Leah Remini isn’t the only celeb who got outta there.
Left: Jerry Seinfeld
Seinfeld was never officially a member of the organization, but he did explain on the WTF With Marc Maron podcast that he took a course way back in the day. “I did do a course in Scientology in, like, ’75,” Seinfeld said. While he didn’t pursue things further, he did say that he “found it very interesting” and got some positives out of the class, like communication skills.
In it: Michael Peña
Peña — who has a long list of credits including End of Watch and Ant-Man — says he first joined Scientology because he feared he was drinking too much, and there was a program called Purification Rundown that helped him quit drinking. He also says that one of their other programs made him “a better actor” by helping with his “understanding of scripts.” When asked by the Guardian about the organization’s many controversies, Peña replied, “I don’t read that stuff.”
Left: Laura Prepon
Prepon joined Scientology around 1999, and was still in the organization when she joined the cast of Orange Is the New Black. However, she revealed in a 2021 interview with People that she is “no longer practicing Scientology,” and hadn’t been for about five years, meaning she quit sometime around 2016. Previously she had been vocal about praising the organization, but after leaving she spoke about it very little, which upset fellow former Scientologist Leah Remini, who has been very outspoken about the organization’s alleged abuses.
In it: Elisabeth Moss
Moss — perhaps most famous for her role in The Handmaid’s Tale — has been a Scientologist since before she was even a teenager. However, she doesn’t speak about it much publicly. In an interview with the New Yorker, she opened up a bit, talking about the ways she feels Scientology is “misunderstood” or wrongly perceived. “It’s not really a closed-off religion,” Moss said. “It’s a place that is very open to, like, welcoming in somebody who wants to learn more about it.”
Left: Katie Holmes
Holmes famously filed for divorce from Scientology’s poster boy, Tom Cruise, back in 2012. Holmes reportedly used burner cellphones and laptops in order to leave Cruise along with their daughter, Suri, without alerting Cruise or anyone else in the organization before the fact. It’s unclear how involved Holmes was in Scientology during her marriage to Cruise, but simply by association, it’s likely she was somewhat embedded.
In it: Juliette Lewis
In 2010, Lewis spoke with Vanity Fair about Scientology and said that she was a practicing Scientologist. Her father, Geoffrey Lewis, was also a Scientologist, so she was born into the religion. She appears to still be affiliated with the organization today.
Left: Nicole Kidman
Like Katie Holmes, Kidman was affiliated with Scientology because of her marriage to Tom Cruise. Journalist Tony Ortega claimed that he spoke with Bruce Hines, Kidman’s “auditor” in the church, and that Hines said Kidman took many classes and quickly ascended the ranks of the organization’s spiritual ladder. But when Kidman split with Cruise, she stopped practicing Scientology, while her and Cruise’s children, Connor and Bella, continued to.
In it: Kirstie Alley
Alley is one of the more outspoken celebrity Scientologists, frequently using Twitter and interviews to feud with Leah Remini over the organization and defend fellow Scientologists. For example, when former Scientologist Paul Haggis was facing sexual assault allegations, she tweeted, “Another one bites the dust…karma is a bitch,” but took a different approach when Scientologist Danny Masterson was accused of sexual assault, saying she believes in “innocent until proven guilty.”
Left: Jason Lee
The My Name Is Earl star had been a practicing Scientologist since the ’90s, and his ex-wife Carmen Llywelyn even claimed that the religion was a major cause of their split. However, in a 2016 interview with a local paper in Denton, Texas (where Lee and his family moved), he revealed that he wasn’t a practicing Scientologist anymore. “Being that we don’t practice Scientology, and that we aren’t particularly interested in opening religious centers in general, we have no plans to open a Scientology center,” he said, when asked if he planned on starting a business in Denton.
In it: Giovanni Ribisi
Ribisi was raised by Scientologist parents, so he’s been a Scientologist all his life. When asked about it, he told the Jim and Sam Show, “It’s a personal thing; it’s something that works for me, and I think it’s that simple.”
Left: Christopher Reeve
The late Superman actor revealed in his memoir that he did some “auditing” and took some Scientology courses when he was younger. However, he said that one class “completely devalued” his faith in the process. The class was supposed to bring up memories of his past lives, but Reeve basically re-told a story from Greek mythology and passed it off as his own past life experience, and, in his words, “got away with a blatant fabrication.”
In it: Jenna Elfman
In an interview with Us Weekly, Elfman called the controversy around Scientology — recently intensified by Leah Remini’s book and the HBO documentary Going Clear — “boring.” Elfman told the magazine, “I know what I know, and how much it helps me … I think that anything that works tends to get attacked.”
Left: Mimi Rogers
Rogers’ father was a friend of L. Ron Hubbard’s, so she joined Scientology at an early age. Tom Cruise joined the organization after marrying Rogers, so it seems as though she was the reason he became a Scientologist in the first place. However, after her split with Cruise, Rogers left Scientology.
In it: Ethan Suplee
Suplee is married to Juliette Lewis’s sister, Brandy Lewis, and was one of several people involved in My Name Is Earl who were involved with Scientology. Suplee is very quiet about his religion, so it’s hard to tell just how devoted he is (or if he is still a Scientologist today), but he was reported to be in the organization back in the Earl days.
By the way, I used those older photos so that you’d recognize who he is. Here’s what Suplee looks like today:
Beck’s relationship with Scientology is a bit contradictory if you go by what he’s said in the past. His father was a Scientologist, and in the early 2000s, Beck married Giovanni Ribisi’s twin sister, Marissa Ribisi, who is an active member of the church. During that time, Beck claimed that he was also a Scientologist. However, after his divorce from Ribisi about four years ago, Beck said, “I think there’s a misconception that I am a Scientologist. I’m not a Scientologist. I don’t have any connection or affiliation with it.” It would appear that Beck either never was a Scientologist but was keeping up appearances since his wife was one, or was a Scientologist while he was married but left the religion sometime around his divorce.
In it: John Travolta
Although there were reports back in 2009 that Travolta might be leaving Scientology, he remains one of the most famous celebrities in the church today. Travolta was introduced to Scientology back in 1975 by one of his co-stars on The Devil’s Rain, and told Kevin Hart on Hart’s podcast, “At that moment it worked for me, and it still works for me.”
Left: Neil Gaiman
While it seems like Gaiman himself never actively practiced Scientology, he did grow up in a very Scientologist household. The Good Omens author’s father was the British spokesperson for the organization, and it’s been reported — but not confirmed — that his ex-wife and sisters are members. However, Gaiman has outright denied that he is a Scientologist, so it may be that he never practiced, but just grew up surrounded by it. In any case, it’s probably fair to say that Gaiman “escaped” Scientology, as many who grow up with parents in the church tend to be involved themselves.
In it: Nancy Cartwright
Cartwright — the longtime voice of Bart Simpson — has been an avid Scientologist for decades. She recently spoke to the Associated Press about the organization after the Going Clear book was published, saying, “I don’t know what to tell you… It’s called prejudice.”
Left: William S. Burroughs
I don’t know if we’d call Burroughs — author of Naked Lunch and member of the Beat Generation — a “celebrity” in the sense that other people on this list are, but the story of his involvement with Scientology is an interesting one. He joined the church all the way back in the 1960s, only about a decade after L. Ron Hubbard published Dianetics, but later grew disillusioned and even published his own book in 1971 called Ali’s Smile: Naked Scientology. The book — and Burroughs’ own public comments — accused Scientology of using authoritarian tactics to control its members, and even compared it to the CIA in terms of its secrecy.
In it: Danny Masterson
Masterson has been a Scientologist for many years, and remains an active member today. The organization has been closely tied to the ongoing sexual assault case against Masterson, as he is facing both civil and criminal complaints from women who were also members of the church of Scientology. Earlier this year, a judge ruled that the case would proceed to a jury trial and would not be resolved through the church’s mediation process.
Left: Leah Remini
Remini may be the most outspoken former Scientologist, as she has published a book and made an Emmy-winning docuseries about her escape from the church, which she — in no uncertain terms — calls a “cult.” Remini has been pushing for the organization to lose its tax-exempt status, and for some high-level members to face prison time. “There are lawsuits and I think they’re going to lose in the courts. They’ll have to pay for their sins,” she told THR. “I believe that with every piece of me.”
In it: Tom Cruise
I mean, you probably know the deal here. Tom Cruise is one of the highest-ranking members of the organization and in many ways may be the lynchpin of Scientology’s pull in Hollywood. He has defended the church many times in past interviews, even calling psychiatry a “pseudoscience” in one of them. Seth Rogen, in his memoir, Yearbook, recounted a story when he and Judd Apatow met with Cruise about a project, and Cruise attempted to talk them into joining the religion. At this point, Cruise’s name is practically synonymous with Scientology.
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11 Celebrities Who Left Scientology, And 11 Who Are Still In It
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