Katie Holmes was allegedly at the heart of a finely-executed marriage audition plot to Tom Cruise, orchestrated by the highest echelons of Scientology.
In a bizarre take on an arranged marriage, the church's mandarins reportedly vetted, interviewed and audited a selection of actresses in their bid to find their most famous acolyte a new bride. The women were told they were being considered for a film role and had no idea of the extent of the real-life mission.
The arrangement was, reports Vanity Fair, conducted under the watchful eye of Shelly Miscavige, wife of the religious organisation's chief, David Miscavige - and ended in an unsuitable courtesan being punished.
According to the magazine's October issue, secret videotapes show potential wives' "audits", while Holmes' pre-nuptial agreement, overseen by her lawyer father, filled five Bankers Boxes. Holmes senior allegedly remained concerned about Scientology’s influence over his daughter throughout the marriage.
But, as high-profile and beautiful as the actress is, she was not the church's first choice for Cruise, writes the magazine.
That role went to Nazanin Boniadi. Under threat of being ostracised from the church as a "suppressive person", the actress was reportedly selected for a "very important mission" after a month of continuous "auditing" in October 2004.
The Iranian-born Londoner was flown to New York and ordered to sign confidentiality agreements - but only after being asked to neatly cut off her relationship with her boyfriend, dye her hair and remove her braces, writes the magazine.
Meeting Cruise allegedly followed in the same unorthodox vein. Telling her family that she was on important Scientology business, details the magazine, Boniadi's first date with the Hollywood heavyweight saw the couple dine at Nobu with a full compliment of aides, then skate at the Rockerfeller Center - which was helpfully closed to the public - and then stay on their very own floor of Trump Tower.
While the dating affair remains shrouded in mystery - both Cruise and Miscavige declined to be interview by Vanity Fair, and the Church of Scientology denies the search took place - the relationship reportedly soon became troubled.
A month of "bliss" saw Boniadi move into Cruise's home but was followed by increasing insolation, writes the magazine. Boniadi is believed to have insulted Miscavige by repeating "excuse me" when she misheard his rushed words, and treated Cruise as her "junior" by once telling him "very well done" reports Vanity Fair.
She was also reportedly uneasy with his public displays of affection (something we have perhaps come to expect of a love-struck Cruise - to whit, who can forget the dramatically enthusiastic jumping-on-the-sofa-moment while filming Oprah?) details the magazine.
The process smacks of a curious take on MI-5-style developed vetting - and seems to come with dangers of its own. Boniadi is said to have had no money other than a credit card in Cruise's production company name and reportedly eventually moved from the actor's home into the church's 'Celebrity Center' then to its Florida headquarters - where she is said to have broken down, finally revealing the failed relationship to an unscrupulous confidant.
The punishment for breaking the confidentiality agreement? It may not surprise many to learn that Boniadi left Scientology - but only after allegedly being forced to "scrub toilets with a toothbrush, clean bathroom tiles with acid, and dig ditches in the middle of the night. After that she was sent out to sell Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard’s Dianetics on street corners," writes the magazine in an overview of the feature article.
By that stage it was the end of January 2005 - by April, Cruise and Holmes were publically dating and went on to marry on 17 June of that year. The marriage infamously ended in a swiftly-negotiated divorce on 9 July, 2012.