10 Popular Celebs Linked to Cults
Trivia 10 Popular Celebs Linked to Cults



10 Popular Celebs Linked to Cults

VOICE OVER: Phoebe de Jeu WRITTEN BY: George Pacheco
From Jaden Smith, to R. Kelly to Rose McGowan, there are many celebrities who have ties to cult. Some were raised in cults, while others have more recent ties to these organizations. For this list, we're looking at stars who have been involved with cults, like the Children of God cult and the cult of Orgone. Join WatchMojo as we count down our picks for celebrities involved with cults. Which celebrity cult story surprised you the most? Let us know in the comments!

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Script written by George Pacheco

Top 10 Celebs Who Were Involved with Cults

Sometimes truth is stranger than fiction. Welcome to WatchMojo, and, today we're counting down our picks for the Top 10 Stars Who Were Involved with Cults.

For this list, we'll be ranking the celebrities or entertainment professionals who, at one time or another, were involved with an organization that earned a reputation as a cult. For the record, we're not passing judgment on these stars, but rather pointing out how easy it is for just about anyone to fall in with a strange crowd, or to go along with the lifestyle of one's parents or guardians. We're also going to be excluding Scientology for this list, as we've discussed this subject in our video for the Top 10 Celebrities Who Left Scientology

#10: Jaden Smith

Energy of the mind and body are at the center of the first school of thought on our list, specifically the cult of Orgone. Jaden Smith is one of a number of celebrities with an interest in this idea, which was first introduced back in the 1930s by Austrian physician Wilhelm Reich. The approach of young people like Jaden, his sister Willow and Kylie Jenner in Orgone seems to be purely focused on the vibes, energy and libido of its source material. Still, Will and Jada's little boy has also been known to wax faux-philosophical on conspiracy theories, so who knows if Orgone's more esoteric schools of thought are far behind?

#9: James Hetfield

Contrary to popular belief, not all heavy metal lyrics have roots in hellfire, brimstone or the devil. In fact, many metal bands utilize their aggressive music to touch upon serious personal issues in their life. One such musician was Metallica's James Hetfield, who channeled his youthful anger and bitterness towards his parents into lyrics for songs such as the intense "Dyers Eve." Hetfield was born to strict Christian Scientists, who believed that prayer and faith, rather than modern medicine, should be used to treat disease and illness. James' mother Cynthia died from cancer when he was still a teenager, and the memory of this loss continued to inspire the front man for years to come.

#8: Val Kilmer

Speaking of Christian Science, the next celebrity on our list is anything but bitter about his faith in this controversial religion...even to the point of challenging his own health. Val Kilmer was a superstar throughout the 1980s and '90s, a handsome and charismatic actor who delivered consistently impressive performances in such films as "Tombstone," "Heat" and "Willow." However, Kilmer's devotion to Christian Science has reportedly angered his family, who believe that a lack of proper medical treatment for a throat tumor has resulted in needless physical suffering for the one-time Bruce Wayne.

#7: The Arquette Family

"Alternative living" was all the rage back in the 1960s and '70s, the idea that a commune of like-minded people could make a go of it, constructing a small society outside the confines of the modern world. These communes usually attracted hippie-types, as well as those seeking to profit from those same hippies. Hollywood's Arquette family lived on such a commune back in the early seventies, a place called Skymont with no running water or utilities. Patricia Arquette told the Wall Street Journal that she, her parents and her four siblings all slept in the same bare cabin room, living in poverty until eventually making their way back into the city.

#6: R. Kelly

If there's any R&B performer who seems to be a magnet for controversy, it's R. Kelly. The singer- best known for songs like "I Believe I Can Fly" and the epic "Trapped In The Closet" - has raised eyebrows for the sort of behavior which allegedly goes on behind closed doors at his homes. Accusations of a "sex cult" atmosphere have been levied against Kelly, who has been described as both mentally and physically abusive. Although the women are above the legal age of consent, Kelly's demands of personal submission and control have been compared to a Stockholm Syndrome type of situation. Kelly is said to be in charge of what the women wear, when they eat and how they can communicate.

#5: Michele Pfeiffer

It's a story as old as time: a young and optimistic young star arrives in Hollywood, with all of the hopes and dreams of becoming a star. So far so good, right? But what happens when you make some poor decisions as to the sort of company you keep? Well, then you might find yourself in a situation such as the one Michelle Pfeiffer told reporters when she was promoting her 2013 film "The Family." Pfeiffer revealed that she fell in with a niche cult run by two personal trainers early on in her career. It was called "Breatharianism," and stated that food and water were unnecessary to sustain life. Riiiiight.

#4: Rose McGowan

Our next entry features the first mention of the "Children of God" cult, but it won't be the last. Rose McGowan grew up as a member of this religious cult, which first gained prominence back in the 1960s. Rose's father ran a chapter of the organization in Italy, a commune-esque existence which was noted by its acceptance of polygamy, as well as its sexual grooming of young girls for service to the men. McGowan and her father did eventually escape from the Children of God, but the organization still exists today, under the moniker of The Family International.

#3: Allison Mack

If you were looking for proof that not every cult was born from the psychedelic sixties and seventies, then look no further than our next troubling entry. Onetime "Smallville" actress Allison Mack was one of a number of performers- alongside her co-star Kristin Kreuk and Grace Park of "Battlestar Galactica" - to be connected with a disturbing cult known as NXIVM. Mack was arrested in 2018 on charges of sex trafficking for the organization, recruiting young women for the cult's founder, Keith Raniere. Mack was even accused of branding some women during "initiation ceremonies" for NXIVM, as well as blackmailing them into cooperating with the cult's wishes.

#2: Glenn Close

Glenn Close made no bones about her bitterness towards her experience as a young child living under the watch of a cult known as the MRA, or Moral Re-Armament. Glenn's father moved the family to Switzerland when the actress was seven, and they lived there in commune-like conditions for fifteen years. Close's entire life and behavior was reportedly under the scrutiny of the MRA. Yet she told the New York Times in 2017 that it was the trials of this behavior which gave her the strength and the skills to become an actress.

#1: Joaquin Phoenix

We mentioned earlier that we'd return to the Children of God cult, and so here we are, at our number one pick. Joaquin Phoenix, along with his brother River and other siblings, lived with their parents under the cult's rules for over a decade. The family traveled together with members of the cult throughout South America, and Joaquin, for his part, told Playboy Magazine that he understood his parents' desire to commune with other, like-minded people. Phoenix went on to add that he felt his life alongside his parents within the Children of God was rather "innocent," although the family would break ties with the cult and return home to the U.S. in 1978.