How often do you pray or go to church? Like most of America, religion is a massive part of your life. It may be hard for some to live without believing in a higher power, which is understandable. Some celebrities feel the same way. When we think of our favorite stars, we often associate them with the various characters they play in some of our favorite movies instead of real people with their unique thoughts, ideas, or religious beliefs. From Christians to Buddhists to everything in between, the world of celebrities represents a diverse cross-section of religious beliefs. Here are some celebs whose spiritual ties may surprise you.
Julia Roberts (Hindu)Although born a Christian, Julia Roberts converted to Hinduism in 2009. Her beliefs in Hinduism started while she was filming “Eat, Pray, Love.” In the film, Roberts starred as a woman struggling to find a spiritual balance in her life through Hinduism. Roberts continued to practice Hinduism after the film wrapped, and eventually, her husband and children also converted. Now, Roberts regularly worships at a Hindu temple along with her family. In an interview with People magazine, Roberts said she was a practicing Hindu and noted that opting for Hinduism isn’t a religious gimmick. Hinduism is one of the oldest and respected religions of civilizations.
Tim Tebow (Christian)
Tim Tebow is a devout Christian and even saved himself for marriage. He played three seasons in the National Football League for the Denver Broncos and the New York Jets. Even in college at the University of Florida, Jesus always played a big part in his life. He wore apparel with the scripture John 3:16. He became famous for a posture called “Tebowing.” However, many don’t know that he repeatedly prayed during football games. In his book, “This Is the Day,” Tebow says that leaving the NFL was a come-to- Jesus moment. He saw this moment as a turning point in his life.
Orlando Bloom (Buddhist)When he was 19, Orlando Bloom joined Soka Gakkai Buddhism. He decided to join the religion after an eye-opening trip to South Africa in the early 2000s. In an interview, he revealed that he was tired of how he had been white-knuckling his fast-paced life. He explained that he felt isolated and vulnerable at the time, and the trip gave him time to think. After the decision, Bloom made it known that he was taking a much-needed break from Hollywood. According to Bloom, religion gave him an unshakeable sense of self. He also says that Buddhism is about studying what’s going on in his daily life and using that as fuel to live a bigger life. Bloom uses Buddhism to raise the daughter he shares with Katy Perry. He says he uses Buddhist chants to soothe her.
Michael Douglas (Jewish)
Michael Douglas was born to a Jewish father and an Anglican mother. Although he wasn’t raised with a religious affiliation, in January of 2015, he stated that he identified as a Reform Jew. His son, Dylan, had a Bar Mitzvah ceremony and the Douglas family traveled to Jerusalem to celebrate the occasion. Douglas strengthened his ties to his Jewish heritage as an adult, writing a column speaking out against anti-Semitism after his son was bullied with offensive cultural slurs. Douglas even dealt with some anti-Semitism in high school. While he identified as Jewish, he never felt accepted as a Jew growing up.
Mark Wahlberg (Catholic)
When Wahlberg was younger, he got into quite a bit of trouble and got involved with drugs. He was incarcerated and tried as an adult at 16 for attempted murder. When he got his big wake-up call, it was time to find faith. Wahlberg says he started praying right away. In an interview, Wahlberg made it clear that his Irish-Catholic upbringing significantly impacted him. While he says he would never try to push Catholicism on anyone else, he doesn’t hesitate to say that it’s an essential part of his life. Wahlberg says that his faith gave him everything and helped him find purpose and discipline. It also allowed him to lead a good family life and enjoy his marriage, where he dedicated himself every day to their happiness and well-being. Wahlberg added that there’s nothing more important to him than his faith and family.
Richard Gere (Tibetan Buddhist)Richard Gere’s interest in Buddhism started in his 20’s. He read books on Tibetan Buddhism that had a massive impact on him. Gere first studied Zen Buddhism under Kyozan Joshu Sasaki. After studying Zen for about five years, he traveled to Nepal in 1978 to meet Tibetan monks and lamas. He even met the 14th Dalai Lama in India and started practicing Tibetan Buddhism, specifically the Gelugpa school. Gere isn’t shy about sharing his faith. Now, he’s a genuine spokesperson for the people of Tibet and has been practicing Buddhism ever since.
Mike Tyson (Muslim)
Mike Tyson was born a Christian, but just like his idol Muhammad Ali, he converted to Islam in the early 1990s when he was inactive in boxing. Tyson had a hard time growing up and wasn’t a practicing Christian. In 1992, he was convicted of rape and converted to Islam while serving time in prison. Tyson says he was drawn to the religion and studied Islam before he adopted it into his life. Since then, he’s been a dedicated follower of the faith. Tyson says that he’s grateful to be a Muslim and that he needs Allah; Allah doesn’t need him.
Religion is a pilar of life for many people, even celebrities. Most people see celebrities as these untouchable figures who don’t have any problems. However, they are ordinary people who also need their religion to get by and prosper at their core. Just because they’re celebrities doesn’t mean that they don’t need God or the higher power they choose to worship. Instead of assuming that they have everything figured out, we should start thinking of celebrities as people just like everyone else and empathize with them.