Tom Cruise denies that the Church of Scientology auditioned candidates to be his bride (Updated)
Updated, 4:03 p.m. EST
Tom Cruise is firing back at an explosive Vanity Fair cover story that alleges the Church of Scientology conducted an elaborate audition to find the actor a wife before he became engaged to Katie Holmes.
In a statement, Cruise's attorney Bert Fields labeled the piece by reporter Maureen Orth in this month's issue, "Long, boring and false."
The report claims that in 2004, Scientology embarked on a top-secret project to find Cruise a significant other by grilling actresses who were also members of the church about their sex lives and their feelings about the "Mission: Impossible" star.
One candidate, Nazanin Boniadi, was selected and dated Cruise for three months, before the actor broke off the relationship. As a punishment for talking about her relationship with the actor, Orth reports that the church forced Boniadi to scrub toilets with a toothbrush and dig ditches in the middle of the night.
But Fields slammed the story as little more than tabloid fodder.
“Vanity Fair’s story is essentially a rehash of tired old lies previously run in the supermarket tabloids, quoting the same bogus 'sources,'" Fields said.
Cruise's five-year marriage to Holmes ended in divorce this summer.
In a statement to TheWrap, a spokeswoman for Vanity Fair said the magazine stands by Orth's story.
The Church of Scientology, however, vigorously disputes the article and accuses Vanity Fair of religious bigotry.
"The entire story appearing in Vanity Fair is hogwash," the Church of Scientology said in a statement. "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 church argues that Orth's reporting relied on a group of "anti-Scientologists" and says that she never allowed the religious organization to "meaningfully" respond to her findings.