Scientology has a lot of celebrity followers

All the most high-profile celebrity believers and leavers of the Scientology church

There is a thing called the Sea Org and apparently it’s a big deal

The Church of Scientology has cornered a very niche but secretive market any religion covets: celebrity followers.

Scientology, which was founded by the science fiction writer L. Ron Hubbard in 1954, is seen widely as “cult-like”, but hey, some say so is fame. Either way, it has managed to capture the attention of some of the biggest names. Some were already in it before they became a household name, brought it by their family. Others turned to its ET-centric belief system during or after their rags-to-riches storylines. Many of these people have left, vowed never to return and have made it their life’s mission to speak out against the alleged abuse they witnessed while part of it. Some have been at the centre of the claims, either accused of supporting from the sidelines or as named defendants in sexual assault lawsuits.

The history, its beliefs and other ideas surrounding it have been covered extensively by many but here is some of its star-studded past and present.

Here are all the celebrity followers, both past and present, of the Church of Scientology.

Tom Cruise

Tom has appeared in many Scientology materials showing him spreading it at black-tie events, like the one shown in the Louis Theroux Scientology Movie. His 2005 wedding to Katie Holmes was the Scientology event of the century. The whos-who of stars linked to the religion were invited to the ceremony, which coincidentally was the last time that the head of Scientology, David Miscavige’s wife, Shelley, was last seen in public.

Nicole Kidman

In 2018, Nicole revealed how her leaving the church, along with her ex-husband Tom Cruise, meant that she was estranged from her kids, Connor and Isabella. The pair divorced in 2001, but Tom found the church during their marriage, and Nicole climbed up its many ranks through its infamous courses. Perhaps part of the reason for that iconic post-divorce snap was that she didn’t have to bother with the Sea Org ever again.

John Travolta

After growing up in a Catholic household, John was led to Scientology in 1975, aged 21, by his The Devil Rain’s co-star Joan Prather. She had noted how he was “extremely unhappy” amid his rise to fame. Throughout the years, John has been one of the most high-profile defenders of the church amid the personal struggles in his life. In 2009, he lost his 16-year-old son Jett during a seizure-induced accident and his wife Kelly Preston to breast cancer at age 57 in 2020.

Kirstie Alley

Kirstie became a member of Scientology in 1979 after hearing about it from her neighbour as a way to get clean from her coke addiction. She attributed its rehab programme as the thing that kept her on the straight and narrow. Surviving members of the church believed that upon her death in December 2022, after being diagnosed with cancer at age 77, Kirstie had reached superhuman status, otherwise known as OT VIII.

Danny Masterson

Danny was brought up in the church. His stepfather, Joe Reaiche, and mum, Carole Masterson, managed to reach the top tier of Sea Org. During his time on That 70s Show, it was believed he tried to convert many of his co-stars, such as the now-married couple Ashton Kutcher and Mila Kunis.

In his rape trial proceedings, which led to a 30-year prison sentence, many of the alleged secrets came to light. This included the allegation that a church official would “take responsibility” for the 2001 sexual assault that he was found guilty of.

Following his conviction, it is rumoured that he was thrown out of the church for being what they consider a “suppressive person”, meaning someone who impedes Scientology followers and their spiritual journeys. His wife, Bijou Phillips, is also reported to have left the church shortly after her husband.

Laura Prepon

Laura joined the church after being convinced to join by Danny, who she appeared on the sitcom That 70s Show with, but revealed in 2021 that she was actually no longer a part of it. According to an interview, her husband Ben Foster and his love of meditation had led her to be five years clear.

Elisabeth Moss

Elisabeth was another born and raised practitioner of Scientology as her parents, Linda and Ron, entered the fold before she was a twinkle in their eye. An outspoken defender of Scientology, she made her belief very “misunderstood” while chatting to The New Yorker. She is known to get a bit po-faced when it becomes the subject of ridicule at awards ceremonies, which is fair enough but also weird for someone with TV credits like The Handmaid’s Tale.

Priscilla Presley and Lisa Marie Presley

Priscilla turned to Scientology after the death of her ex-husband, Elvis Presley, bringing her daughter, Lisa Marie, with her. Lisa, who died last year aged 54, spoke out about being “groomed” by other members after she came into her big fat inheritance at age 25. She also claimed to “fucking hate” Tom Cruise, which probably didn’t go down well with the up-tops.

Riley Keough

Lisa Marie’s daughter Riley was another person born and raised in the church but left in 2014 following her mother’s dispute with its head, David Miscavige.

Juliette Lewis

Juliette had a dalliance with Scientology from the late 90s. She spoke about it to Vanity Fair in 2010 and proudly declared herself as one after crediting its rehab, keeping her from using drugs and alcohol. In 2015, she complained about people’s “conceptions” of her and her religion. However 2021, during the Yellowjackets press tour in 2021, she clarified that she had left Scientology.

Leah Remini

Leah has probably been the biggest thorn in the side of Scientology has ever had. After her mother, Vicki, abandoned the family’s Catholic faith, she got an eight-year-old Leah and her sister Nicole to begin their journey with the church. Upon her decision to leave, which was prompted by questions about Shelley Miscavige’s whereabouts, she has made a career of speaking out against it. Her rebellion era began with her 2016 memoir Troublemaker and the A&E docuseries Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath. In 2023, Leah sued the church, claiming they had stalked, harassed and emotionally distressed her. Scientology dubbed the claims as “lunacy”.

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Photo credit: Jerry Maguire/That 70s Show/Big Little Lies