Science-fiction author L. Ron Hubbard began the Church of Scientology in 1952. While the inner-workings of the religious practice are largely unknown to the public, we do know that only three years after its founding, Hubbard began “Project Celebrity.”
Hubbard knew that if Scientology could gain some high-profile followers that have influence over the American public, then it would have a chance of growing bigger and better. In 1955, Hubbard’s goal was to get celebrities like Bob Hope and Ernest Hemingway on board. More than 60 years later, has Project Celebrity been successful? Read on and see which celebrities are or have been Scientologists.
Beck Was Born Into Scientology
The wave-making musician has always been at the forefront of the latest in music but was born into Scientology. Both of Beck’s parents were Scientologists and he’s never looked elsewhere for a source of religion.
For the most part, Beck stayed quiet about his affiliation until 2012 when New York Magazine interviewed the artist and asked him about it. Beck seemed to have nothing to hide and admitted the Church of Scientology was always “just something that I’ve been around.”
Elisabeth Moss’ Beliefs Have Landed Her In Hot Water
Moss stars in the controversial television show, The Handmaid’s Tale, that focuses on a futuristic cult that oppresses women. Moss’ personal life is just as controversial as she grew up a Scientologist and it seems to affect her life as a celebrity in the spotlight.
She has been criticized for her views on the LGBTQ+ community and women’s rights since the Church has been known for harassment of both groups. Still, Moss has said the organization helped her become the person she is today and that she’s thankful for it.
Laura Prepon Is The Golden Child Of Scientology
The actress who you might recognize from That ’70s Show and Orange Is The New Black has become Scientology’s new golden child. Prepon even made waves by appearing on the cover of Scientology’s Celebrity magazine.
In the interview, she spoke about how she’s past the “Purification Rundown” and moving up “The Bridge.” Prepon also praised Scientology for relaxing her while she’s on set. Whatever the reasons may be, you can expect to hear a lot more from this outspoke Scientologist.
What Was Really Going On With Sonny Bono?
A lot of unknown surrounds Bono’s affiliation with the Church of Scientology because he was never exactly clear on why he joined. One interview in 1999 said it was because his ex, Cher suggested it. That doesn’t exactly make sense though because Cher has never been connected to the church and even said she “didn’t understand” his religion.
It gets even weirder when Bono’s widow Mary was quoted as saying he had tried to break away from Scientology in the early ’90s but that they “made it very difficult for him.”
Did Scientology Break-Up Tom Cruise’s Marriage?
Cruise has arguably been one of the most outspoken and not-so-secret supporters of Scientology. The actor has become the church’s star after joining in 1990 thanks to his then-wife Mimi Rogers.
Since then he’s been one of the few celebrities to openly partake in endorsing the religious practice but it has come at a price. Cruise’s 2010 divorce to actress Katie Holmes was allegedly because she didn’t want to raise their daughter as a Scientologist.
The Simpsons Creator Drew the Line with Nancy Cartwright
You might not know Cartwright’s face but you’d recognize her voice as she plays Bart, Nelson, Toss Flanders, and Ralph Wiggum on The Simpsons. She’s also been a devout Scientologist since 1989. Cartwright even made a $10 million donation to the organization in 2007.
However, the voice actress drew fire in 2009 when she appeared used Bart’s iconic voice in a robocall scheme. She wasn’t fired from The Simpsons for it but the creator of the show was outspoken they didn’t want the character associated with Scientology.
It Was Extremely Difficult for Leah Remini to Leave the Church
Remini is one of the most high-profile critics of Scientology. She was raised in the Church and considered herself a Scientologist since the age of nine. The actress says she began to question the Church in 2006 and finally left it in 2013.
Since then, she’s been open about how difficult it was to leave the church, how she’s lost friends and family because of it, and has released a book and docu-series exposing her time in the organization.
Michael Peña Says Scientology Made Him a Better Actor
The actor who has been known for multiple roles in action films like Battle: Los Angeles and Ant-Man joined the Church of Scientology in 2000. He was yet another actor who claimed that joining the church made him a better actor. In 2016, Peña even went so far as to tell The Guardian that the church “salvaged” his career.
Peña is married to a fellow Scientologist, Brie Shaffer, and the two made waves by publically standing with Danny Masterson after the rape allegations against him.
Jason Lee Was a Scientologist for Almost 20 Years
The actor, best known for his lead role on the sitcom My Name Is Earl, made waves in 2016 for openly leaving the Church of Scientology. Lee had been a member since the early ’90s and his wife joined the church in 1995.
He was also open about his connection to the organization and some even say many subplots of his sitcom had shades of Scientology in it. Still, he left the religion after almost two decades.
Scientology Helped Kirstie Alley Get Sober
Kirstie Alley was raised as a Methodist but switched over to the Church of Scientology in 1979. The actress admits one of the main reasons was that at the time, she was battling a heavy cocaine addiction and Scientology was known for its drug rehabilitation program, Narconon.
Alley underwent the therapy, became clean and sober, and has now donated more than $5 million to the Church. She even bought a mansion in Clearwater, Florida that has been turned into the Church’s Florida headquarters.
Is John Travolta Stuck in Scientology?
Travolta might be the only actor more famous for his connection to Scientology than Tom Cruise. The Grease and Pulp Fiction actor was so closely connected to the religion he appeared in promotional videos and demonstrations.
Although he’s been a part of the church since 1975, things took a sour turn and Travolta has apparently tried to leave more than once. According to ex-Scientologist Marty Rathburn though, the organization has too much “dirt” on Travolta and has threatened to expose his secrets if he ever leaves.
Kelly Preston’s Scientology-inspired Birthing Method
John Travolta’s wife has also been a strong supporter of Scientology. Actress Kelly Preston credits the religion with helping her stay sober. She said that she “used to do everything…and a lot of everything” but now Scientology has made her want to be a better mother.
One of the teachings of Scientology that Preston famously followed was staying completely silent while giving birth so that her children could come into the world without any chaos.
Giovanni Ribisi’s Father is an Outspoken Recruiter
The actor best recognized for his role as Phoebe’s brother Frank on the sitcom Friends was born into a Scientologist family. His father was a leading figure in the organization and was tasked with bringing celebrities into the religion. Ribisi even makes public appearances for the church, like when he was the keynote speaker at the opening of the Scientology museum.
Both Giovanni and his twin sister Marissa are open Scientologists. In fact, Marissa is married to fellow Scientologist Beck.
Erika Christensen Wants To Raise Her Kids With Scientology
The actress who stars on Parenthood only recently opened up about her affiliation with the Church of Scientology. She spoke with her co-star Dax Shepard on his podcast about how she was raised a Scientologist and that the mother of two is trying to do the same thing.
Christensen pressed that even though she was raised a Scientologist, she found herself wanting to explore the organization more on her own when she was 12, and she’s never looked back.
Bijou Phillips Married Fellow Scientologist Danny Masterson
The daughter of famous musician John Phillips from The Mamas and the Papas discovered Scientology as a result of a drug overdose. Phillips was emancipated from her parents at age 14, ended up heavily addicted to heroin, and became clean after going through Scientology’s Narconon program.
She’s stayed relatively under the radar as a Scientologist until she married actor Danny Masterson in 2011 and a Scientology-scandal almost broke them apart.
Read on to see what the Scientology scandal was.
Is the Church of Scientology Helping Danny Masterson?
Yet another That ’70s Show alum has been connected with the Church of Scientology. Unlike Prepon who discovered the religion on her own, Masterson was raised by Scientologist parents. When he was 15, he decided to study the religion on his own.
A scandal erupted in surrounding Masterson in 2017 though when he was accused of sexual assault. According to Leah Remini, it was her docuseries against Scientology that promoted one woman to leave the church and come forward with the allegations. This came not long after Masterson had a child with wife Bijou Phillips.
Scientology has Strained Vivian Kubrick’s Relationships
Vivian, who is the daughter of legendary filmmaker Stanley Kubrick, has only been a part of the Church of Scientology since 1999 but it has allegedly torn her family apart ever since. Vivian was described to be “inseparable” from her older sister Anya but became estranged from her after joining Scientology.
Vivian’s family became even more concerned about her affiliation with the organization after she didn’t attend Anya’s funeral in 2009.
Priscilla Presley Joined After a Call with John Travolta
The wife of the late great Elvis Presley reportedly reached out to John Travolta following her ex-husband’s death, and he introduced her to Scientology. Presley joined the Church in 1977 and has remained in it and even admitted to raising daughter Lisa Marie Presley in the organization.
Rumors swirled in 2014 that Priscilla had left Scientology after her daughter was outspoken about her own departure but Priscilla’s rep claimed otherwise.
Sadly, the Church Couldn’t Save Peaches Geldof
The late daughter of the legendary rocker Bob Geldof kept her connection to Scientology a secret after a tabloid story of a heroin-fueled night that ended at the Church of Scientology went public. After that, Peaches openly admitted to being a part of the organization because she was young and looking for her “spiritual path.”
The connection didn’t last and she dropped Scientology for a black magic occult religion. Sadly in 2014, Peaches was found dead of an opioid overdose.
Tiffany Haddish Changed Her Mind
In an interview with The Breakfast Club, this rising star admitted that she turned to Scientology early in her acting career. Haddish said that she “needed a place to stay” and was offered a position at the Church of Scientology as a recruiting agent.
Apparently, she even signed a “billion-year contract” to become one of the stars promoting the religion but bailed once they made her face her ultimate fear: sleeping in a bunk bed.
Isaac Hayes Butted Heads With South Park Creators
The legendary Southern soul singer has been connected with the Church of Scientology since the beginning of his career, but it came to a head in 2005. Hayes provided the voice for one of the major characters on the animated comedy South Park. In 2005, the show aired a controversial episode called “Trapped in the Closet” that critiqued Scientology and Tom Cruise.
Hayes refused to voice his character for the episode and later went on to say he told the show’s creators that the episode got Scientology “all wrong.”
Alanna Masterson’s Father Called Her “Brainwashed”
You might recognize Alanna best for her role on The Walking Dead, but she’s a lifelong Scientologist as well. The actress is the younger sister of Scientologist and actor Danny Masterson, is also estranged from her father.
Their father, Joe Reaiche, made it to the highest levels of the organization but has become blacklisted since leaving the church. In fact, even though it was his doing, he claims that Scientology has “brainwashed” his children.
Juliette Lewis Practices Two Religions
The actress, who garnered her first Oscar nomination when she was only a teenager for her role in Cape Fear, identifies as both a Christian and a Scientologist. This duel denomination is rare in such an organized church.
Her choice to recognize both religions likely stems from her emphasis on personal freedom. In an interview with Time magazine, when asked about Scientology she claimed her connection to it was so that she could be free to learn on her own, not from the government or media.
Jason Dohring’s Father Donated $10 Million to Scientology
Jason Dohring is another entertainer who credits Scientology with saving his career. The actor, who is best known for his roles on Veronica Mars and iZombie was indoctrinated into the religion thanks to his father’s involvement. In fact, the Dohring family is one of the most powerful families in the religion.
His father, Doug Dohring, was the founder of Neopets and is one of Scientology’s superstar donators. He even received a special award in 2016 for donating a cumulative $10 million.
Jenna Elfman is an Active Scientologist
Jenna Elfman joined the Church of Scientology after marrying Bodhi Elfman, the son of popular singer and Scientologist Richard Elfman. Jenna has been a devout Scientologist since 1991 and is one of their top public speakers.
She appeared at the Scientology-backed “Psychiatry: An Industry of Death” gala as a keynote speaker and multiple other galas. She has also focused primarily on fundraising efforts for the church and has even donated prints of her lips to raise funds.
Sky Dayton is a Tech Whiz and a Scientologist
Dayton, the founder of internet service companies like EarthLink and Boingo, actually grew up at a Scientology-affiliated boarding school called The Delphian School. His parents were devout Scientologists and he credits the Oregon boarding school with giving him the skills to become a successful entrepreneur.
Dayton even admitted that the wireless service Boingo was named after the band Oingo Boingo, of which the lead singer Richard Elfman was a Scientologist.
Greta Van Susteren Believes in the Church’s Ethics
Van Susteren has had a long career as a television commentator for CNN, NBC, and FOX News. She’s also been a devout Scientologist since 1995. The news commentator opened up to People Magazine about her connection saying that she believes in their ethics and that she’s donated more than $100,000 to the organization.
She’s likely a controversial member within the church though because her sister is a psychiatrist. Scientologists are known to despise them and have even called them “drug peddlers” and “rapists.”
Anne Archer is in a Family of Scientologists
The actress who is best known for her supporting role in Fatal Attraction has always been attracted to alternative religions. Archer was originally a Christian Scientist but made the switch to Scientology in 1975 along with her husband.
Archer was a spokesperson for the Church of Scientology’s literacy program, Applied Scholastics, from 1982-1986 and her son Tommy Davis was even the head of Scientology’s Celebrity Center International in Los Angeles.
Jennifer Aspen Says Scientology Helped Her Land Roles
The Party of Five actress credits Scientology as one of the reasons she doesn’t “bomb” in the entertainment industry anymore. It’s unknown when she joined the Church of Scientology but has been practicing for most of her adult career.
Aspen credits Scientology with giving her a “whole new career” and a “new life.” This is likely because she was out of work when she discovered the organization and credits it with helping her find the knowledge to land more roles.
Jeff Conaway Got Help From The Church
You might recognize this 1970s actor as Kenickie from Grease, and it was during filming alongside John Travolta that Conaway was introduced to Scientology. Conaway had developed a drug addiction after finding fame and with Travolta’s guidance, he reached out the Scientology’s Narconon program to become sober.
While he never intended to become a full-fledged member, that’s what happened after reading the teachings. Sadly, the Narconon program didn’t work and Conaway eventually relapsed and died of a drug overdose in 2011.
Stephen Boyd Was One of the First Hollywood Stars to be Involved With Scientology
Stephen Boyd appeared in more than 60 films during his 20-year stint in Hollywood. He was most known for playing the villain Messala in Ben-Hur, a role for which he won a Golden Globe. During the tail end of his career, he began exploring Scientology, making him one of the first Hollywood stars to be involved with the religion.
Boyd explained that Scientology helped him while filming Slaves and stated that, to him, the religion was, “A process used to make you capable of learning.” Before he passed away in 1977, he stated that “Scientology is nothing. It means only what you want it to. It is not a church you go to pray, but a church that you go to learn. It is no good unless you apply it. It is the application.”
John Travolta Influenced Eddie Deezen to Convert
Eddie Deezen played a nerdy Eugene Felsnic in Grease. It was on the set of the film that he was introduced to and became friends with John Travolta. Travolta, a well-known Scientologist, largely influenced Deezen’s curiosity of the religion
Deezen, who was raised Jewish, eventually converted to Scientology. In 2012, he told Vice that although he hasn’t been very active in the church, “Seeing what an extraordinary guy [Travolta] was, just such a nice person, such a kind human being, did make me think, but it was probably my first impulse of curiosity concerning Scientology.”
Doug E. Fresh Wrote an L. Ron Hubbard Tribute Album
Doug E. Fresh is a record producer from Barbados, also known as the “Human Beat Box” thanks to his ability to accurately imitate drum machines using only his mouth. While he’s known for popular tracks like “La Di Da Di,” he’s also known for his controversial religious views.
The rapper is a Scientologist and performed for large audiences at the Scientology Celebrity Center’s Anniversary Gala. He even wrote an L. Ron Hubbard-tribute album called The Joy of Creating. For Fresh, he says that he chose Scientology because, “It is scientific, mathematical, and spiritual.”
Mimi Rogers Was Born Into Scientology
Mimi Rogers’ father was a close friend of L. Ron Hubbard, so naturally, she began involved with the Church of Scientology from a young age. Speaking to the Los Angeles Times, Rogers said of the religion: “That philosophy was simply part of my upbringing. And, I think it was an excellent system of belief to grow up with because Scientology offers an extremely pragmatic method for taking spiritual concerns and breaking them down into everyday applications.”
Rogers has since left the church for reasons that aren’t entirely clear.
Katie Holmes Joined After Meeting Tom Cruise
2005 was a busy year for Katie Holmes. The Dawson’s Creek actress was engaged to Tom Cruise just seven weeks after they met. She also dipped her toes in the world of Scientology. Around this time, Holmes said in an interview, “You know, it’s really exciting. I just started auditing…and I’m taking some courses, and I really like it. I feel it’s really helping.”
The pair tied the knot the next year in a Scientologist ceremony, but after five years of marriage, they called it quits. Holmes also said goodbye to the Church of Scientology.
Nicole Kidman Joined After Meeting Tom Cruise Too
Nicole Kidman got involved with the Church of Scientology in 1990, around the time she and Tom Cruise tied the knot. While she’s never spoken about her exact reason for joining, all of Cruise’s wives have been Scientologists or converted.
Unfortunately, their marriage wouldn’t last and Kidman left the church once the pair divorced. Things got messy since the couple share two children who were raised Scientologist and decided to stay with Cruise following the split. Kidman has since opened up about her children with Cruise, who are now adults, saying, “They are able to make their own decisions. They have made choices to be Scientologists, and as a mother, it’s my job to love them.”
Lisa Marie Presley Started to Feel Like She Was Going to Self Destruct
Lisa Marie Presley, daughter of Elvis and Priscilla Presley was raised in the Church of Scientology, despite Elvis being outspoken in his disapproval of the religion.
Presley left the church in 2012, revealing to the Huffington Post, “I was slowly starting to self-destruct, and I didn’t know where that was coming from. I started to uncover the main person who was really close to me for years, and then it was a domino effect. I was devastated.”
Catherine Bell Converted From Roman Catholicism
Actress Catherine Bell is known for her role as Major Sarah MacKenzie in the series JAG, which she starred in from 1997 to 2005. Although she was raised Roman Catholic, she converted to Scientology and has said that she’s attained the state of “Clear.”
Bell also appeared alongside other celebrities in the Scientology music video called “United” and helped promote the Scientology-supported gala opening of the Citizens Commission on Human Rights.
Chick Corea Joined After Finding L. Ron Hubbard’s Books
Chick Corea is an accomplished jazz pianist and composer who tracks like “Super” and “La Fiesta” are considered jazz standards. Corea has been a Scientologist since the late ’60s, saying, “I found L. Ron Hubbard’s books and lectures to be of great help to me in my effort to learn more about myself and how I could be more effective in helping my family and friends.”
While Hubbard was still alive, the two exchanged letters almost constantly, with Corea making numerous guest appearances on Hubbard’s 1982 album Space Jazz: The Soundtrack of the Book Battlefield Earth.
Marisol Nichols Was Introduced to the Religion by Her Chiropractor
Marisol Nichols is known for her roles in various television series including 24. The actress has been involved with the Church of Scientology since 1997 when she was introduced to the religion by her chiropractor.
Nicholas has said, “The biggest success I have had in Scientology can be summed up in the following statement: It makes me a better person.” Nichols has numerous family members also involved with the church, including her mother in law who founded the Scientology front group Youth for Human Rights.