Tom Cruise's Alleged Scientology Setup Signed Confidentiality Agreements. So Why Did She Talk?

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Sept. 4 2012 12:24 PM

Tom Cruise's Alleged Scientology Setup Signed Confidentiality Agreements. So Why Did She Talk?

Actress Nazanin Boniadi
Actress Nazanin Boniadi attends Amnesty International's Secret Policeman's Ball 2012 at Radio City Music Hall.

Photo by Neilson Barnard/Getty Images for Amnesty International

In the latest entry in the Annals of Tom Cruise Weirdness, Maureen Orth reports for Vanity Fair that before Katie Holmes, the Church of Scientology auditioned girlfriends for Cruise, settled on the lovely Nazanin Boniadi—after asking her to tell all about her previous sex life and dump her boyfriend—and then orchestrated a courtship. It all went south over nitpicking, according to VF: Boniadi didn't praise Cruise correctly when he won a Scientology award and slighted Scientology head David Miscavige by asking him to repeat himself when he talked too fast. The church and Cruise have of course denied all of this, calling the story "hogwash." They must be especially furious because, according to Boniadi's own version, she is violating two confidentiality agreements that she signed, the first when she was being vetted, before she met Cruise, and the second after they spent the night together but, she says, didn't have sex. (A detail which, oh yes, we definitely wanted to hear.)

Why aren't the confidentiality agreements Boniadi signed binding? Presumably, they are: Properly drafted, such agreements are contracts like any other. The problem is enforcing them. Maybe Boniadi figured that she was safe to spill because she doesn't have assets worth going after. She was a med student when she allegedly met Cruise and now she's a minor TV presence, with gigs on General Hospital and How I Met Your Mother. Or maybe Boniadi figured that the church and Cruise would be reluctant to go after her because suing over the confidentiality agreements would be admitting that they exist. Which would also mean they'd have to admit that VF and Orth aren't making up all this crazy orchestration, and TomNaz really was a gleam in Scientology's eye. I don't see how the church or Cruise ever goes there. The real leverage they had over Boniadi was her loyalty to the church. She was a Scientologist and so was her mother, and if you buy Orth's story, it makes sense only if the lucky girl being groomed for Cruise was a trusted believer who the church was confident it could control. But Boniadi has now left Scientology, along with her mother. That's why any confidentiality agreements she signed aren't worth the paper they're printed on.

Emily Bazelon is a staff writer at the New York Times Magazine and the author of Sticks and Stones

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