Scientology 'absolutely' auditioned girlfriends for Tom Cruise, claims defector

For years, there have been rumors that the Church of Scientology auditioned girlfriends for Tom Cruise. Now a defector from the church is alleging that it’s “absolutely” true.

Former Scientologist Valerie Haney — who recently told her story of defecting from the organization on Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath — spoke about the topic during an interview with Tony Ortega for his Scientology blog, the Underground Bunker. She claims that the auditioning of partners for the organization’s star member happened in the mid-aughts and was allegedly headed by church leader David Miscavige‘s wife, Shelly.

Tom Cruise, pictured in August. (Photo: Emmanuel Wong/Getty Images for Paramount Pictures)
Tom Cruise, pictured in August. (Photo: Emmanuel Wong/Getty Images for Paramount Pictures)

Haney, who said during her 22 years as a member of Scientology’s elite Sea Org she worked directly with the Miscaviges, was asked what Shelly told her about it. “She thought it was ridiculous,” replied Haney, who was Shelly’s personal steward. “She was just doing what Dave asked her to do. But it absolutely happened.”

Haney also spoke about the close relationship between Cruise and David Miscavige, saying the movie star “worships” the church head “like a god.” It was mutual though. “They worshiped each other.” Haney said she got along well with Cruise, saying she had “no problem” with him and noted, “He was nicer than Dave.”

There have long been rumors about the reported “auditioning,” and in 2012 — after Katie Holmes’s very public split with CruiseVanity Fair‘s Maureen Orth reported that a Scientologist named Nazanin Boniadi “was allegedly selected by officials in the organization” to be Cruise’s next girlfriend, but it ultimately didn’t work out and he got together with Holmes, who later became his third wife. The magazine claimed that Boniadi and other actresses within the organization were told they were auditioning for a film, and sessions were recorded in which they were asked things like: “What do you think of Tom Cruise?” Former Scientologist Marc Headley told the magazine he had watched several of the dozens of three- to four-minute audition videotapes when he worked at Scientology’s in-house studio. At the time, a Scientology rep denied that Miscavige had any involvement in Cruise’s personal life.

In June, another former Scientologist named Brendan Tighe, who was on Cruise’s Scientology security detail, appeared on Megyn Kelly Today and claimed that Scarlett Johansson was one of the actresses who auditioned to be Cruise’s lady. But Johansson quickly denied that in a statement to Vanity Fair, saying, “The very idea of any person auditioning to be in a relationship is so demeaning. I refuse for anyone to spread the idea that I lack the integrity to choose my own relationships. Only a man, aka Brendan Tighe, would come up with a crazy story like that.”

Reps for the Church of Scientology have not yet responded to Yahoo Entertainment’s request for comment about Haney’s new interview. However, they issued a statement to Fox News saying, “The Church of Scientology stated that Valerie Haney is outright lying and making up stories, as part of her employment for Leah Remini.” The org’s Freedom Media group also published a video titled “Valerie Haney: Leah Remini’s Paid Liar.

A spokesperson for Cruise has not commented either.

In her interview, Haney also spoke about the disappearance of Shelly from the public eye. However, when Remini filed a missing-person’s report on Shelly in 2013, the LAPD classified the report as “unfounded,” with a rep noting “Shelly is not missing” and said detectives met with her as part of their investigation.

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