Nazanin Boniadi, 32, is the gorgeous actress who was thrust into the news this weekend by a report that Scientology overlords vetted her for the coveted real-life role of Tom Cruise’s Wife. She fell in love with the madman but was humiliated by his cult. Here’s what you should know about her.
1. She Tried Out to Be Tom Cruise’s Wife
As part of a bizarre wife-audition process orchestrated at the highest level of the Scientology religion, Boniadi dated Tom Cruise from November 2004 to January 2005, according to Vanity Fair. Scientology honcho David Miscavige’s wife Shelly ran the black-ops matchmaking mission and, after videotaped auditions, cleared Boniadi to meet and date Cruise.
2. She Didn’t Give it up on the First Date
On their first date, Cruise and Boniadi dined at Nobu with Scientology operatives and then enjoyed a private skating session at Rockefeller Center, Vanity Fair reports. She spent the night with Cruise but did not have sex.
3. She Didn’t Make the Cut
After signing several gag agreements and falling in love with the megastar, things went south for Boniadi as she failed to meet the insane demands of Scientology. She reportedly disrespected the fast-blabbing David Miscavige by saying “Excuse me?” when she couldn’t keep up with his rantings, and she didn’t provide Cruise with sufficient affection for his egomaniac appetite. She was booted out of Cruise’s home and into a Scientology center in Florida — without so much as a personal dumping from Cruise.
4. She Suffered Degrading Punishment at the Hands of Scientology Wackos
Now a captive of the cult, a distraught Boniadi violated her confidentiality contracts by confiding in someone at the center about her failed fling with Cruise. Though Scientology officials deny it, Vanity Fair reports her punishment included midnight ditch-digging and scrubbing toilets with a toothbrush. Such punishment matches reports of similar treatment for Scientology candidates who strayed from the flock.
Performing opposite Neil Patrick Harris, who plays the womanizing Barney Stinson on the hit sitcom, Boniadi played Nora — a departure from Barney’s typical bimbo one-night-stands. She appeared in nine episodes in seasons 6 and 7.
6. She’s a Soap Opera Pioneer
According to Wikipedia, Boniadi became the first contracted actor to portray a Middle Eastern character on American daytime TV when she played Leyla Mir on General Hospital. She was nominated for an NAACP Image Award. The soap killed off her character via exposure to a biotoxin.
7. She’s Iranian
Boniadi was born May 22, 1980, in Tehran, Iran, and moved to London with her parents as a young child. She’s fluent in Farsi.
8. She’s Descended from Mystical Poet
Boniadi’s great-great-grandfather was Safi Ali Shah, the great Persian poet and philosopher of the 19th century. According to Golha, he was a trained Sufi mystic who settled in Tehran and:
served as the chief Sufi of the Ni’mat Allahiyya Order. Besides his exalted position in Sufism and mysticism, he was an erudite litterateur and poet, making poetical compositions in different poetic forms. He died in Tehran and his tomb is in a Sufi spiritual center on Safi ‘Alishah Avenue in which he had resided. His works include: Zubdat al-Asrar; Ithbat al-Nubuwwat al-Khassa; Bahr al-Haqa’iq, also known as ‘Irfan al-Haqq and Diwan al-Haqa’iq; Mizan al-Ma’rifa wa Burhan al-Haqiqa fi Adab al-Suluk wa ‘l-Tariqa; a Qur’an exegesis known as Tafsir-i Safi; and Divan, a collection of his poetry.
9. She’s Wicked Smart
At University of California Irvine, where she studied biological science, she won the Chang Pin-Chun Undergraduate Research Award for her work studying, among other things, heart transplant rejection. She was assistant editor of the school’s undergrad medical newspaper. That such an intelligent woman was reduced to helplessness and humiliation by Tom Cruise and Scientology is testament to the pull of their power.
10. She’s an Activist
Boniadi is an official spokesperson for Amnesty International USA, blogs for its website, and did a voiceover with Morgan Freeman on the organization’s “Power of Words” public service announcement. She’s an outpoken voice for women’s rights and human rights in Iran.