10 Celebrities You Didn't Know Were Mormons
Mormonism, or the Church of Latter-day Saints, is a branch of Christianity that has proved incredibly popular with Americans since the movement's founding in 1830 and many notable names, even in the liberal and hedonistic world of entertainment, were raised as Mormons.
It may sound rather odd when you consider that Hollywood is a place far removed from the religious culture prevalent in most other areas of the country, but considering that many who make it in Hollywood come from far and wide, it isn't at all surprising that a plethora of high-profile artists were once Mormons. In some cases, they still practice the religion.
Here, we profile ten of them.
1. Chelsea Handler
The brazen and loud-mouthed talk show host's views on female choice and liberation have been lauded by many and made Handler the Ellen DeGeneres of nighttime television.
But for such a bold character who isn't afraid to talk about sex or anything taboo, it's surprising to know that her mother belonged to a local Mormon church while her father was a Jew. Identifying with neither faith nowadays, Handler rarely talks about her Mormon upbringing.
2. Christina Aguilera
The awe-inspiringly talented singer is one of America's finest contemporary pop stars after establishing herself as a standout talent on Disney's famed Micky Mouse club alongside the likes of Britney Spears and Justin Timberlake, and her life would never be the same after.
Raised in New York and then Pennsylvania, her parents were devout Mormons after meeting at the Mormon University BMY. However, the once squeaky clean child star transformed into a sex symbol and global pop star, and this seemingly confirmed that Aguilera had long left her Mormon days behind her.
3. Ryan Gosling
Ryan Gosling's easy going persona and leading appearances in raunchy and high-octane films like Blue Valentine and Gangster Squad wouldn't seem to suggest he was raised in a devout Mormon household, but he was, and he described it in the past as being incredibly strict.
Now identifying with no particular religion, Gosling's Mormon past was thought to play a role in him gaining a breakout role as a Jewish neo-Nazi skinhead in the film The Believer because the director thought his Mormon upbringing could help him better understand the isolation of Judasim.
4. Aaron Eckhart
The Thank You For Smoking actor once served as a Mormon Missionary in Europe for two years before deciding later down the line that the religion wasn't for him.
Speaking to Britain's Daily Telegraph, the hunk, whose parents still practice the religion, believes that while he is no longer religious, he still seeks solace in a higher being. "I can’t really say I’m a practicing Mormon now, but there are influences," he admitted. "You have it in your blood and bones. To me, spirituality transcends any sort of organization, but I believe there is a right and wrong and a higher power.’
5. Paul Walker
The late actor's pinup status as the 21st century's answer to heartthrob rebel James Dean would suggest Walker's past had little to do with religion, but that wasn't the case at all.
In fact, Walker's parents were both Mormons, but he became a non-denominational Christian in the latter stages of his short life.
6. Lucky Blue Smith
The hottest property in male modeling is cartoonishly handsome, but his impenetrable gaze and chiseled cheekbones seem to run in the family, with his cohort of prepossessing blonde sisters also models.
Yep, it's a close-knit family, and a Mormon one too. Still practicing, the Utah native has, however, spurned the opportunity of multiple wives (a common practice with Mormon husbands) and told the Daily Mail, "One's enough."
7. Stephanie Meyer
The megaselling author of the Twilight series has been very public about her Mormon faith and such unwavering devotion to the church was part of the reason why the characters in Twilight took forever to go the whole hog.
Residing in the small Arizona town of Cave Creek, some 27 miles North of Pheonix, Meyer studied English literature at the Mormon university, BMY.
8. Julianne Hough
The blonde bombshell has starred in many movies over the years, with her role alongside Josh Duhamel in Nicholas Sparks' Safe Haven arguably her most famous.
She has also appeared on Dancing with the Stars and dated American media megastar Ryan Seacrest for two years. Unbeknown to many, Hough was also raised Mormon and still practices the religion, believing the religion's values are right for her.
9. Dustin Lance Black
The openly gay screenwriter won the Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay for Milk, a film that chronicled the life of gay rights activist Harvey Milk, making Black the first openly gay man to win an Academy Award, despite Sam Smith mistakenly thinking he had.
However, though gay, he was raised Mormon.
Unsurprisingly, Dustin left the church upon realizing his religion didn't tolerate same-sex relations and is now happily married to the British diver, Tom Daley.
10. Amy Adams
The brilliant actress was raised by devout Mormon parents and took part in various strands of the religion's lifestyle until her parents divorced but admitted that her religious upbringing continues to affect her choices. "I grew up as a Mormon and that had more of an impact on my values than my beliefs," she said. "I'm afraid I'll always feel the weights of a lie."
Interestingly, Adams' Mormon mother divorced her husband so she could start a relationship with another woman.