20 Celebrities Who Left Scientology

Martha Sorren | Jun 25, 2020 Celebrities
20 Celebrities Who Left Scientology
Image: Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images

Brad Pitt
Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images

Scientology is a controversial religion, but that hasn't stopped tons of celebrities from becoming Scientologists. Some people have even accused stars of using the church to shield themselves from wrongdoing. Recently, That '70s Show actor Danny Masterson, who is a member, has faced multiple sexual assault allegations (he denies them all), and both he and the Church of Scientology were sued in 2019 for allegedly covering up the rape and sexual assault claims. The lawsuits were dismissed, but people have long thought that Scientology has a sinister side to it.

That alleged darker side, and some of the more controversial beliefs and practices, have ultimately led some celebrities to leave Scientology over the years.

Believe it or not, a number of stars have left Scientology, though some are still staunch believers. For those celebs who once believed but then quit, they each have their own story as to why they left -- which, by the way, is reportedly not really an easy feat. (It's hard for someone to leave once they have fully joined.) 

Some stars were only testing out the waters by taking a couple of classes before deciding it wasn't for them, and others found another religion they preferred to Scientology. Some became disillusioned with Scientology and what it stood for and practiced.

Whatever the reason, these celebs made it back to the outside world, and some of them have even been vocal about their experience inside the church. To see who else has joined Leah Remini over the years by exiting the religion, keep reading.

  • Leah Remini

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    Leah Remini
    Splash News

    Actress Leah Remini was a Scientologist for 30 years before she left the church in 2013. As for why she left, she said, "No one is going to tell me how I need to think, no one is going to tell me who I can, and cannot, talk to." Since leaving, Leah Remini hosted three seasons of a docuseries exposing the inner workings of the church called Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath.

  • Brad Pitt

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    Brad Pitt
    Splash News

    Apparently, Brad Pitt checked out the religion in the '90s while dating Scientologist Juliette Lewis, but decided to leave it behind when he and Juliette broke up. It was probably for the best, though, as a former Scientologist later claimed that a Scientology sweat-lodge-esque detoxifying ritual allegedly almost resulted in Brad's death.

  • Lisa Marie Presley

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    Lisa Marie Presley
    Splash News

    Elvis and Priscilla Presley's daughter, Lisa Marie, was raised in the church of Scientology from the time she was a child. Reportedly, she left in 2014 to claim some freedom, both financially and otherwise. "I was slowly starting to self-destruct. They were taking my soul, my money, my everything," she said at the time.

  • Priscilla Presley

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    Priscilla Presley
    Splash News

    Lisa Marie's mom left shortly after her daughter, according to reports. Priscilla had originally joined at the behest of John Travolta to help Priscilla grieve after Elvis' death. But after 40 years in the church, she decided to join her daughter on the outside world. Reportedly, Priscilla and her daughter were so close that they decided as a family to no longer be part of the religion.

  • Demi Moore

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    Demi Moore
    Splash News

    Reportedly, Demi Moore was high on the list of celebrities that the Scientologists wanted to join them. She was friendly with two high-profile members -- Kelly Preston and Lisa Marie Presley -- but her then-husband, Bruce Willis, didn't want their family wrapped up in that. Needless to say, he steered Demi away from the church's clutches. 

  • Mimi Rogers

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    Mimi Rogers
    Splash News

    Actress Mimi Rogers was married to Tom Cruise from 1987 until 1990, and is credited as being the one who introduced him to Scientology. (What a legacy, right?) However, after their eventual divorce, she left the religion. Tom, meanwhile, stayed very much in the Scientology world and went on to recruit all his other wives for the organization.

  • Nicole Kidman

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    Nicole Kidman
    Splash News

    While married to Tom Cruise from 1990 until 2001, Nicole Kidman dabbled in the Scientology world with him. After their divorce, she left that part of her life behind. Vogue reports that she won't say anything negative about the religion, because both of her children from her marriage to Tom are still active in the church. "They are adults," Kidman has said. "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."

  • Katie Holmes

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    Katie Holmes
    Splash News

    Another one of Tom Cruise's wives to be part of Scientology was Katie Holmes. She was married to Tom from 2006 until 2012, when she filed for divorce. Perhaps using Nicole Kidman as a guide for how she didn't want her life to be, Katie made sure she fought for sole custody of her daughter in order to keep her away from the religion. She succeeded.

  • Christopher Reeve

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    Christopher Reeve
    Splash News

    The late Christopher Reeve was best known for playing Superman in the '70s and '80s, but he was also a Scientologist for a while. E News! reports that he left the church after using a story from Greek mythology to lie about having been reincarnated. "The fact that I got away with a blatant fabrication completely devalued my belief in the process," he said after no one realized that he'd been lying.

  • Jason Beghe

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    Jason Beghe
    Timothy Hiatt/Getty Images

    E! News also reported that Chicago P.D. actor Jason Beghe quit the church in 2008, after 14 years of being a Scientologist. He then ridiculed the religion in an interview with Fox News. "It creates a brainwashed, robotic version of you," he said. "And it creates an addiction, so you come back for more." The church apparently contends that Jason didn't quit, he was expelled.

  • Patrick Swayze

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    Patrick Swayze
    Ethan Miller/Getty Images

    It is also reported that the late Dirty Dancing star Patrick Swayze briefly joined Scientology in the '80s after his dad died. It's not the only religion he tried over the years as Patrick also gave Buddhism and Transcendental Meditation a go as well. We don't know how those other two worked out for him, but Scientology wasn't a fit. The actor left shortly after trying it out.

  • Michelle Visage

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    Michelle Visage
    Splash News

    RuPaul's Drag Race judge Michelle Visage is good friends with Leah Remini, and Michelle initially wanted to check out Scientology while Leah was still in it. However, when Michelle learned about the church's underlying homophobia, she decided the religion wasn't something she was interested in pursuing further. 

    She left and never looked back.

  • Russell Crowe 

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    Russell Crowe
    Splash News

    Actor Russell Crowe is friends with Tom Cruise -- which is how Russell first got interested in the religion -- but his exploration into the church ended shortly after it started. "It just seems like a religion that is perfect for people who feel like they need a grounding, who feels that the world has run off on them," he said. "I've discussed this with Scientologists, and they don't disagree. So, for a certain type of person, that's great."

    Guess Russell wasn't that type of person.

  • Brandy

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    Brandy
    Splash News

    According to a 2004 interview, the singer reportedly tried out a few Scientology classes -- mainly ones that just asked probing questions designed to get people thinking deeply about their lives. However, despite the brief introduction to the religion, the organization wasn't for her, and she's been clear that she is not a Scientologist today.

  • Sharon Stone

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    Sharon Stone
    Splash News

    The Independent reported that Basic Instinct actress Sharon Stone tried Scientology out in the '90s like so many celebrities did, but she ended up finding a different religion that she connected with more. Richard Gere reportedly introduced her to Buddhism in 1998, and she's been a faithful follower of that religion ever since.

  • Jerry Seinfeld

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    Jerry Seinfeld
    Splash News

    Parade reported that Jerry Seinfeld was introduced to Scientology by his auto mechanics teacher in high school. The comedian took a few classes decades ago before leaving it behind, but Jerry credited the religion's beliefs with helping him in his stand-up comedy career. "In my early years of stand-up, it was very helpful. 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," he said.

  • Neil Gaiman

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    Neil Gaiman
    Splash News

    Author Neil Gaiman was raised in the church from the time he was a child, because his father was the church's chief UK media spokesperson and high up in the religion. There's even a clip of Neil at 7 years old talking about what Scientology meant to him. As an adult, Gaiman left the church, but he still has relatives who are part of the religion.

  • Rock Hudson

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    Rock Hudson
    Silver Screen Collection/Getty Images

    Best known for his films in the '50s and '60s, Rock Hudson reportedly interviewed to be part of the religion, but left the meeting in a hurry. Some sources claim he left because he didn't want to divulge that he was a closeted gay man, but the official word on the street at the time was that his parking meter had run out of money. Rock seemingly never returned to finish the induction process.

  • Sonny Bono

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    Sonny Bono
    Ron Galella/Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images

    Cher's ex-husband, Sonny Bono, reportedly tried to leave Scientology back in 1991, but he was allegedly stopped by members of the religion. "Sonny did try to break away at one point, and they made it very difficult for him," his widow, Mary Bono, later said. Sonny eventually was able to leave without being stopped, but it took a while.

  • Jason Lee

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    Jason Lee
    Paul Archuleta/FilmMagic/Getty Images

    My Name Is Earl actor Jason Lee had been a Scientologist since the '90s, but he revealed in 2016 that he was no longer practicing the religion. The church was a contentious part of his first marriage to Carmen Llywelyn, who later blamed Scientology for why they got divorced. She had tried to join the church after marrying Jason in an attempt to make things work between them, but both her relationship with Jason and the church ultimately ended.

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