When we think of the celebrity world, we often conjure up images of flamboyant lifestyles, glamorous beauty, unattainable power and unimaginable quantities of money. As a result, Hollywood is sometimes referred to as a 'spiritual wasteland'.
Yet, did you know that Tinseltown is actually rife with devoted believers of a myriad of different faiths, who remain committed to their religion? Whilst many high-profile stars steer clear of the contentious topic of spirituality and prefer to keep their beliefs to themselves, others are not afraid to speak up and even use their fame to promote their faith.
Below, I have put together a list of some of the most prominent stars, who haven't been so private about their devotion.
1. Mel Gibson
Religion: Roman Catholic
Despite numerous allegations of drunk-driving, aggressive anti-Semitic outbursts and his direction of grossly violent movies, Mel Gibson is perhaps one of the most prolific Roman Catholics in Hollywood. Not only has he expressed his devotion many times during interviews, but he has also made it his mission to bring Christianity closer to Hollywood in epic blockbusters such as the Passion of the Christ and even his Apocalypto, which is seen as a Christian allegory by many.
Remind yourself of his faithwork in the Passion of the Christ trailer below:
As well as attempting to spread faith on a worldwide, Gibson is also pious on a local level. In particular, he has built a chapel in Malibu, California, where mass is performed every morning in Latin.
Religion: Jehovah's Witness
Since 2001, Prince has been a Jehovah's Witness. With a mission to spread his faith, he has claimed that he has knocked on people's doors in attempts to teach them about his religion.
However, there have been rumors that Prince has had both of his hips replaced, and as the faith does not allow blood transfusions required to facilitate such operations, some claim that he had "secret" surgery without the religious leaders' permission.
3. Richard Gere
Religion: Tibetan Buddhist
For years, Richard Gere has been a practicing Tibetan Buddhist and has even studied with the Dalai Lama himself. Speaking of his faith in an interview, he once said;
People often ask me what is it about his Holiness and ultimately the only thing that I really say is you feel safe. This is someone who wants nothing from you. Except for you to be happy. That's it. Doesn't want your money. Doesn't want your time. Wants you to be happy and knows that there is a path that if you give yourself to it with courage and commitment you will ultimately be happy.
Finding a path to happiness is an intrinsic part of our human make-up and it is wonderful that Gere has found a way that leads to that.
Alongside this, the actor is an active advocate of human rights in Tibet and because of that, he banned from China! Interestingly, he was also forbidden from ever being an Academy Award presenter again, following his previous rant denouncing the Chinese government during the ceremony.
Feast your eyes on all of his grey-haired glory in the Pretty Woman trailer:
Despite being raised as a Roman Catholic and trying out a few religions in her time, Madonna was intrigued by the mystical nature of Kabbalah in the late '90s and to this day, she is a devout follower of the faith. According to The Kabbalah Centre:
Kabbalah is an ancient wisdom that reveals how the universe and life work. On a literal level, the word Kabbalah means 'to receive.' It's the study of how to receive fulfillment in our lives.
Speaking about her religion in 2013, which is widely regarded as a sort of Jewish mysticism, she said:
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.
Naturally, being such a high-profile figure, many people were fascinated by Madonna's devotion to this lesser known faith. Many even went as far as to spread rumors that she diluted her children's juice with blessed Kabbalah water and that she only wore white clothing to attractive positive energy.
5. Denzel Washington
Religion: Pentecostal Christian
As a son of a Pentecostal preacher from New York, two-time Oscar winner Denzel Washington is still a member of the West Angeles Church of God in Christ and for over 30 years, he has stuck to his commitment of reading the Bible every morning.
In the past, he has expressed his awe at the power of religion:
I've been filled with the Holy Spirit. I know it's real. I was in the room. My cheeks blew up, I cried like a baby, and it scared me to death. It kind of scared me off it. I backed up and went the other direction, to be honest with you. I didn't know what was going on. It was too strong. It has taken me many years to come back around.
Today, Denzel continues to be very much involved in the Church and he even lent his voice to "The Bible Experience," a narrated audio Bible featuring some of the country's top stars.
As he commonly receives over $20 million per movie, he does not hold back in his generosity either and has reportedly donated over $2.5 million to his Church.
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