10 Celebrities Who Quit Scientology and Why

Recently, actress Leah Remini made the brave decision to quit the Church of Scientology. Apparently, there were policies set in place to prevent anyone from questioning the leader, David Miscavige, and any of his actions (very dictatorship-y, if you ask me) and Remini realized how ridiculous that really was. And she’s not the only one. Out of the people that have supported the religion, many of them have parted ways with the church, including these well-known figures:

1) Jerry Seinfeld

Back when he was in his 20s, the sitcom star went through a Scientology phase while trying to figure out his identity. “I don’t know [why I stopped]… I was kind of flitting from thing to thing,” he said about the practice. Exploring weird subjects is practically what your 20s was made for so I can’t really say much about this decision.

2) Paul Haggis

In 2009, Mr. Harris announced his decision to resign from the Church of Scientology in a harshly worded letter, which described his history with the religion and why it eventually fizzled out:

“Despite all the church’s words about promoting freedom and human rights, its name is now in the public record alongside those who promote bigotry, intolerance, homophobia and fear… I am only ashamed I waited this many months to act.”

For this reason, and for writing some of my favorite movies like Crash, Paul, you are my hero.

3) Jeffrey Tambor

At one point in time, the star of Arrested Development also took an interest in the studies of Scientology but apparently, left his fascination in the classroom. “I took some Scientology classes at one time…but no more. I have nothing against it, but I am no longer a Scientologist.” No hard feelings, Jeffy.

4) Russell Crowe

It’s hard to “quit” something when you never technically joined it but it still seems important to mention. Russell Crowe told a co-worker that he once dabbled in Scientology, watching many videos about the religion online and reading Hubbard’s book. Ultimately, though, he abandoned the practice, but admitted the religion is “perfect for people who feel like they need grounding, who feel that the world has run off with them.”

5) Superman (well, Christopher Reeve)

I find this one kind of fitting considering Scientologist’s beliefs about “alien” spirits. Christopher Reeve, who played [the technically alien superhero] Clark Kent in the 1978 version of Superman, described a very funny encounter with Scientology recruiters: when hooked up to a lie-detector machine (“security checks” are a key aspect of Scientology), the actor described a fake Greek myth, one that went completely undetected by the device. Faulty machinery or crazy people? He concluded with the latter and decided not to join the church after all.

6) Katie Holmes

Most people saw this one coming. I mean, if your husband urged you to stay completely silent while giving birth because of his religion, I bet you’d leave too.

7) Nicole Kidman

Kidman was dumping Cruise because of Scientology before that was even a thing (Nicole Kidman: the original hipster). The British-born actress has flip-flopped on her beliefs about the religion over the years, first denouncing it, then claiming that she “utterly respect[s] their beliefs” in 2013.

8) Jason Beghe

For years, Californication actor Jason Beghe was a very powerful advocate for the religion. Then, in 2007, he publically hated on the group, saying, “I think [Scientology] stunts your evolution.” Those are some harsh words, Beghe.

9) Lisa Marie Presley

Presley wins points for the most creative religion break-up on this list. After realizing the manipulative nature of the church, the singer announced her departure through her song “You Ain’t Seen Nothin’ Yet.” Half of me thinks her interest in the first place was a delayed act of teenage rebellion, as her father, Elvis Presley, was very much against the religion. But that’s just a guess.

10) Demi Moore

Demi, who acted alongside previously mentioned Beghe in G.I. Jane, reportedly left the religion for her then-husband Bruce Willis, who didn’t want the children to be raised under those beliefs.

Religion is a tricky subject so I usually try not to take sides, and Scientology is no exception (even though I’ve kind of joked about it this entire time…sorry?). Despite the religion’s extreme beliefs, it has been said to be an effective practice for struggling drug addicts (though this claim was made by Hubbard himself and is pretty sketchy in itself). How should I know? Then again, Hubbard was rumored to have said this quote around 1948, so I don’t really know what to believe:

“If a man really wanted to make a million dollars, the best way to do it would be start his own religion.” – L. Ron Hubbard

What do you think about Leah Remini’s exit or about Scientology in general? Crazy religion? Or just misunderstood?

Image via Salon. Info via The Daily Beast.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001520894794 Julia Harris

    Nicole was born in Honolulu, Hawaii, to Australian parents. The Kidman family moved to Sydney when Nicole was three.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=789264713 Frances Locke

      Dammit, I was going to say the same thing.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=525865236 Elizabeth McGlinchey

    I was gonna say that too. She is not British born and also you misspelled Harris as Haggis. Work on your editing.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1263308207 Emily Sienicki

      Actually it IS Haggis— she just misspelled it as “Harris” right below. I’m reading a really interesting book on Scientology and all of it’s…. craziness and he’s a big part of it. :)

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000344123313 Kerri Provasnik

    Nicole Kidman British was amusing though 😉

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1360621496 Elly Westaway

    It’s a cult and Nicole Kidman is an Aussie – she’s special to us, get it right.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=507295711 Sarah Elizabeth Hartman

    Also another boo boo–the quotation marks in #1 were forgotten when the quote was continued. This is in serious need of edits…

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=542800296 Jordan Hill

    Also note, that the quote used as a reference to Nicole Kidman indicating that she “utterly respect(s) their beliefs” was taken out of context. The quote, which links to the actual article it is taken from, she is actually referencing her older children and how she respects their beliefs. Which doesn’t necessarily mean she respects the churches beliefs but those of her children’s…

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=503088873 Em Milling

    Gah! So many demands for edits! Granted, taking quotes out of context isn’t cool, but remarking on typos and mis-placed quotation marks is just nit-picky.

    If you have an issue with the content, comment on the content, not the grammar errors – don’t be that person!

    I have no commentary on the content of this article, merely the comments posted in response to it.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=35805838 Amalynne Beaver

    Miss Tyler, you have good subject matter but your execution needs work. This all seemed quite, er, slapdash. I understand that this is a dialogue, but please reserve a little more time for your research and editing. I get excited by the title and come to find a sloppily constructed article. It’s disappointing.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=635307188 Paul Wise

    Fuck everyone else. This was a saccharine article and fuck people for being unable to pull that splintery stick out of their ass. Fuck if I ever got linked by buzzfeed and I am gonna bet no one else here has either.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1572900969 Margaret Perry

    I don’t know much about Scientology but I do know that it is NOT Christian Science and everybody is always getting them mixed up. Christian Science is actually a legitimate and pretty normal Christian religion that has nothing to do with aliens and lie detectors and all that weirdness.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=629519111 Kayla Lala Heffernan

    Nicole Kidman “British born actress”?
    No, she was born in Hawaii and is AUSTRALIAN, not British.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=666167419 Jessica Broadbent

      Yeah, that stood out to me too!

      Also, point #2 is title Paul Haggis, and then references Mr Harris. I don’t know which one is correct, but it feels like one of them is wrong.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100002581598663 Hans Johan Svensson

    You are the one you are and you will learn by living and studying. You are the master of your own mind. (unless your brain finds a way to acctually crawl out of you skull)

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  • AtomicFury

    I cannot comment from first-hand experience and my opinion is drawn from all that I’ve read in articles about the Church of Scientology. I think they are quite possibly a criminal organization to a large degree who exploit people who come into the religion to find themselves.

    Don’t get me wrong, I’m not religious but I respect the practice of it in general and don’t reject any that aren’t harmful to people, nor do I sympathize with rich folks who dabble in that kind of stuff. I realize they have artificial lives that are the result of their careers in fantasy and hardly keep them grounded in anything resembling reality.

    The scientist in me doesn’t go for false notions that can be disproved. However, I am spiritual in nature without a name for what I practice nor a defined higher power. I just stay out of my own way and let nature run its course. So, I’d naturally reject any structured religion especially one which exploits its followers like Scientology does.

  • steelsil

    Scientology is an absurd scam that uses the dynamics of an exploitative cult. The leadership is more ruthless than the Mafia.

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