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The Stars Of Scientology - 15 Celebrities Connected To The Controversial Religion

Corbis / Fox

Founded in 1952, the Church of Scientology has become known for attracting two things: major controversy, and celebrity devotees.

The religion is famous for its outlandish beliefs, including in ancient space aliens and past lives. It has even been described as a cult, or a pyramid scheme.

Scientology
Curbed LA

But many of the religion's most famous members are happy to defend the church.

Whether you realized it or not, these 15 big stars have been connected to the Church of Scientology.

1. Priscilla and Lisa Marie Presley

Priscilla Presley
WireImage

Both Elvis Presley's ex-wife and his daughter have been outspoken members of the church, although only one is still a member.

Lisa Marie says she was raised as a Scientologist by her mother, and she supported a number of Scientology-linked charities before leaving the church in 2008.

Priscilla, on the other hand, denied rumors that she had left the church in 2017.

Elvis Presley
Corbis

As for the King himself, author Alanna Nash wrote that Elvis did not think much of the religion.

"There's no way I'll ever get involved with [that] group," she quoted him saying. "All they want is my money."

2. Elisabeth Moss

The star of the West Wing and Mad Men has never minced words about her devotion to Scientology.

Scientology
AMC

"Some people say yoga really helps them feel centered... or there's Buddhism or whatever," she told the Telegraph.

"I mean, I think that for me it's [Scientology], one thing that has helped me at times, and it's kind of as simple as that."

An attendee at the Television Critics Association awards even claimed Moss "left the room" when actress Leah Remini criticized Scientology onstage.

3. Jason Lee

The My Name is Earl Star has had a dramatic relationship with Scientology.

Lee's ex-wife, Carmen Llewellyn, claimed the religion "ruined" her life, and that Lee was "obsessed with it."

Jason Lee
NBC

"Unless I accepted Scientology the way he did and the way he wanted me to, we would most likely cease to know each another," she wrote.

But in 2016, Lee made headlines for denouncing the religion in a public post, saying he and his new wife "don't practice Scientology."

So far, Lee has not explained why he walked away from the church.

4. Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith

Will Smith
Magic 103.7

Rumors have followed this high profile couple for years, suggesting that they are both Scientologists.

Smith added fuel to the fire in 2007, when he defended his close friend Tom Cruise on Access Hollywood.

"I was introduced to [Scientology] through Tom, and I'm a student of world religion," he explained.

"I was raised in a Baptist household and went to a Catholic school, but the ideas of the Bible are 98% the same ideas as Scientology; 98% the same ideas as Buddhism or Hinduism."

Jada Pinkett Smith
Jada Pinkett Smith - Twitter

The next year, Smith and his wife opened a school that used Scientologist technology and teachings. But when the school folded a few years later, the church refunded the couple's investment.

Last year, Jada admitted to studying Scientologist beliefs, but still denies being a Scientologist.

5. Erika Christensen

The Parenthood star has called famous Scientologist Tom Cruise a mentor, and defended the religion on Dax Shepard's podcast.

Erika Christensen
Genevieve719 - Flickr

Christensen said she was first introduced to Scientology by her parents when she was eight years old.

"I can see that in the way that they approached me as a kid and really tried to do what I'm doing now," she said.

"Which is trying to temper absolutely necessary discipline and rules and structure with fostering independent thought and freedom of personality. It has to be true for you."

6. Beck

The musician has had a lifelong connection the the church, since he was raised by a pair of Scientologists.

Beck
Grammy

But the Grammy-winning artist was shy about publicly addressing his religion until a New York Magazine profile in 2012.

"It's just something that I've been around," he said, adding that he had seen "lots of benefit from it."

Since then, Beck has been more outspoken and started to lend his name to Scientologist charities.

"I have a job, raising kids, I have friends, I have my interests," Beck says, "so I think my life is pretty full. I’m not off doing some weirdo stuff."

7. Danny Masterson

Danny Masterson
The Source

The star of That '70s Show, who is currently facing sexual assault allegations, was raised as a Scientologist and is not afraid to defend the church.

“The definition of Scientology is 'the study of knowledge,'" he said.

"Obviously, the more knowledge you have in a given field, such as life, the more confident you are as a person."

Laura Prepon
Netflix

Masterson wasn't the only Scientologist on set either. Laura Prepon, who went on to star in Orange is the New Black, joined the church in 1999.

The actress says the church's controversial "auditing" technique has helped her become "more me."

8. Giovanni Ribisi

Ribisi, who has had big roles in blockbusters like Avatar and Saving Private Ryan, credits Scientology with his success in Hollywood.

Giovanni Ribisi
Today

He just may be right, because his acting coach, Milton Katselas, is also a famous Scientologist.

And that's not Ribisi's only surprising connection to the church: his twin sister Marissa is also married to Beck.

"It’s a personal thing, it’s something that works for me, and I think that’s simple," Ribisi said about his beliefs.

"Without Scientology," he added, "I would be in an alley somewhere, looking for dope."

9. Kirstie Alley

A longtime Scientologist who once donated $5 million to the Church, Alley has been one of the religion's most outspoken celebrity defenders.

Kirstie Alley
StarTrek.com

She even told Larry King that Scientology has helped her lose weight.

"I think that probably all religions sound bizarre to the people who are not the practitioners of them," she said about the church.

"To me it's so normal, and probably 90% of the crazy stuff I hear isn't true. I've been a Scientologist for over 30 years. I think a lot of things are sensationalized."

10. Tom Cruise

The Hollywood star is not just one of the world's most famous Scientologists, he's also one of the church's highest-ranking members.

Tom Cruise
Cruise and Mimi Rogers.Alan Light - Wikimedia

Cruise was introduced to the church by his first wife, Mimi Rogers, and says Scientologist treatments cured his dyslexia. Since then, the religion has played a major role in the actor's famous relationships.

Actress Leah Remini said Cruise and Kidman's adopted children once told her they weren't speaking to Kidman, because she was a "suppressive person."

In Scientology, suppressive persons or "SPs" are church outsiders, who Scientologists are supposed to avoid interacting with.

David Miscavige, the leader of the Church of Scientology, was Cruise's best man at his wedding to Katie Holmes.

Cruise himself admitted that Holmes divorced him to protect their daughter, Suri, from Scientology.

Tom Cruise
Spalsh

The actor's relationship with his youngest daughter has been famously frosty in recent years. Cruise insists that's not because Suri is an SP, but the actor's relationship with his Scientologist children seems to be much stronger.

11. Jerry Seinfeld

While he's no longer a practicing Scientologist, the massively successful stand up comic admits he dabbled in the religion as a young man.

He even says the church helped his act.

Jerry Seinfeld
LifeWay

"I last really studied [Scientology], oh, it’s almost 30 years ago...In my early years of stand-up, it was very helpful” he told Parade.

“I took a couple of courses. One of them was in communication, and I learned some things about communication that really got my act going.”

The comic said he was attracted to Scientology because it's "not faith-based" and "all technology. And I'm obsessed with technology."

12. Ethan Suplee

Yes, Jason Lee's My Name is Earl co-star is also a Scientologist.

Ethan Suplee
Greg Hernandez - Wikmedia

Suplee, who also had famous roles in Boy Meets World and Mallrats, is married to the younger sister of fellow celebrity Scientologist Juliette Lewis.

While most stars are tight-lipped about their connection to Scientology, Suplee almost never mentions it.

Scientology expert Tony Ortega says that Suplee's wife is "as militant a Scientologist as it gets. Ethan’s not leaving any time soon."

13. Leah Remini

The King of Queens star was raised a Scientologist, and remained in the church for more than 30 years. She even credited the church with helping her get pregnant.

Leah Remini
A&E

But in 2013, the actress had a dramatic break from the religion because of what she called the church's secretive policies and corruption.

Remini says she was subjected to years of "interrogations" and "thought modification" for questioning the church and its leader, David Miscavige.

"My mother got involved when we were very young, so it's all we ever really knew," Remini told Ellen DeGeneres.

"But over time my eyes opened, and I could no longer be affiliated with the organization, and my family felt the same, so we left."

The actress has since wrote about her experiences in the memoir Troublemaker: Surviving Hollywood and Scientology, and hosted a documentary series interviewing former church members.

14. John Travolta

Travolta has been an outspoken member of the church since 1975, and his wife Kelly Preston is also a Scientologist.

John Travolta.
Travolta in promotional material for the Church of Scientology.Jigsaw Productions

The pair have been used to attract publicity for the church, and they even starred together in Battlefield Earth, a sci-fi movie based on a book by Scientology's founder, L. Ron Hubbard.

Travolta also credited Scientologist techniques with helping him and Preston overcome the death of their son, Jett.

John Travolta
Georges Biard - Wikimedia

The actor is also well-known for introducing other celebrities to the church, including Patrick Swayze, and Forest Whitaker, and his Grease co-stars Jeff Conaway and Eddie Deezen.

Multiple sources, including former church officials, have claimed that Travolta is afraid to leave the church because of sensitive information he revealed during his "auditing" therapy sessions.

15. Juliette Lewis

The actress, known for her work in Cape Fear and Natural Born Killers, joined the church after using one of their drug rehabilitation clinics.

Juliette Lewis
Lewis introduced her ex-boyfriend Brad Pitt to the religion.WireImage

Since then, she's been a strong supporter of the church's anti-drug and anti-psychiatry beliefs. She also accused the media of having a "conspiracy theory" against Scientologists.

"I think there's so much confusion because people don't understand a religion where you can be another religion, but you can still practice Scientology." she told Vanity Fair.

Juliette Lewis
Amy Sussman / AP

"That's why it's completely progressive. It's just tools for living."

Brad Pitt, who dated Lewis for a short time in the '90s, reportedly tagged along to church meetings with her, but decided the religion was not for him.

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I write about all sorts of things for Shared, especially weird facts, celebrity news, and viral stories. CONTACT: zachary@shared.com