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A former Scientologist from Norway has come forward as the latest woman to claim to have “auditioned” to be Tom Cruise‘s wife.
In a feature published jointly by Australia’s Women’s Day magazine and Tony Ortega‘s Scientology-focused blog The Underground Bunker, Anette Iren Johansen, who stopped taking classes at the Church in 2010, recalls a bizarre audition process that was later reportedly revealed to have been for the Hollywood actor.
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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.
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According to Ortega, Marc Headley, who reportedly worked on similar auditions before leaving the International Base, corroborates Johansen’s story.
“That was for Tom Cruise, absolutely,” he said. “Those are the exact same questions that they were asking the other girls.”
The report goes on to state that the Church was seeking girls outside the United States because it was “slim pickings” in Los Angeles, where there were “pretty girls, but they had a lot of baggage, by Scientology standards.”
Johnasen is the second woman to come forward with such allegations, following Nazanin Boniadi‘s bombshell accusations in Vanity Fair last year. The Underground Bunker notes that said “auditions” were first revealed in Headley’s 2009 book, Blown for Good, and Lawrence Wright‘s 2011 New Yorker story, “The Apostate.”
The Church of Scientology has vehemently denied such claims. In September 2012, in response to the Vanity Fair article, a rep for the Church said that the allegations were the work of disgruntled former members.
The Hollywood Reporter has reached out to a rep for the Church and will update with a response.
UPDATE: A representative for the Church of Scientology continues to deny allegations of an audition process. “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 to THR, also writing 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 writes. “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.”
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