While religion is the guiding force in many people's lives, celebrities often live work-hard-play-hard lives that don't seem to lend themselves to devoutness. So it's weirdly fascinating (and perhaps a bit surprising) when Selena Gomez is spotted leaving a church service or Chris Pratt erects a gigantic cross on Easter. But, stars, they really are just like us. Here, the ultimate roundup of the spiritual learnings of some of your favorite stars.
Selena Gomez was raised Catholic by her parents (she even recalls having a purity ring as a 13-year-old) and the singer-slash-actress is still a practicing Christian, though now of the Pentecostal persuasion. Gomez attends the celebrity-favorite Hillsong Church and has been spotted at New York and Los Angeles services with ex-boyfriend Justin Bieber. "You are enough because you are a child of God who has been pursued from the very beginning,” the 26-year-old said in an open letter to herself at a Hillsong conference last year.
While most celebrities associated with the Church of Scientology joined the controversial religion after their fame, Elisabeth Moss is an exception. Although the actress rarely speaks about it—scientologists are discouraged from speaking openly about their religion (see: Leah Remini)—Moss grew up in the Church and is still a member today. Since playing Offred on Hulu’s The Handmaid’s Tale, Moss has been criticized by fans claiming Margaret Atwood’s Gilead is comparable to the world of scientology.
During a Q&A with Jezebel, Mindy Kaling explained to fans that she comes from a not-so-traditional Hindu upbringing. “My dad is Tamil, born and raised in Madras, and my mother is Bengali, and was raised mostly in Mumbai,” she said. “I was not raised speaking an Indian dialect. My parents adopted a kind of Boston-by-way-of-India-by-way-of-Nigeria culture with some Indian flourishes.” All in all, Kaling does consider herself a Hindu (and wrote the "Diwali" episode on The Office season three).
Jennifer Garner grew up going to church every Sunday in Texas, but when the actress moved to L.A., she took a pause. After starring in Miracles from Heaven (2016), Garner was inspired to resume regular services at her local Methodist Church with her children. “There was something about doing this film and talking to my kids about it and realizing that they were looking for the structure of church every Sunday,” she told Good Morning Texas.
In a 2017 interview with Vanity Fair, Pratt revealed his unexpected path to Christianity as a teenager. “I was sitting outside a grocery store—we’d convinced someone to go in and buy us beer. This is Maui. And a guy named Henry came up and recognized something in me that needed to be saved,” he explained. “Over the next few days I surprised my friends by declaring that I was going to change my life.” Today, Pratt is an openly devout and practicing Christian—it’s even rumored that Pratt’s strong religious views were a contributing factor to his split from wife Anna Faris last year.
Natalie Portman was born Natalie Hershlag in Israel in 1981 (Portman is her grandmother’s maiden name). The actress has dual Israeli and American citizenship, and is a practicing Jew to this day. In 2018, Portman was honored with The Genesis Prize (also known as “the Jewish Nobel”), which celebrates “extraordinary individuals who serve as an inspiration to the next generation of Jews."
Religion: Judaism with a side of Christianity
The actress was raised in a mixed household of Christianity and Judaism, with her mother taking her to synagogue on Saturdays and her father to church on Sundays. Goodwin was both baptized and had a bat mitzvah. In 2013, the actress stated that she "up and left Judaism for a very long time," and that for 10 years, "there was nothing. No ritual. No tradition. No community." She reaffirmed her Jewish background by stating, "I was a Jew by birth, and now I'm a Jew by choice.
The daughter of Christian parents, Julia Roberts has found her own faith in Hinduism. Roberts—along with her husband Danny Moder and their three children—go to temple to "chant and pray and celebrate," the actress told Elle in 2010. "I’m definitely a practicing Hindu," she added.
Monroe grew up an evangelical Christian, but converted to Judaism when she married playwright Arthur Miller. "She indicated that she was attracted to Judaism by being impressed with Jewish people that she knew, especially Mr. Miller...she was impressed by the rationalism of Judaism—its ethical and prophetic ideals and its concept of close family life," the rabbi who facilitated her conversion stated in a letter.
Religion: Jehovah's Witness
The Latina icon and late singer was raised Jehovah's Witness by her parents Marcella and Abraham. Despite her tragic death in 1995, her father has said their family doesn't participate in celebrations honoring his daughter. "As Jehovah's Witnesses, we don't celebrate deaths or birthdays, and we don't want people to think we're behind all the festivities," he said on the 20th anniversary of Quintanilla's passing in 2015.
The recording artist and actor was introduced to Islam when he was 13 by his father, who was a Sunni muslim. At 19, he took his shahada, the muslim declaration of faith. "You're not gonna get through life without being worshipful or devoted to something," he said."You're either devoted to your job, or to your desires. So the best way to spend your life is to try to be devoted to prayer, to Allah."
Like Gomez, Hailey Baldwin is among the vast celebrity set of Hillsong Church. The model is outspoken about her faith, and has said that she prefers to surround herself with people who share her Christian values (including her fiancé, Justin Bieber). “Now in my 20s, I try to surround myself with people who believe the same thing I do–who follow and are open to it–because it’s too hard to constantly get people to understand what I do if they just aren’t interested in it,” she said last year.
Religion: Hinduism (Hare Krishna)
The British-born comedian and actor considers himself "spiritual," and practices Hindu, often attending Hare Krishna services. "I choose to believe in God because I think what that is, is the recognition that there is divine beauty in all of us, and if we prioritize that over our own selfish material needs we will naturally create a culture more in harmony with our planet and we'll have a chance," the actor said in 2014.
Pink was raised in Pennsylvania by a Catholic father and a Jewish mother, and has said on record that she is, indeed, Jewish. Following the 2017 events in Charlottesville, the singer took to Instagram to share her peace. "It's incredible to watch neo-nazis march in 2017, while I, a Jewish woman, headline a show in Berlin where these tunnels were built by him, built curvy so he couldn't be shot in the back," she wrote.
The Kardashian-Jenner family stays relatively quiet about their religious views, but the matriarch of the family is said to have raised her children to be devout Christians. "We don't share it much, but we're really religious,” Kim Kardashian told Vogue. “We start our day with a group chat with a Bible verse from my mom, and everyone chimes in on the meaning of it.”
Religion: Full Circle
First described as a "new religion," Keegan has identified his spiritual group Full Circle (yes, he founded his very own in 2014) as non-denominational. "We’re a non-profit, non-denominational spiritual community center where people of all beliefs and backgrounds come together to meditate, practice yoga, and engage artistically," the actor said. "We have a weekly yoga and meditation program and also host a variety of high vibe, spiritually-centered events."
Laura Prepon is a Scientologist, and credits the religion with helping her in life. "Honestly, I've become more me," the actress said of joining the Church. "In my life, things have become much easier, I'm not affected like I used to be. Things don’t bother me that had before. I don’t react like I did before."
Although raised in the Church of England, Bloom became a Buddhist in 2004. He is now a full member of SGI-UK, the UK branch of Soka Gakkai International, a Buddhist association affiliated with the teachings of a Japanese Buddhist priest from the 13th century.
The rapper converted to Islam in the 1990s, and describes himself as a "mellow" Muslim. "I mean, what I call myself is a natural Muslim, 'cause it's just me and God. You know, going to the mosque, the ritual and the tradition, it's just not in me to do. So I don't do it," he told The Guardian in 2000.
Raised as a Methodist, Gere began exploring Buddhism in his 20s, first studying Zen Buddhism for six years before switching to Tibetan Buddhism and meeting the Dalai Lama.
Erika Christensen was raised by her parents as a Scientologist, after they themselves became Scientologists in their 20s. "If I had to sum it up, the goal of Scientology is giving the person back to themselves," she said in 2013.
Many know that Katy Perry grew up in a conservative household, but many don't know that she even sang for a Christian record label under her real name, Katy Hudson. She later told Marie Claire in an interview that she had come out from her traditional Christian beliefs: "I don't believe in a heaven or a hell or an old man sitting on a throne. I believe in a higher power bigger than me because that keeps me accountable."
I'm Sam, the senior editor at MarieClaire.com. I love shining a light on awesome people doing things that matter, cool products and hacks for everyday life, and advice you'll actually use. I'm pretty much always looking for the perfect GIF for any situation. When I'm not trolling the internet, I can be found dancing like a weirdo or napping like it's my job. Right now, I'm probably eating or drinking something filled with sugar or booze. (Sorry, mom.)
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