Current and Former Members of the Church of Scientology That Might Surprise You

By: Lauren | Published: Feb 02, 2024

For decades, people have wondered about the mysterious Church of Scientology. Some see the organization as a religious movement, others as a business, and some as a cult or even a scam.

But one thing everyone knows about the controversial church is that it has been beloved by Hollywood celebrities. So, let’s find out which of these celebrities have left Scientology and who still follows its teachings.

Understanding Scientology

Scientology is a complicated and often disputed belief system, but there are a few cold, hard facts that can help define the organization.

L. Ron Hubbard, founder of the Church of Scientology at his desk in the 1950s

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L. Ron Hubbard invented Scientology in the 1950s. Hubbard called his set of ideas Dianetics, and while it was originally a form of therapy, he eventually transitioned and began calling it a religion. Those who follow Hubbard’s teachings are audited by therapists, which they have to pay for, in order to clear their past lives. And the fact that the organization charges members to participate has made people wonder for years whether this really is a religion, a business, or worse, a cult.

John Travolta

One of the most well-known members of the Church of Scientology is actor John Travolta. Travolta has been a participant since 1975, but there were rumors in 2020 that the Grease star pulled away from the church when his wife passed away from breast cancer.

John Travolta speaks onstage during the 95th Annual Academy Awards

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According to sources, the church opposes medicinal treatments such as chemotherapy, and many believed it caused Travolta to question its teachings. But on an episode of Hart to Hart in 2021, Travolta claimed the belief system “still works for [him.]”

Danny Masterson

Danny Masterson has reportedly been an avid follower of the Church of Scientology since he was 15 years old and is still an active member today.

Actor Danny Masterson attends the premiere of "Big Bear" at The London Hotel

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Though he currently is practicing from prison as Masterson is serving 30-to-life after being found guilty of two counts of forcible rape. During the trial, his victims told the court that Masterson used his connections to Scientology to intimidate them as well as hide his crimes for years. The church claims these testimonials were “uniformly false.”

Leah Remini

Leah Remini, most famous for her role in the popular sitcom The King of Queens, was a member of the Church of Scientology for 35 years.

Leah Remini attends the 2019 Creative Arts Emmy Awards

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Today, Remini is one of the most outspoken former members of the Church of Scientology. The star wrote a memoir in 2015 entitled Troublemaker: Surviving Hollywood and Scientology and hosted a docuseries she called Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath detailing the harassment and abuse she experienced as a member.

Elisabeth Moss

Elisabeth Moss is a beloved American actress, and while many know her from her popular shows like Mad Men and The Handmaid’s Tale, not all her fans know that she’s been following the Church of Scientology since she was a child.

Elisabeth Moss is seen at "Jimmy Kimmel Live" on September 13, 2022, in Los Angeles, California

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Moss particulates in and publicly defends the organization to this day, saying, “It’s a place that is very open to, like, welcoming in somebody who wants to learn more about it. I think that’s the thing that is probably the most misunderstood.”


Jenna Elfman

Actress Jenna Elfman is another long-time follower of the church. She joined more than 30 years ago and believes that it has made her the woman she is today.

Actress Jenna Elfman arrives at the premiere of Disney's 'Alice Through The Looking Glass' at the El Capitan Theatre

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When asked about Scientology, Elfman said, “I use it every single day of my life, and it keeps me energized and vivacious and happy.”


Lisa Marie Presley

Lisa Marie Presley, who passed away in January 2023, was a singer and songwriter for most of her life, though she is probably more well-known for being the only child of Elvis and Priscilla Presley.

Musician Lisa Marie Presley poses at the Wonderwall portrait studio during the 2013 CMT Music Awards

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Lisa Marie had explained that she first became involved with the church when she was only nine years old, just after her father died. In a strange turn of events, Lisa Marie told the press that she and her mother left the Church of Scientology in 2014. But in 2017, she denied ever leaving.


Kirstie Alley

Kristie Alley succumbed to colon cancer in December 2022 and left this world behind. But during her long life, Alley was an active member of the Church of Scientology for more than four decades.

Actress Kirstie Alley attends the "Kirstie" premiere party at Harlow

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She famously said that the church helped her beat her cocaine addiction and allowed her to fulfill her lifelong dream of becoming an actress.


Katie Holmes

After meeting Tom Cruise, one of the church’s most famous members, in 2005, Katie Holmes became a follower of Scientology as well.

Actress Katie Holmes is seen arriving to Mikimoto 130th Anniversary Party at Central Park Tower

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But the actress left the church behind almost immediately after divorcing Cruise in 2012, and later claimed that she had been intimidated by the organization.


Tom Cruise

Last but certainly not least, Tom Cruise is arguably the most famous supporter of the Church of Scientology on the planet. He joined in the 1980s and is still an active member today.

Actor Tom Cruise waves to his fans upon his arrival at Gimpo International Airport

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In 2004, he received the Freedom Medal of Valor award from the church, and some say that other members see him as a “savior figure.”


Why Are Celebrities Hooked on Scientology?

The vast majority of people believe that the Church of Scientology essentially targets and persuades celebrities to join the organization through incentives in order to bring money and notoriety to their cause.

Sign for The Church of Scientology Celebrity Center in Hollywood, California

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But others argue that celebrities flock to the church because it can offer the anonymity and help that they so desperately need to live the life of fame. Either way, there’s no doubt that the controversial church has had and still has its fair share of superstar followers.