Celebrity Scientologists and Stars Who Have Left the Church
Through the years, the Church of Scientology has recruited countless celebrities to become members. In the 1950s, founder L. Ron Hubbard created what became known as “Project Celebrity,” a written program that offers rewards to Scientologists who bring in some of the biggest names in Hollywood.
The controversial religion also operates Celebrity Centres, which are special churches that are open to members of the public but mostly cater to “artists, politicians, leaders of industry, sports figures and anyone with the power and vision to create a better world,” according to the church’s website.
Tom Cruise is one of the Church of Scientology’s most well-known members and outspoken advocates. He became involved with the movement — which was formed in 1953 and is headquartered in Riverside County, California — through his first wife, Mimi Rogers. After the couple divorced in 1990, Cruise walked down the aisle twice more, with Nicole Kidman in 1990 and Katie Holmes in 2006. The actor’s affiliation with the church reportedly led to the end of both unions in 2001 and 2012, respectively.
Leah Remini was another A-list Scientologist, joining at the age of 9 with her family. She left the organization in 2013 and subsequently launched a campaign to expose its alleged wrongdoings. Remini published a memoir titled Troublemaker: Surviving Hollywood and Scientology in 2015, in which she was highly critical of the church’s practices. The King of Queens alum went on to host and executive produce an A&E series, Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath, which won an Emmy Award in 2017.
The Church of Scientology has long denied allegations of any wrongdoing under its roof, most recently in June 2019 when an anonymous woman filed a lawsuit for kidnapping, stalking, human trafficking, false imprisonment, libel, slander, invasion of privacy and intentional infliction of emotional distress. In response to Jane Doe’s claim that the church “is nothing more than a cult built on mind control,” Scientology’s lawyers told Us Weekly, “The church will vigorously defend itself against these unfounded allegations.”
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