Leah Remini isn’t holding back when it comes to Scientology and its No. 1 celebrity face, Tom Cruise. In her shocking new memoir, Troublemaker: Surviving Hollywood and Scientology, Remini makes a series of claims against the church and Cruise, 53, including one about his secretly selected girlfriend, actress Nazanin Boniadi.
The Iranian-born stunner, 35, joined the church at age 17 when her mom became a Scientologist. The King of Queens star, 45, said she met and befriended Boniadi in 2003.
“Then in late 2004, she disappeared,” the sitcom star wrote. “I wondered if Naz had gone back to her ‘real life.’ Years later, I found out what had happened to Naz during this time. She underwent a confidential mission for the church where she thought she was being prepared for a special humanitarian project, but ended up with the role of Tom’s girlfriend.”
Cruise had just split from actress Penelope Cruz after a three-year relationship, and Remini claimed the higher-ups in the church decided to find Cruise a new girlfriend.
First, Remini said they allegedly convinced Boniadi to break up with her then-boyfriend by telling her he “admitted to several transgressions against” her. When she confirmed this story, she broke up with him. She was then allegedly forced to undergo a series of physical transformations to make her worthy to be by Cruise’s side.
“Her orthodontic braces were removed, her hair color was darkened, and Greg [Wilhere, a senior Sea Org executive] took her on a very expensive shopping spree in Beverly Hills to buy a new wardrobe for her mysterious meetings with ‘dignitaries,’” Remini wrote.
Eventually, she allegedly dated and lived with Cruise for three months. Throughout their secret relationship, she was supposedly asked to “report anything ‘non-optimum’ she observed in Tom so they could help him.”
Remini also claimed that officials would ask Boniadi if she thought Cruise was “happy” and one executive suggested: ”Why don’t you be more aggressive with Tom and just put your hands down his pants when you see him?”
After three months together, Boniadi was one day asked to relocate to a fancy hotel, according to Remini. She also alleges that Cruise did not contact her and she only dealt with Scientology officials who eventually ended their relationship without Cruise’s direct involvement.
“Devastated by her experience, Naz confided in a friend who seemed to want to help her,” Remini wrote. “The friend then immediately wrote up a nine-page report on Naz.”
The report caused Boniadi to be punished, moving her to a cheaper motel.
“[She was] subjected to doing four months of menial labor, including tasks such as digging ditches and cleaning public toilets with a toothbrush,” Remini wrote. “Eventually she was promoted to selling Dianetics books on the streets of Tampa…She wasn’t allowed to talk to anyone, particularly her Scientology friends, since she was considered a traitor. She was not allowed to go anywhere alone unless escorted by either church security, ethics staff, or a representative of Flag’s President’s Office.”
Soon after, Cruise began dating Katie Holmes, who would go on to become his wife of six years.
Today, Boniadi is a successful actress who has had recurring roles in hit shows like Homeland, Scandal, How to Get Away With Murder, and General Hospital. Part of her story was also featured in Marc Headley’s 2013 book, Blown for Good: Behind the Iron Curtain of Scientology. In the book, Headley claimed that Boniadi found out about audition tapes casting for Cruise’s future girlfriend while she was still dating him.
“This girl wants to know all about these audition tapes,” Headley told The New York Post at the time. “She’s like, ‘When did this take place?’ And I’m like, ‘I don’t know, November, December 2004.’ She starts crying, gets up and runs out of the room. She was going out with Tom Cruise in December of 2004 — we were still auditioning girls then. That was Naz. That was the first time I ever met Naz.”
When Boniadi’s story was first brought to light in Vanity Fair‘s 2012 expose on the Church of Scientology, a representative for Cruise told ABC News in a statement: “Lies in a different font are still lies — designed to sell magazines.”
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The church, for its part, has dismissed Remini’s claims in her new book as “revisionist history,” saying in a statement, “She needs to move on with her life instead of pathetically exploiting her former religion, her former friends, and other celebrities for money and attention to appear relevant again.”
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