People join cults for all different sorts of reasons. And while many of these groups are viewed as controversial, outliers, and even dangerous, they all have one thing in common: they appear to bring a sense of community to their group. This is a list of celebrities who were raised in cults. For a list specifically about the Church of Scientology, check out this list of celebrities who were raised Scientologists.
Who is the most famous person who was raised in a cult? Joaquin Phoenix tops this list. The Her actor was raised in the Children of God group until he was two years old. His family adopted the surname "Phoenix" after leaving the cult. His older brother, Stand By Me actor River Phoenix was also raised in the Children of God. What other famous families have joined cults? Read through the list below to find out.
Other celebs whose parents were cult members include Emily Schromm and Glenn Close.
What do you think about cults? Do you think being raised in cults affected certain movie stars or your favorite actors? Would you ever consider joining one of the many real popular or religious cults? Share your thoughts in the comments section.
Joaquin Phoenix was raised in the California-based hippie religious group Children of God until he was four years old. After leaving the cult, his parents - whose surname was Bottom - adopted the last name "Phoenix" to symbolize a new beginning for the family. Shortly after his parents left the group, allegations arose of young members being kidnapped and sexually abused.
Birthplace: Río Piedras, Puerto Rico, Puerto Rico
Profession: Television producer, Musician, Film Producer, Actor Music video director, + more
Credits: Gladiator, Walk the Line, The Master, Her
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Glenn Close's parents joined the Moral Re-Armament (MRA) cult, an extreme conservative group, when she was seven years old. Her family remained involved in the group for 15 years, living in several communal centers. Practices and beliefs were based around four absolutes: absolute honesty, absolute purity, absolute unselfishness, and absolute love. Close went to boarding school, but also toured the world with the MRA singing group, Up The People, until she was in college. She now claims that being in the cult actually helped her with her acting career, as she always had to pretend she believed what the group told her.
Birthplace: Greenwich, Connecticut, United States of America
Profession: Film Producer, Actor, Voice acting
Credits: Dangerous Liaisons, Mars Attacks, Tarzan, Guardians of the Galaxy
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When she was seven, actress Winona Ryder and her family moved to the Rainbow commune in California. They lived there for three years with seven other families and had no electricity on the 300-acre property.
Birthplace: Minnesota, United States of America
Profession: Actor, Voice acting
Credits: Edward Scissorhands, Black Swan, Girl, Interrupted Dracula
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David Arquette was born in the Skymont Subud commune in Virginia, and he lived there along with the rest of his family and his parents' friends until the late '70s. The nonsectarian spiritual "social experiment" was meant to be a utopia, but there were no bathrooms, no electricity, and no running water.
Birthplace: Virginia, United States of America
Profession: Fashion designer, Television director, Wrestler, Television producer Film Producer, + more
Credits: Never Been Kissed, Eight Legged Freaks, Jake and the Never Land Pirates, Scream
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When Michelle Pfeiffer first moved to Los Angeles at 20 years old, she become involved with a couple who believed in breatharianism - the ability to live without food or water, as sunlight will provide all the nourishment you need. The couple worked with others, putting them on diets and showing them how to lift weights. Only people who had reach the highest state of "enlightenment" were true breatharians.
Pfeiffer realized she was in a cult when she was introduced to her first husband, Peter Horton. He was preparing for a role in a movie about the Moonies, the followers of Rev Moon's Sun Myung's Unification Church. As Pfeiffer was helping him research the role, it dawned on her that she was in a cult.
Birthplace: Santa Ana, California, United States of America
Credits: Scarface, Batman Returns, Dark Shadows, What Lies Beneath
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Born in Florence, actress Rose McGowan grew up in the Children of God cult her father ran an Italian chapter of the cult. As a child, she traveled to several other communes in Europe. The group encouraged members to have sex at a young age, but McGowan and her family escaped before she had to engage in any sexual activity.
Birthplace: Florence, Italy
Profession: Actor, Singer
Credits: Charmed, Planet Terror, Death Proof, Grindhousesee more on Rose McGowan
River Phoenix was brought up in the Children of God group until he was eight years old. He and his sister, Rain, busked on the street in order to get food for their family. They lived in poverty while they were involved with the cult, receiving no financial support from its rich leader.
Age: Died at 23 (1970-1993)
Birthplace: Madras, Oregon, United States of America
Profession: Activist, Guitarist, Environmentalist, Musician Singer-songwriter, + more
Credits: Stand by Me, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, My Own Private Idaho, The Mosquito Coast
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Actor Patricia Arquette was raised in Skymont Subud commune along with the rest of her family and her parents' friends. The community had no bathrooms, electricity, or running water. Her father, Lewis, was also a drug addict and abusive toward the family's five children.
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Birthplace: Chicago, Illinois, United States of America
Profession: Television director, Actor
Credits: Boyhood, Medium, True Romance, Lost Highway
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