20 Celebrities Who Ditched Scientology for Good (PHOTOS)

A religion started by a former science fiction author. Reports that the church separates families and friends of those who choose to leave it. Having to spend six-figure amounts to reach personal enlightenment. At some point, one, or maybe all, of these reasons led celebrity members of the Church of Scientology to defect.

Here are 20 celebrities who put Scientology in their rearview mirror. Some chose to go quietly, others put the church on blast. All have moved on from one of the most controversial movements around.

 

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  • Leah Remini

    1

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    Hers is one of the most high-profile defections in years. Leah Remini left Scientology in 2013 and named her daughter as the reason. "I decided I didn't want to raise my daughter in the church because from what I've experienced and what I saw, the church becomes your everything. It becomes your mother, your father, your everything. You are dependent on the church," said the It's All Relative star. In its response, the Church called Remini "self-absorbed" and "pathetic."

  • Demi Moore

    2

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    Could Scientology be the secret reason Demi Moore doesn't seem to age? Not likely. The actress was reportedly heavily recruited to join in her Ghost days, but didn't stick around.  

  • Brandy

    3

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    After being involved in a car crash that left another person dead, Brandy sought spiritual guidance, and on the advice of a friend, checked out Scientology. Then she checked herself, and left. 

  • Lisa Marie Presley

    4

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    When Elvis' only child left Scientology, she went quietly, apparently only letting the lyrics to one of her songs released at the time, "So Long," speak for her: This here is a city without lights/Those are all the people without eyes/Churches, they don't have a soul/Soup for sale without a bowl/Religion so corrupt and running lives/Farewell, fair weather friends/I can't say I'll miss you in the end." She later participated in the bombshell documentary Going Clear: The Prison of Belief.

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  • Paul Haggis

    5

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    The Crash director's exit from Scientology was a dramatic one: He wrote an open letter condemning the Church for, among other things, forcing members to disconnect from those who choose to leave; and for backing California anti-gay marriage measure Proposition 8. The Church denied the accusations and called Haggis a "paranoid," "delusional," "status-obsessed screenwriter."

  • Brad Pitt

    6

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    He dated devoted Church member Juliette Lewis for five years, so it's no surprise that Brad Pitt took courses in Scientology—then lost interest when he and Lewis broke up. Alongside Tom Cruise, Pitt would have been quite a prize  member.

  • Jerry Seinfeld

    7

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    The man who would go on to star in a show famously about nothing got something out of taking a few Scientology courses, which he says helped him get comfortable doing stand-up in his early career. But he never fully jumped in and even made a Scientology joke on the show.

     

     

  • Sharon Stone

    8

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    The Basic Instinct actress had a brief foray into Scientology but she ultimately preferred other religious traditions: She converted to Tibetan Buddhism and is also an ordained minister through the Universal Life Church.

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  • Mikhail Baryshnikov

    9

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    Russian-American dancing legend Mikhail Baryshnikov took Scientology courses after being introduced to the Church by John Travolta, according to Lawrence Wright's book, Going Clear. 

  • Nicole Kidman

    10

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    She may or may not have been thrilled about it, but as the wife of Scientology's poster boy, Tom Cruise, Nicole Kidman was involved in the Church. But the marriage and any affiliation with the Church ended when she and Cruise divorced, a breakup reportedly engineered by Scientology leader David Miscaviage. 

  • Ricky Martin

    11

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    Crossover fame hit Ricky Martin hard in the 2000. So hard, that the singer sought solace in Scientology. But when the Church found out about his homosexuality, it reportedly tried to convince him to do reparative therapy to make him straight. He left.  

  • Emilio Estevez

    12
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    When Tom Cruise got married to Mimi Rogers in a secret ceremony, his best man was Emilio Estevez. Little wonder, then, that Estevez reportedly  took Scientology courses, as Cruise was then a fledgling Church member, thanks to Rogers' introduction. But Estevez quietly moved on.

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  • Nazanin Boniadi

    13

     

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    This is a heartbreaking story: According to an article about Scientology in Vanity Fair, star church member Nazanin Boniadi was recruited and then groomed to be Tom Cruise's girlfriend in 2004. Church leader David Miscavige allegedly wanted her to file down her incisor teeth, but she earned Cruise's disdain when she asked Miscavige to repeat himself. After getting dumped, she dumped the Church.

  • Oliver Stone

    14

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    The award-winning director on his month as a Scientologist: "It was like going to college and reading Dale Carnegie, something you do to find yourself." The result? "I got laid."

  • Soleil Moon Frye

    15

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    She was born into Judaism, but when she hit Hollywood Soleil Moon Frye (aka Punky Brewster) tried Scientology on for size. It didn't fit. She has reportedly returned to Judaism.

  • Shirley MacLaine

    16

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    The New Age queen says Scientologists have repeatedly tried to recruit her because of her belief in reincarnation. Though she looked into the religion, she found it too secretive to study in depth.

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  • Gloria Gaynor

    17

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    The disco star was a churhgoing Baptist girl from a small town when she hit it big. Exposure to rampant sex, drugs, and money left her feeling out of place. So she began a spiritual quest that in part, took her to the Church of Scientology. Unfulfilled, she continued her search for meaning and became a born-again Christian. 

  • Neil Gaiman

    18

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    The beloved British author of American Gods and the Sandman series grew up in a deeply Scientologist family. His dad was a Church spokesman and both his sisters and ex-wife are adherents. Gaiman, however, has said he is not involved.