16 Celebrity Scientologists and Stars Who Have Left the Religion
The Church of Scientology is a religion founded by science fiction author L Ron Hubbard. It has over 25,000 members across the United States, including many celebrity Scientologists. Hubbard originally developed a set of practices known as Dianetics, which is basically a form of therapy. He taught this at the Hubbard Dianetic Research Foundation, but after going bankrupt, he adjusted these principles to form the religion now known as Scientology.
The quasi-religion has a lot of strange beliefs and questionable theories that involve aliens and past lives. It gets a bit complicated, so if you want to know more, pick up one of Hubbard’s many books or watch the terrible 2000 flick Battlefield Earth, which tells the story of the religion.
There are many Scientology outposts around the world, with each celebrity center open to the public so they can explore what the religion is all about. Although they are meant for famous people, anybody can visit. These centers can be found in Los Angeles, Florence, Paris, Vienna, and New York.
While it preaches peace and harmony, Scientology has been the subject of countless rumors and lawsuits. The church and its leader David Miscavige have come under fire for their views on modern medicine and mental health issues. It’s also been convicted of fraud and other criminal behavior along with many former members accusing those high up in the church of mistreating members and essentially brainwashing people to do as they are told.
All you need to do is google Scientology and you will come across hundreds of articles about the religion and things they have been accused of, as well as many positive stories about the organization. But that hasn’t stopped celebrities from getting involved. There are believed to be rewards for famous people who attract new members, which could be why so many sign up. Or maybe they are just looking for something to put their faith in? Whatever the reason, celebrity Scientoglists are everywhere.
Tom Cruise is the biggest celebrity Scientologist, but there are many more just like him, such as John Travolta and Elisabeth Moss. There are also many other famous celebrities who have left the Church of Scientology. While the organization doesn’t like to speak about them, these celebs are often vocal in their distaste for the religion, such as Leah Remini.
If you are wondering what other celebrity Scientologists have been members of the church, read on and discover 16 famous people who have been associated with the church at some point.
16 Celebrity Scientologists and Stars Who Have Left the Religion
1. Tom Cruise
The biggest name connected to Scientology is Tom Cruise. He has been a card-carrying member of the Church of Scientology for over three decades. But he didn’t stumble across it himself. His first wife, Mimi Rogers, introduced Cruise to Scientology when they first met. Something must have clicked as Cruise quickly became a much-valued member and rose up the ranks within the secret society.
While lauded by fellow Scientologists, Cruise’s beliefs haven’t always gelled well with others, including his previous ex-wives Nicole Kidman and Katie Holmes. Apparently, both marriages ended due to Crusie’s love of Dianetics.
2. Leah Remini
For many years Leah Remini used to talk positively about Scientology and the impact it had on her life. However, things changed in 2013 when she left the church and began speaking out against it. Not only did she conduct various interviews with high-profile news outlets, but Remini wrote a book, Troublemaker: Surviving Hollywood and Scientology, detailing her negative experiences while part of the church.
Her hatred for the organization even went as far as an A&E documentary entitled Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath. In a statement released by the network about the show, Remini said: “For too long, this multi-billion-dollar organization bullied victims and journalists to prevent the truth from being told. It is my hope that we shed light on information that makes the world aware of what is really going on and encourages others to speak up so the abuses can be ended forever.”
I don’t think she’ll be getting a Christmas card from the church anytime soon.
3. John Travolta
John Travolta has been a Scientology member since 1975. After being given the book Dianetics while filming The Devil’s Rain in Mexico, Travolta liked what he read and signed up. Along with Cruise, he is the most notable celebrity within the church, with US Magazine quoting him as saying, “As a Scientologist, I have the technology to handle life’s problems and I have used this to help others in life as well. I would say Scientology put me into the big time.”
But after the death of his wife Kelly Preston in 2020 from cancer, rumors circulated that Travolta had quietly stepped away from the church. His wife’s passing, along with a feud with Cruise, is said to be the catalyst for Travolta’s change of views.
4. Elisabeth Moss
Unlike many celebrities that join up later in life, Elisabeth Moss was raised a Scientologist. While a fairly private person who rarely speaks about her religious beliefs, Moss did speak up when one of her Instagram followers suggested Scientology is similar to the controlling government from The Handmaid’s Tale, a show in which Moss stars in.
Moss couldn’t let that lie and replied: “That’s actually not true at all about Scientology. Religious freedom and tolerance and understanding the truth and equal rights for every race, religion, and creed are extremely important to me.”
5. Danny Masterson
Scientology couldn’t save Danny Masterson. The former star of That ’70s Show was raised a Scientologist like Elisabeth Moss, but while she turned out ok, Masterson is a terrible person. He has been accused of sexual assault and raping several women and is due in court later this year to face three charges of rape. If found guilty he could be sentenced to up to 45 years in prison.
6. Kirstie Alley
Cheers actress Kirstie Alley got involved with Scientology in 1979. At that time she was in the midst of cocaine addiction and attributes the church with helping her kick the habit. She did so by attending Narconon, a Scientology-affiliated drug treatment program. Alley is such a big believer in Scientology that she purchased a house in Clearwater, Florida, near the headquarters of the Church of Scientology. She’s also believed to have donated $5 million to the church in 2017.
7. Giovanni Ribisi
Californian actor Giovanni Ribisi has been a Scientologist all his life. He is best known for his roles in the TV series Sneaky Pete and My Name is Earl and the movies Saving Private Ryan, Gone in 60 Seconds, and Avatar.
What Is Scientology? quoted him as saying, “Scientology has given me certainty of myself. I have the ability to comfortably communicate with anyone in any situation and be certain of my own goals.”
Ribisi was also part of the gala opening of Scientology’s Psychiatry: An Industry of Death museum in December 2005.
8. Bijou Phillips
The wife of Danny Masterson is also a Scientologist. While not much is known about her links to the religion, it’s believed she has been involved with the church for many years.
Finding success as an actress in the early 00s, Bijou Phillips hasn’t had a movie role in a decade. She gave up her career to look after her child and concentrate on her health. She suffered from kidney disease and required a transplant to live a normal life.
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9. Isaac Hayes
The soul singer famous for the Shaft theme song was a practitioner of Scientology right up until his death in 2008. Issac Hayes joined the church in 1993 and was a well-known member of the religion. He often endorsed many Scientology books and appeared in the 1996 Scientology film Orientation. He even released a Scientology-inspired album, The Joy Of Creating – The Golden Era Musicians And Friends Play L. Ron Hubbard, with fellow Scientologist and rapper Doug E. Fresh.
10. Juliette Lewis
A wild child of the 90s, Juliette Lewis became a Scientologist member to help her battle with addiction. Similar to Kirstie Alley, Lewis attended the Narconon program and credits it with saving her life. While she often defended the religion over the years, her values must have changed recently, as she no longer identifies with Scientology.
11. Jason Lee
Skateboarder turned actor Jason Lee is another well-known Scientologist. Like Tom Cruise, Lee’s beliefs ended a marriage. When his first wife Carmen Llywelyn revealed to her talent manager (Giovanni Ribisi’s mom) that she read the anti-Scientology book A Piece of Blue Sky, Lee sent her a one-paragraph note a few days later informing her he wished to end their marriage. Tough break.
12. Laura Prepon
Laura Prepon dated Danny Masterson’s brother Christopher Masterson, so it’s no surprise she ended up becoming a Scientologist. While always happy to chat about her faith, Prepon no longer associates with the church. In a recent interview with People magazine, she explained how she hasn’t practiced Scientology in “close to five years.”
“I’m no longer practicing Scientology,” she said. “I’ve always been very open-minded, even since I was a child. I was raised Catholic and Jewish. I’ve prayed in churches, meditated in temples. I’ve studied Chinese meridian theory. [Scientology] no longer part of my life.”
13. Paul Haggis
Screenwriter Paul Haggis is best known for writing the screenplay for the hit 2004 flick Crash. He’s also the man behind Casino Royale, Quantum of Solace, and Million Dollar Baby. As well as being celebrated for his writing, Haggis was a Scientologist for 35 years before departing.
When the church supported the initiative to ban same-sex marriage in California, Haggis decided enough was enough and left the organization. On numerous occasions since defecting in 2009, Haggis has taken shots at Scientology, telling The New Yorker, “I was in a cult for thirty-four years. Everyone else could see it. I don’t know why I couldn’t.”
14. Jenna Elfman
Actress Jenna Elfman first found fame in the sitcom Dharma and Greg in the 90s. Since then she has had a fairly successful career that has included membership as a Scientologist. She is another long-time member who has been part of the cult for over three decades. She and her husband are high up in the organization and she attributes Scientology to helping her have the perfect balance of family and work in life.
15. Michael Pena
Michael Pena has been a Scientologist since 2000. He believes being part of the church has made him a better actor. “For me, it isn’t religion like a belief; it’s practical things you do,” Pena said in an interview with The Guardian.
It’s hard to disagree with Pena’s reasoning, as he’s had some of his best performances in movies such as Crash, World Trade Center, End of Watch, American Hustle, and the Ant-Man franchise that have all come about since he joined the church.
16. Tiffany Haddish
During the early part of her career, Tiffany Haddish was a struggling actress who was also homeless for a period of time. While at a casting call she was approached by a member of Scientology.
Intrigued, she went to a few courses and was offered the chance to stay at one of their shelters in Los Angeles. Haddish told the Television Critics Association press conference that she signed a “billion-year contract or something” but decided not to join when she realized she would have to sleep in a bunk bed.
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