13 Former Celebrity Scientologists

Katie Holmes Suri tom cruise valkyrie premiere japanKatie Holmes is among Hollywood’s famous who have broken away from Scientology.

Photo: AP / Itsuo Inouye

When Katie Holmes filed for divorce from Tom Cruise, not only did she cause one of the biggest breakups in recent Hollywood history, she also created a panic among Scientologists. But Holmes isn’t the first big-name celebrity to cause a stir in the church.

The long list includes actresses, producers, and singers—some of whom have lashed out at the religion after their fallout. 

We’ve compiled the stars who once practiced the religion, those who have spoken out against the church, and those who considered following Scientology.

Plus, see who considered joining the religion including Ricky Martin and the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll. 

Paul Haggis

Film director and screenwriter, Paul Haggis ('Million Dollar Baby,' 'Crash') spoke out in the New Yorker about his decision to leave Scientology in 2009 saying it horrified him.

'I was in a cult for 34 years,' said Haggis. 'Everyone else could see it. I don't know why I couldn't.'

After reading an article by the St. Petersburg Times reporting physical violence committed by church members, Haggis was extremely bothered.

'They were 10 years old, twelve years old, ... scrubbing pots, manual labour--that so deeply touched me,' Haggis told the New Yorker. 'My God, it horrified me!'

Haggis ultimately left Scientology after the church refused to publicly denounce Proposition 8--the ballot that banned same-sex marriage in California. He claimed his youngest daughter, Katy, who is gay, lost a Scientologist friend after outing herself, not because of her sexuality, but, rather because she lied about her sexual preference.

Michael Fairman

'Young and the Restless' star Michael Fairman joined Scientology in 2003, acting as the face of the religion for a few years, but left after having misgivings with the group.

He told the Village Voice he began doubting Scientology leader David Miscavige's pressure to make expensive purchases in 2009.

'It was a really hard sell, and it turned me and my wife off. I stopped going to events,' he said. 'Then, when Paul Haggis's letter came up in 2009, that's when I really started to look at things. It brought me to Marty Rathbun's blog, quite fearfully, because Marty had been painted as the most evil of evil.'

Last year, Fairman made his 'Suppressive Person Declare,' public, a document which tossed him out of the Church.

Lisa Marie Presley

Jeffrey Tambor

The New York Times claimed the 'Arrested Development' actor was a member of Scientology in 2007.

In 2007, Tambor later spoke out about the rumours saying he took some classes at one time, but no longer follows the religion.

'I took some Scientology classes at one time, studied Scientology for a while, but no more,' said Tambor. 'I have nothing against it, but I am no longer a Scientologist.'

Christopher Reeve

In his 2004 book, 'Nothing Is Impossible: Reflections on a New Life,' the 'Superman' actor discussed his experience with the religion.

In the fall of 1975, when Reeve was 22, found himself at the New York headquarters of the Church of Scientology to find out his score on an assessment he was given by a young man from the church. Instead of receiving a score, the actor was told he should begin 'training,' and, so, Reeves took up studying the religion.

After a few sessions in which he divulged of all drug use stronger than aspirin--to expunge his mind of toxins--he was told to recall past lives. scepticism began to take over.

He ultimately dismissed the religion after concocting a story about a past life as the commander of a warship in ancient Greece to an auditor.

'I didn't expect my auditor to be familiar with Greek mythology; I was simply relying on her ability, assisted by the E-Meter, to discern the truth. The fact that I got away with a blatant fabrication completely devalued my belief in the process.'

Sonny Bono

In 2008, Cher told 'Access Hollywood' Sonny Bono was a Scientologist while discussing her minor fling with Scientology member Tom Cruise.

'He just was the most adorable man that you can possibly imagine,' she said. 'I have to say, I don't understand the Scientology thing because I don't understand it, you know. Sonny was a Scientologist. I didn't understand that either.'

A 1991 Time cover article titled, 'The Cult of Greed' also pitted Sonny Bono as a member. You can read the full article here.

Larry Anderson

Anderson, known for his roles on 'Days of Our Lives' and appearing in series including, 'Boston Public,' 'Mork & Mindy,' and 'Mad Men,' joined Scientology in 1976.

The actor was featured in the religion's 1996 40-minute promotion film, 'Orientation' in which he said the following:

'If you leave this room after seeing this film and walk out and never mention Scientology again, you are perfectly free to do so. It would be stupid. But you can do it. You can also dive off a bridge or blow your brains out. That is your choice ... But, if you don't walk out that way, if you continue with Scientology, we will be very happy with you. And you will be very happy with you.''

In 2008, Anderson became frustrated with the church's auditing and high costs for the many reprintings of basic teaching books after the founders death.

'I looked around and everybody's in a standing ovation, getting their checkbooks out. I thought, 'Oh, my God, we are sheeple.' Not me. I'm out.''

After his break from the church in 2009, Anderson wanted $150,000 in return, an amount he estimated he spent on his 33 years of service.

Jason Beghe

Actor Jason Beghe of 'G.I. Jane' began straying from the religion after a Scientologist suggested a car accident of Beghe's was caused by his friendship with a homosexual.

When he openly left the religion in 2008, he said the purpose of Scientology is to create a 'brainwashed, robotic version of you.'

'It's a 'Matrix' of you, so you're communicating with people all the time using Scientology,' said Beghe. 'So we're seeing you 'via' Scientology. And it creates an addiction, so you come back for more.'

The actor claimed he spent $1 million to get to the position of 'OT5 auditor.'

Diana Canova

Jeff Conaway

Isaac Hayes

Candice Bergen

Bergen was supposedly connected with the religion in the late '60s, but left early on before it became big.

Don Simpson

According to the Premiere magazine interview in 1993, the 'Top Gun' producer said he nearly went clear doing 'the E-meter' in the '70s.

However, after spending upwards of $25,000 on courses without seeing much improvement he decided to leave the religion.

'At that point I realised it was a con,' said Simpson. 'Heber Jentzsch called me into the Guardian's Office and implied that I was making a grave error. The implication that I took away was that I would be on their enemies list.

*Note: Jentzsch served as president of the Church of Scientology International since 1982. He hasn't been publicly seen since 2004.

Bonus: Will Smith actively recruited for the church; however, was never a member.

The NY Daily News reported in January 2008, the actor was actively recruiting for the Church.

Further suspicion came underway when he and his wife began supporting the New Village Academy, a private school in Los Angeles that borrows teaching techniques from the religion.

In a later interview with Fox News in September 2008, the actor defended his school borrowing from Scientology's learning techniques, and admitted he is not a Scientologist:

'I am not,' Smith said, 'You can take different parts of things you like and put them all together.'

Three months later, Fox News reported Smith donated a total of $125,500 to Scientology.

Celebrities who explored the religion but never joined:

Actively Recruited Celebrities

Brad Pitt: In former high-ranking church official Amy Scobee's book, 'Scientology -- Abuse at the Top,' she claims Pitt completed two Scientology courses in July 1991 and May 1993.

'In the end, Brad didn't think it was for him and he and Juliette broke up,' said Scobee. 'He was high on the church president's list of stars they felt could be 'recovered.'

Demi Moore: In addition to Pitt, the former member and leader of the church's Hollywood Celebrity Centre, Karen Pressley, claimed Moore was another celebrity wanted by Scientologists.

Elvis Presley

According to 'Inside Scientology: The Story of America's Most Secretive Religion,' Peggy Lipton, brother of actor Bobby Lipton of 'The Mod Squad,' who was dating Presley at the time, tried to get him to join. From one of Presley's associates, Lamar Fike:

'One day, in L.A., we got into the limousine and went down to the Scientology centre on Sunset, and Elvis went in and talked to them,' said Fike. 'apparently they started doing all these charts and crap for him. Elvis came out and said, 'F--- those people! There's no way I'll ever get involved with that son-of-a-b-----n' group. All they want is my money.''

You've seen who used to practice the religion ...

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