After Tom Cruise blindsided his pregnant wife Nicole Kidman with divorce papers in 2001 (she later lost the baby), the actor was looking to cast a new leading lady—and quickly.Cruise soon rebounded with his “Vanilla Sky” co-star Penelope Cruz, who stood by the actor’s side on many a red carpet, but quickly exited stage left after he took her to Scientology’s Celebrity Centre in Hollywood and encouraged her to take classes.
Cruz responded by publicly stating “I have great respect for all religions, but I do not intend to join any of them at the moment.” And that was the end of that.
At which point, according to this incredibly juicy New York Post article by “Tom Cruise: An unauthorised Biography” author Andrew Morton (who cites anonymous sources), Cruise, with the help of the church of Scientology, literally auditioned young, upcoming actresses for the role of Mrs. Cruise.
When that hookup bit the dust, he gave Scientology leaders a wish list of women he would like to date. They included Jennifer Garner and the up-and-coming actress Sofia Vergara.
When Vergara got an invitation from Cruise’s friend Will Smith to attend a pre-Oscar party, she had no idea she was being set up. She was dazzled by Tom’s megawatt smile and amused by the blizzard of phone calls, flowers and chocolates that followed their first meeting.
It was not long before he casually suggested they head for Celebrity Centre where, surprise, surprise, Miscavige [church of Scientology leader and Cruise’s best friend] was waiting to layer on the charm. It soon became clear that she was being auditioned for the biggest role of her life — Mrs. Tom Cruise Mark III. It was made clear that if she took the part, she would have to renounce her Catholic faith and convert to Scientology.
“She was fundamentally terrified of Scientology,” a friend told me. “She sincerely believed that she would be struck down by God and burn in hell if she joined.”
After pursuing Vergara, who would later go onto “Modern Family” fame, proved fruitless and Cruise passed on Scientology actresses such as Erika Christensen, Erica Howard and Sofia Milos, the actor turned his search to up and comers outside of the church.
They were looking for a woman who would accept the teachings of Scientology, but who would also look good on Tom’s arm—and not make too many waves.
“They had to look outside the herd, so to speak. They went for Jennifer Garner, Scarlett Johansson and Jessica Alba, in that order. Jennifer and Jessica didn’t bite, but Scarlett took the bait and came in for an audition. When she arrived at the address and found out it was the Scientology centre in Hollywood, she freaked out and didn’t do a tape.”
Finally, the Scientology casting crew hit on Katie Holmes, then 26, after they read an interview in which she said she would like to marry Tom. A senior Scientologist was sent to New York to give her the once-over. He liked what he saw.
And the former “Dawson’s Creek” star, who had just broken up with her fiancé Chris Klein six weeks earlier, was smitten with her childhood crush.
“I was in love from the moment I shook his hand,” Holmes later gushed in her first post-marriage interview with Harper’s Bazaar.
But one couch jump, one daughter, and five years later, it looks like it’s time for Cruise to start the audition process once again.
Read the entire New York Post article HERE.
NOW WATCH: Briefing videos
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.