We’ve all heard of celebrities joining cults, looking for a way to find some sense of community or belonging outside the chaotic world of Hollywood. For some celebrities, stardom didn’t drive them to a cult. They grew up in one. Here are 17 celebrities who spent time in cults.
Michelle Pfeiffer says she accidentally entered a cult at age 20 when she had just moved to Los Angeles. She met a couple who introduced her to “breatharianism”— the belief that people can live on only air and sunlight.
Ryder’s family moved in with “The Rainbow Family,” a group that lives on the principles of non-violence and egalitarianism. The Ryder family lived for three years on the property, which had no electricity.
The eccentric actor known for dressing like a homeless person spent the first four years of his life in the California cult Children of God. Eventually, his parents pulled him out of the cult which faced charges of alleged kidnapping and sexually abusing young members.
Close’s family entered the Moral Re-Armament (MRA) cult when Close was 7 years old, and remained involved with the group for 15 years. During that time, Close toured with the cult’s singing group. The group is based on four principles: absolute honesty, absolute purity, absolute unselfishness and absolute love. Close left the group when she went to college.
The “Charmed” star and former girlfriend of Marilyn Manson grew up in the Children of God cult, as did Joaquin Phoenix. McGowan was raised in an Italian chapter of the group and toured several communes throughout Europe. The group encouraged members to have sex at a very young age, but McGowan’s family pulled out of the group before McGowan was subjected to those ideals.
The singer Angel Haze grew up in the community of the Greater Apostolic Faith, a Pentecostal Christian denomination that requires its members to live in the same neighborhood, only talk to members inside the community, not eat certain things, and to follow other very strict rules.
The cast member of “The Real World: D.C.” was raised in a fundamentalist Christian cult in Columbia, Missouri. Today, the reality star has quit all ideals of the cult and is openly bisexual.
Arquette was born in the Skymont Subud commune in Virginia. The commune was meant to be a social experiment and a utopia of sorts where there was no electricity, no bathrooms and no running water. The Arquette family stayed in the commune from 1971 to the late ’70s.
Musician Owens was another celebrity who grew up in the Children of God sect. Owens served as a recruiter for the group until he was 16 years old, when he fled the cult. The cult does not condone modern medicine. Owens’ brother died as a baby. The cult also has apocalyptic theories.
You’ll know her from her stage name Susan Justice. Cagle’s family was a member of the Children of God cult and traveled the world performing street music while doing missionary work for the group.
The director of “Crash” and “Million Dollar Baby” was one of the first celebrities to call Scientology out on being a cult. Haggis spent 34 years in the cult until they endorsed a law banning same sex marriage, at which point he began to question it.
Elvis’ daughter spent some time in Scientology. After leaving the church she said that the church forced her to be self-destructive and even spoke badly about them in one of her songs.
Brother of Joaquin Phoenix, River is known for acting in “Stand By Me” and “Indiana Jones.” The actor has since passed away but he was raised in the same cult, the Children of God, as his brother, along with their other siblings.
The “G.I. Jane” star was with the church of Scientology for a long time until very publicly leaving and denouncing them. Beghe claimed that the church wants those who leave it to die, and took $70,000 from him.
The star of the recently released “Boyhood” was raised in the Skymont Subud commune with his brother David and the other Arquettes. Arquette has said their father was abusive to them while in the cult and an alcoholic.
Kidman was a part of the church of Scientology during her marriage to Tom Cruise. Kidman allegedly left the church before even divorcing Cruise, in order to get their children away from the cult.
Holmes’ association with the church of Scientology is quite like Kidman’s: her ex husband Tom Cruise brought her in, and she left to get their children out of it.