Ten Hollywood Celebrities Who Have Spoken Out About Their Religion

Natalie Portman, Tom Cruise Split - H 2015
AP Images

Natalie Portman, Tom Cruise Split - H 2015

"We’re not all crazy right-wingers."

Actress Mayim Bialik recently talked about being religious in Hollywood.

"I think in general it's never going to be trendy to be observant or religious in Hollywood circles," the actress, who is Jewish, told Fox News in an interview published on Aug. 21.  

There are many celebrities in Hollywood who have spoken about their faith. Some are very public about their belief system, while others are much more private. A few have expressed opinions similar to Bialik, and have only revealed a glimpse into their personal beliefs.

Here's a look at people like Natalie Portman, Tom Cruise, Denzel WashingtonKristin Chenoweth, Orlando Bloom and more, who have shared stories or insights into their religion.

10. Orlando Bloom

Bloom talked about being a Buddhist in a 2007 interview with Details magazine. "The philosophy that I've embraced isn't about sitting under a tree and studying my navel, it's about studying what is going on in my daily life and using that as fuel to go and live a bigger life," said Bloom.

"When your girlfriend dumps you, when the bill comes through the door, and your mom calls you and tells you she can't handle the stuff in her life — that's hell, but that's just one world. If you are aware of what is going on, then you can grow and use that hunger, that fear."

9. Martin Sheen

"I am a practicing Catholic," said Sheen in an interview with Salon. "I love the faith. I’m not nuts about the institution, but the faith is mine, everywhere I go in the world. The belief that God became human — that’s genius, man. And that God would choose to dwell where we would least likely look, inside ourselves and each other. The genius of God in our humanity, I love that. Every culture has that — the Hindus, Muslims, all of them have it. That’s the fundamental belief in all true believers, that God is present, God suffers and is broken with us."

8. Denzel Washington

"I read from the Bible every day, and I read my Daily Word," Washington told GQ in 2012. "I read something great yesterday. It said, 'Don't aspire to make a living. Aspire to make a difference.'" 

The actor, who is the son of a preacher, donated $2.5 million to the Pentecostal West Angeles Church of God in Christ in 1995.

7. Dave Chappelle

In 2005, Chappelle spoke to Time magazine about his conversion to Islam. "I don't normally talk about my religion publicly because I don't want people to associate me and my flaws with this beautiful thing. And I believe it is a beautiful religion if you learn it the right way," he said. "It's a lifelong effort. Your religion is your standard. Coming here I don't have the distractions of fame. It quiets the ego down. I'm interested in the kind of person I've got to become. I want to be well-rounded and the industry is a place of extremes. I want to be well-balanced. I've got to check my intentions, man."

6. Madonna

"When the world discovered I was studying Kabbalah, I was accused of joining a cult," Madonna said in an interview with Harpers Bazaar where she talked about her spiritual life. "I was accused of being brainwashed. Of giving away all my money. I was accused of all sorts of crazy things." She added, "Now, you would think that studying the mystical interpretation of the Old Testament and trying to understand the secrets of the universe was a harmless thing to do. I wasn't hurting anybody. Just going to class, taking notes in my spiral notebook, contemplating my future. I was actually trying to become a better person."

She said, "I am building schools for girls in Islamic countries and studying the Qur'an. I think it is important to study all the holy books. As my friend Yaman always tells me, a good Muslim is a good Jew, and a good Jew is a good Christian, and so forth. I couldn't agree more."

5. Candace Cameron

Both Candace and her brother Kirk have not been shy about expressing their beliefs. "God's my best friend," Candace told Beliefnet. "It's a daily relationship with Him, so it's talking to Him every day and just feeling where He leads me and reading in His Word. It's brand new thoughts and prayers every day. Just to be in His will, to be doing what He wants me to do, and just to be the best representation of Him that I can be."

4. Mark Wahlberg

Irish Catholic Wahlberg talked to Parade magazine about faith. "It’s the most important part of my life. I don’t try to push it on anybody and I don’t try to hide it." He told Piers Morgan, “I definitely go to church every day,” he said. “That’s how I start my day. I like to get in there for about 15 or 20 minutes — say my prayers.”

3. Natalie Portman

“The older I get, the more I realize how different it is to be a Jew in a Jewish place as opposed to a Jew in a non-Jewish place,” she said in an interview with The Telegraph. “It’s definitely a different feeling in terms of how freely you can be yourself and celebrate your culture and religion."

She added, "It’s very different being in Israel than in cities that don’t have big Jewish populations, where it can sometimes feel dangerous to be Jewish, and you understand why there is a need for a place where you don’t feel that way. I feel it in lots of places. Pretty much everywhere."

2. Tom Cruise

Cruise got into a heated discussion about Scientology in a now famous interview with Matt Lauer. "Scientology is something that you don't understand," he told Lauer, who had asked Cruise if he could ever be with someone who wasn't a Scientologist.  "It's like, you could be a Christian and be a Scientologist, OK." He added, "It is a religion. Because it's dealing with the spirit. You as a spiritual being. It gives you tools you can use to apply to your life."

When asked how people can learn more about Scientology, Cruise said, "You just communicate about it. And the important thing is, like you and I talk about it, whether it's OK, if I want to know something, I go and find out."

1. Kristin Chenoweth

"I’m an actress and a singer and I’m also a Christian. We’re not all crazy right-wingers," Chenoweth , who was raised Baptist, told the National Catholic Reporter. "I just want to be like Jesus, forgiving and loving and nonjudgmental, accepting of everyone even if they don’t agree."