Was Katie Holmes' marriage to Tom Cruise the fruit of an exhaustive search by Scientologists?
It was only a matter of time for the retort: Tom Cruise has hit back at claims that his relationship with Katie Holmes was part of an elaborately arranged marriage plot.
Reacting to Vanity Fair's explosive revelations laying out Scientology's unusual process to find a suitable wife for their famous acolyte, Cruise has told Radar Online that the news is nothing more than lies.
The actor's rep told the site: "Lies in a different font are still lies — designed to sell magazines".
The upscale magazine's October issue details Shelly Miscavige's central role in the plan to matchmake Cruise with an actress, and that the Scientology chief's wife's first choice had been London-based, Iranian-born actress, Nazanin Boniadi.
The beauty was allegedly vetted, "audited" and interviewed in the process that saw her sworn to secrecy and unable to access her own money or tell the truth to her own family, said the magazine.
According to writer Maureen Orth, Boniadi was ordered to dye her hair, remove her braces and dump her boyfriend and was taken to New York - it was only then that she is said to have realised the role Scientology's mandarins had in mind for her.
After a "blissful" first month at the end of 2004, the unorthdox relationship faltered and Boniadi was sent to Scientology's Florida HQ in January 2005, writes Orth. Cruise then went on to marry Holmes in June of that year.
It comes as no surprise whatsoever that Cruise has labelled the claims as being far from the truth - both Cruise and Miscavige declined to be interview by Vanity Fair, and the Church of Scientology denies the search took place.