A former Scientologist from Norway has come forward with allegations that she was “auditioned” to be Tom Cruise’s wife.
In a story published by Australia’s Women’s Day magazine and Tony Ortega’s Scientology blog The Underground Bunker, a woman named Anette Iren Johansen, who left the Church in 2010, recalls a peculiar audition process that she claims was later revealed to have been for the Oscar-nominated star.
Further details via The Hollywood Reporter, which broke the story:
In January 2005, when Johansen was 27 years old, she was reportedly asked to participate in an audition at the organization’s Copenhagen location. Johansen had previously appeared in Scientology magazines and training films.
But this time, instead of working from a script, Johansen said, she was asked personal questions about her life and was required to sign a confidentiality waiver.
“They asked me so many questions about my life, my family background, everything I’d ever done in Scientology. There was a lot of talk about Tom Cruise at that time — he had just been in Norway [hosting] the Nobel Peace Prize concert,” she said.
Johansen also said that a man from California followed up with her via telephone, asking her if she had any “sexual perversions.” (She said that she did not.)
She never heard anything else about the audition.
Johansen’s claims have been backed up by Marc Headley, a former Scientologist who reportedly worked on similar auditions before leaving the International Base. Headley would go on to write about his tumultuous experience with the Church in his 2009 book, Blown for Good.
“That was for Tom Cruise, absolutely,” says Headley. “Those are the exact same questions that they were asking the other girls.”
Reportedly, the Church sought girls outside the United States because it was “slim pickings” in the Los Angeles area, as the women auditioned were “pretty girls, but they had a lot of baggage, by Scientology standards.”
Johnasen is not the first woman to come forward alleging to have auditioned to become the next Mrs. Cruise. In an issue of Vanity Fair last year, Nazanin Boniadi came forward to claim she had been auditioned for the role. However, The Underground Bunker notes that the “auditions” were first revealed in Headley’s book, as well as a 2011 story in the New Yorker by Lawrence Wright titled, “The Apostate.”
Of course, The Church of Scientology has staunchly denied the accusations. A representative for the Church of Scientology spoke with The Hollywood Reporter and reiterated the denial issued in the wake of the 2012 Vanity Fair article: “We stand by our original statement from last year: 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,” the rep said in an e-mail. The rep would go on to write of of Headley’s “bias and lack of credibility when it comes to his former Church.”
“He left the Church nearly a decade ago,” the rep continues. “He lost his position after attempting to embezzle at least $13,000 in Church funds. He then tried to sue the Church only to have his case dismissed by a federal court judge, who further ordered him to pay the Church $42,000 in court costs after the dismissal was upheld by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeal.”
The matter is now, as always, solely in the hands of the court of public opinion.