A “body of religious beliefs and practices” that have come under scrutiny an awful lot in the last several years, Scientology was founded by famed author L. Ron Hubbard. Since then becoming a substantial group with a large number of followers, one of the main things that was known about it in previous years is that they boasted several celebrity members. However, despite the fact that they have long bragged about certain stars and their involvement with them, there are still several people who are quite famous that people don’t realize are followers. Realizing that is what inspired us to put together this list of twenty celebrities you didn’t realize were Scientologists.
In order for particular celebs to be up for possible inclusion on this list, they first and foremost need to be a Scientologist. We don’t know any of the people listed here personally so we can’t personally attest that we’ve seen them practicing this way of life. However, based on publicly available information, they are members. Next, they need to be a known entity. It doesn’t matter what they’ve done to attain their notoriety which means you may find actors, athletes, musicians, “reality” TV stars, or anything else as long as there is a group of people that know them. Finally, we did not include people like Tom Cruise, John Travolta, or Kelly Preston on this list as they have been the celebrity face of the institution for years so their membership is widely known. It should also be noted that we can’t say for sure that everyone who reads this article will be surprised by everyone included but we believe most people will find a great number of the people listed to be unexpected.
20 Greta Van Susteren
A television news anchor that has been around the news scene for many many years now, over that time, many people have turned to Greta Van Susteren to tell them about the day’s events. Employed by entities like CNN, Fox, NBC, and MSNBC in the past, she has been associated with several massive events in the recent history of this world. In fact, during the height of the OJ Simpson murder trial coverage, she was often turned to in order to lend her legal expertise to the analysis, and that is only a small sampling of her impact. When we then learned that she is a Scientologist, it made us wonder if the masses were to learn how it may affect the way they perceive her take on things.
19 Tom Berenger
An actor that is no longer anywhere near as famous as he once was, cinephiles that know the history of film well or those around during his heyday will still know Tom Berenger. Best remembered as the morally bankrupt Staff Sergeant Bob Barnes in the movie Platoon, his take on the character felt so real and easy to hate that it has stood the test of time. Also a major part of other films like Major League, Sniper, Sliver, Chasers, and Training Day among others, he has definitely made an impact on movie history. A member of the church of Scientology for many years, evidently, he ended up walking away from them because he blamed them and the strain they placed on him for ending his second marriage.
18 Sonny Bono
Someone who met an untimely end in the late nineties, when Sonny Bono’s life was taken by a horrible accident while he was skiing many fans were very upset. At that point serving in the United States House of Representatives on behalf of California, that was a massive change in the image of a man who once was most notable for his ability to entertain. One half of the singing act Sonny & Cher alongside his wife at the time, the two not only released a number of songs but at their height also hosted The Sonny & Cher Comedy Hour on TV. Officially listing himself as a Roman Catholic on documents during his life, he was confirmed to be a Scientologist by himself and the organization despite that. However, it should be noted that his widow said that he had tried to break away from them prior to his death but they did not allow him to depart.
17 Catherine Bell
The star of a show that lasted a long time principally on the strength of its loyal fanbase that skewed to the older side, JAG, Catherine Bell quietly was a television star for many years. Since then moving on to another series called Army wives, she also starred in a TV movie called The Good Witch that since had several sequels and is now a TV show in its own right. Also a veteran of other films, she had a memorable supporting part in the film Bruce Almighty and even cameoed in its spin-off sequel film, Evan Almighty, as well. A longtime Scientologist that has boasted about reaching the level of “clear,” she has helped promote their events in the past.
16 Giovanni Ribisi
An actor whose name a lot of people won’t be able to bring to mind when they come across him but will know that they’ve seen him somewhere in the past, Giovanni Ribisi is a very talented performer. Memorable for his part in the popular sitcom Friends, he also has been a part of many great movies including Saving Private Ryan, Boiler Room, Avatar, and far too many more to list here. An outspoken supporter of Scientology in the past, if he was as famous as people like Tom Cruise or John Travolta, he would probably be more associated with the church today. After all, he even attended the opening of their so-called museum, Psychiatry: An Industry of Death, even though his daughter has said that he questions his belief in them.
15 Laura Prepon
An actor that for a very long time seemed like she would always be known for a single role of hers, Laura Prepon rose to prominence as the star of a popular sitcom. Cast as Donna Pinciotti from That ‘70s Show, the chemistry she shared with Topher Grace on screen throughout the run of the show was a major reason why the series worked. Going on to appear in a number of films that were stinkers in the aftermath of that show ending, she then had a resurgence when she became a major part of the hit series Orange is the New Black. The subject of an “insane interview in Scientology’s celebrity magazine,” the way she speaks about the religion she seems to love so much is hard to decipher for outsiders.
14 Danny Masterson
From one star of That ‘70s Show to another, this time around, we are looking at Danny Masterson who was tapped to play the rebel without a cause, Steven Hyde. Since then appearing in a slew of films and a handful of shows, lately, his career had an upswing after he landed a role in the Netflix series The Ranch but things aren’t all rosy for him. Accused of forcing himself on multiple women, stunningly, as of the time of this writing, he has managed to keep his job despite so many others in his position being quickly let go for good reason. If you ask several former Scientologists and at least one of his accusers, their lack of action when it comes to him and the fact that he hasn’t been charged with any crime is due to his religion. In fact, Leah Remini has publicly claimed that the powers that be in the church have protected him with the help of the LAPD.
13 Erika Christensen
An actor that took her industry by storm when her knockout performance in the movie Traffic began making the rounds, Erika Christensen’s work as an addict in that movie was absolutely stunning. Going on to be a Hollywood “it girl” for a short period of time, she starred in other films like Swimfan, The Perfect Score, Flightplan, and several others. While that era of her career sadly came to an end, she rebounded when she earned one of the major roles in the drama series Parenthood which kept her on people’s televisions for five years. Passionate enough about Scientology that she gave an interview in 2013 where she tried her best to defend her beliefs against the criticisms often thrown at them, she did as well in that regard as anyone.
12 Brandy Norwood
An extremely talented performer who has found success in a number of areas of the entertainment world, Brandy Norwood seemed to be good at everything she tried. An actor that was a part of the horror film I Still Know What You Did Last Summer, she was also the star of the TV shows Thea, Moesha, and Zoe Ever After. That was far from her greatest claim to fame, however, as she was a popular singer of songs including “The Boy is Mine” which also featured the voice of Monica, as well as “Baby” and “I Wanna Be Down.” Someone who was involved in a horrific incident where her car struck another and the driver of the other vehicle was killed, she was sued as a result, and she struggled with that and her guilt. Stating that she turned to some of the teachings of Scientology during this trying time, it is unclear if she was ever a full-fledged member but we think she still qualifies for this list.
11 Jeffrey Tambor
An actor that has been a part of many productions that mean a whole lot to people, Jeffrey Tambor has been around for many years but first made a real mark with his part in The Larry Sanders Show. Going on to absolutely kill it when he played the Bluth family patriarch in Arrested Development, he also had a recurring part in the show Archer and won awards for his work in the series Transparent. Another actor on this list that has been accused of inappropriate behavior towards women, he will not be returning to the last show on that list because of that fact. Revealed to have been involved with Scientology back in 2007, the following year, he spoke out and revealed “I am no longer a Scientologist” which makes it clear that he used to be one.
10 Ethan Suplee
A character actor who has been so good at playing various characters and imbuing them with a lovable energy that he has managed to become famous, Ethan Suplee has many loyal fans. Also a fearless actor who has been willing to play problematic characters like he did when he was cast in the film American History X, the man is a very talented actor. A part of several other films, he made his big-screen debut in Kevin Smith’s Mallrats and would go on to appear in Chasing Amy, Dogma, Clerks II, and several other memorable movies. A follower of the beliefs of Scientology for many years at this point, we have to admit that his slacker persona isn’t one that we never thought would be connected to that lifestyle.
9 Kirstie Alley
Tasked with taking on a very unenviable task, Kirstie Alley joined the cast of the incredibly popular sitcom Cheers when one of its beloved stars decided to leave the series. Cast as Rebecca Howe, the fact that her character was also written to flirt with the series lead, Sam Malone, just like her predecessor had made winning over fans even harder but she pulled it off. Subsequently moving on to a movie career that included the Look Who’s Talking franchise, she was also a part of other shows over the years including Veronica’s Closet, Kirstie, and Scream Queens. Someone who has been a Scientologist since 1979, she has donated great sums of money to the organization and called former member and pal Leah Remini “a repulsive bigot” after she left the fold.
8 Michael Peña
Someone who seems like he becomes a bigger and bigger star with each passing year, Michael Peña has yet to lead a blockbuster film but he continues to pop up in enjoyable movies all the time. As a result, his career continues and the amount of awesome characters he plays builds up so the chances that he has played someone each of us cares about keeps getting better. Memorable in movies like End of Watch, American Hustle, Fury, The Martian, Shooter, and Ant-Man among others, that last movie also made him a part of the biggest movie franchise of all time—the MCU. Another member of this religion that doesn’t hide that, he once claimed in an interview that Scientology made him a better actor but that didn’t get many headlines so many are unaware of his beliefs.
7 Nancy Cartwright
One of the most important shows in the history of television, when The Simpsons began airing, there was no way to know the impact it would have or that it would last for twenty-nine seasons, so far. One of the main people that help the show work through the use of their voice, Nancy Cartwright is best known for being the person that brings the character of Bart Simpson to life. Of course, when it comes to this show, most actors are expected to do more so she is also behind other characters like Maggie, (in some cases) Nelson, Ralph, Todd, and others. Joining the church of Scientology in 1991, she has shown no shame about that as evidenced by the fact that she once recorded something in the Bart Simpson voice for them.
6 Juliette Lewis
An extremely talented woman that we wish received coveted roles these days, at one time, Juliette Lewis seemed like she was on the shortlist for any role that required a fantastic female actor. Simply amazing in movies like Cape Fear, What's Eating Gilbert Grape, Natural Born Killers, Strange Days, and others, we find it shocking to see that the meaty roles she once enjoyed are gone. However, it seems like she may not be bothered by that since she has wholeheartedly thrown herself into a new career as a singer, both as a part of Juliette and the Licks and as a solo artist. Someone who seems like she wouldn’t join any strict group based on the personality she shows the world, that makes her being a Scientologist that has come to the defense of Tom Cruise surprising.
5 Jason Lee
A person that has always been very entertaining to watch go off, Jason Lee is a study in extremes since he looks like he should be laid-back but can perform outraged diatribes better than almost anyone. A former pro skateboarder who became a big actor after landing one of the main roles in the Kevin Smith film Mallrats, he would work with him several times over the following years as well. Also known for a slew of other major movies, his unique energy was integral to the success of flicks like Almost Famous, Vanilla Sky, and The Incredibles among others. He was so devoted to Scientology that his ex-wife claimed that he sent her a “disconnection letter” after she read a book that was critical of it, in light of that, it is a surprise that he left the group himself in 2016.
4 Jerry Seinfeld
Without a doubt one of the most famous comedians of all time, Jerry Seinfeld has built a reputation for being one of the funniest people on the planet. The star of Seinfeld, which is one of the most acclaimed and respected sitcoms in the history of television, that show has his voice all over it as he also wrote many episodes and co-created the show. Opting to end that series at the height of its popularity, ever since, his obsession has been the crafting of jokes and the absurdity of life which can be seen on his new show, Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee. Someone who most people have never associated with Scientology, he said in an interview that he studied their teachings many years in the past; “in my early years of stand-up” and “it was very helpful.” He also referred to their ideas being technology-based so it seems clear that he didn’t consider their ideas from afar.
3 Jenna Elfman
An instance in which an actor was so good at playing a role that it seems like many people have seen her as that part ever since, Jenna Elfman is her own person but we always think of her as the hippie type. That is because her greatest claim to fame is that she played one of the main characters in the show Dharma & Greg where she was cast as a free spirit that married a straight-laced lawyer. Yet to find another gig that has eclipsed that one, as of yet, she was a part of a few well-received movies like EDtv, Can’t Hardly Wait, and Grosse Pointe Blank in the past. Someone who is listed on a Scientology website as a member of “the board of advisers from the arts, entertainment, and media community,” she has also given speeches for the religion and hosted events.
One of the most original performers in the music world over the last several decades, Beck has seen his popularity ebb and flow but he has always remained an artist that is always true to himself. Someone who rose to notoriety during the nineties, he fit into the alternative music scene but mainly because there was no other subset that accurately applied to him. Best known for songs like “Loser,” “Lost Cause,” “Devil’s Haircut,” and “Everybody’s Got to Learn Sometime,” his music style could vary greatly but the quality was always there. Born into Scientology since both of his parents were members of the group, Beck doesn’t talk about it very often, but when pressed, he has said, “It’s just something that I’ve been around.”
1 Elisabeth Moss
When putting together this list, there really wasn’t any celebrity whose involvement in Scientology shocked us nearly as much as Elisabeth Moss did. First earning a name for herself with her powerful work in the show Mad Men, her ability to bring so much strength to a woman that went through so much and came out the other side was impressive. Then moving on to the underseen series Top of the Lake, she also blew us away with what she was able to do with her leading role in the show The Handmaid’s Tale. An outspoken feminist that seems to be fierce in her beliefs, we were very surprised that her membership in the church of Scientology has largely flown under the radar.