Director Paul Haggis has backed up Vanity Fair article on Scientology church auditioning girlfriend for Tom Cruise. In an e-mail to Showbiz 411, the Oscar winner confirmed that Iranian born actress Naz Boniadi was groomed to be Cruise's wife between 2004 to 2005 before he eventually picked Katie Holmes in April 2005.
"I've known Nazanin for about three years," Haggis began. "I met her through a mutual friend when I was doing my own personal research into the allegations against Scientology, before I wrote my letter of resignation. Naz was embarrassed by her unwitting involvement in this incident and never wanted it to come out, so I kept silent. However I 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. It wasn't just the threats; they actually made her feel ashamed, when all she had been was human and trusting."
Haggis quit the church two years ago and he is now giving out "the troubling nature of the organization". He opined, "In Naz's case, she has no right to feel ashamed. She is not only a terrific actress at the beginning of a very promising career, she is a dedicated human rights activist and a truly lovely and caring person. The last thing she wanted or needed is this kind of publicity, but here it is, and I am sure she will deal with it with the same grace and dignity she exudes in her daily life. I'm appalled that any church would treat its parishioners this way, but Naz has never cast herself as a victim. She is strong and resilient and I am very proud to call her a friend."
Haggis noted that the e-mail will be his only comment about the situation. He added that Boniadi has resigned from the church like him a couple of years ago.