Actress Scarlett Johansson has denied and described as “demeaning” the claim that she “auditioned” to date the Scientologist movie star Tom Cruise following his split from Nicole Kidman in 2001.
The Avengers star’s statement to multiple media outlets came after Brendan Tighe, a former Church of Scientology security guard, alleged in an interview on NBC’s Megyn Kelly Today that Johansson was one of several women who auditioned for the position of Cruise’s “second dynamic,” or romantic partner, after his divorce from Kidman.
When Kelly asked Tighe, who was raised in the Church of Scientology International, about rumors that some Scientologist actresses went through an audition process to find Cruise a new girlfriend, Tighe said that reports about the alleged incident had accidentally been sent to his printer.
He also claimed that the reports were where he learned that Johansson had allegedly auditioned for the role of Cruise’s “second dynamic.” According to Tighe, the reports indicated that Johansson’s audition “did not go well” because she was not interested in the role she was selected for.
The Black Widow actress quickly reacted to Tighe’s claims by releasing a statement in which she described the allegations as “demeaning”.
“The very idea of any person auditioning to be in a relationship is so demeaning,” Johansson said, according to the Hollywood Reporter. “I refuse for anyone to spread the idea that I lack the integrity to choose my own relationships. Only a man, aka Brendan Tighe, would come up with a crazy story like that.”
The Church of Scientology also released a statement denying Tighe’s claims. According to Church of Scientology spokesperson Karin Pouw, Tighe only served with the organization as a security guard or night watchman from 2002 to 2009, and he was removed from the position for “dereliction of duty”. Pouw added that contrary to Tighe’s claim, he never had access to sensitive Scientology documents because his role was limited to monitoring security cameras installed in the guard booth.
This is not the first time it has been alleged that the Church of Scientology launched a secret effort to find a new romantic partner for Cruise. Vanity Fair reported in 2012 that the Iranian-born British actress and former Scientologist Nazanin Boniadi also underwent an audition process to date the actor. Boniadi’s relationship with Cruise lasted about three months, from November 2004 to January 2005.
Cruise had briefly dated actress Penelope Cruz before he dated Boniadi. The Church of Scientology allegedly launched the effort to find Cruise a new romantic partner after he broke up with Cruz in 2004. Cruz reportedly refused to convert to Scientology.
The secret project to find Cruise a new partner allegedly involved “auditions” for a number of Scientologist actresses, including Boniadi. Cruise and Boniadi split in January 2005, before he married Katie Holmes in 2006. According to Tighe, Holmes also went through an audition process before she married Cruise.
Cruise and Holmes divorced in 2012 after they welcomed their daughter Suri in 2006.
According to the New York Post in a 2013 report, Marc Headley, who worked for the church’s L.A. production company, Golden Era Productions, for many years, revealed that Boniadi was hurt when Cruise dumped her. She had reportedly fallen in love with Cruise and did not know that several other women were also allegedly auditioning for the role of Cruise’s girlfriend at the time of her relationship with him.
The Church of Scientology denied the reports about Boniadi’s arranged relationship with Cruise, and claimed they were malicious rumors being spread by disgruntled former members of the organization. Cruise also denied that Boniadi auditioned to be his girlfriend.