Celebrities have changes of heart and they also choose to change their religions. Some do it for love and others for salvation, while the remaining few find a special place in a religion that always respected. Here’s the list of the most famous celebrities who converted to another religion.
Christianity To Islam Mike Tyson made the switch from Christianity to Islam during his prison stint in 1944. He converted in an attempt to redeem himself and transform his moral compass, but the boxing champion continues to lead a life corruption and is notorious for getting into trouble with the law. In 2010, Tyson visited the holy land of Mecca and stated, “I just left the Holy City of Mecca where I was blessed to have been able to make Umrah.” Whether or not his pilgrimage has changed his life for the better remains up for question.
Sharon Stone was a member of the Church of the Scientology before defecting and turning to Buddhism. She was introduced to spiritual religion by good friend and former co-star Richard Gere, then decided Tibetan Buddhism was her calling. She’s embraced her faith and isn’t shy about sharing her new-found philosophy; “I’m religious. Probably, to a lot of people’s thought, I’m extremely religious. My practice is Buddhism, but I believe in God. I’ve really given up my life to God and I know that’s why I’m ok and at peace.”
Hold on to your seats, folks. Charlie is taking us for another ride! The troubled actor seemed to have reformed his ways by converting from Catholicism to Born-Again Christianity back in 1995, but that didn’t last very long. The actor continued to struggle with drug addiction and overdosed in 1998. Since then, he’s fallen on and off the wagon way too many times to count and his relentless womanizing and wild antics have left the world just as confused as ever.
Michael Jackson was raised as a Jehovah’s Witness and lived as one until the year before his death. In 2008, Michael took the Islamic oath hoping to achieve a sense of salvation after experiencing the worst period of his life. His brother Jermaine converted to Islam in 1989 and tried to convince his brother to do the same for years, adamant about the life-changing effects the religion has on those who embrace it. Michael took the name Mikaeel and transformed his inner-belief structure that would follow him until his death shortly later.
Isla Fisher met the love of her life, Sacha Baron Cohen, in 2002 and dedicated almost 3 years of her life converting to Judaism. She was raised Methodist but decided to convert to be with Sacha, an orthodox Jew. The couple wed in a private Jewish ceremony in 2010 with 6 guests present and they now have two daughters together. Isla told Hello Magazine in 2012, “I would do anything – move into any religion – to be united in marriage with him. We have a future together, and religion comes second to love as far as we are concerned.”
Richard Gere withstood a highly publicized conversion to Buddhism in the late 70’s. He’s a practicing and accomplished Buddhist who has met the 14th Dali Lama, traveled Nepal with Tibetan Munks, and studied Zen Buddhism for 6 years. Raised as a Methodist, he converted sometime during his 20’s and hasn’t looked back since. He’s an avid supporter of the Gelugpa school of Tibetan Buddhism.
Nargis Dutt is an Indian film actress and is revered as a Hindi screen icon. She was raised in the Islamic religion but converted to Hinduism after her marriage to Sunil Dutt in 1958. Nargis converted for love and took the Hindi name Nirmala. Their marriage is the eternal love story of India that surprised Bollywood with their romance, as they came from different backgrounds and worlds of culture.
Bob Marley wasn’t just a Rastafarian, he was the King of the Rastafarians. What most people don’t know about the buffalo soldier is that he converted to Christianity on his death bed, for reasons we’re too respectful to assume… at least, out loud. He underwent an Orthodox baptism before he died and called for the Lord just before he passed. A witness said, “When Bob was on his dying bed, his wife Rita called me on the phone and said to me that Bob was in such excruciating pain and he stretched out his hand and said, ‘Jesus take me.'”
Ike Turner always had a penchant for making the most striking headlines, no pun intended, and didn’t fail to shock the world with his conversion to Judaism. Ike was raised by a Baptist minister, so as you could imagine, this leap of faith is the kind that could have surprised his family members. He became an official member of the tribe in the early 2000’s and practiced seriously until he died in 2007.
Julia Roberts experienced a real-life epiphany while filming the movie Eat, Pray, Love. The Hollywood icon converted to Hinduism in 2010 after being raised in a mixed household – her mother was Catholic and her father was Baptist. Roberts claims that she made the change because she respects civilization’s oldest religions and appreciates the aspect of peace and tranquility. She’s openly stated, “Ever since I developed my liking and fondness for Hinduism, I have been attracted and deeply fascinated by many facets of the multi-dimensional Hinduism. Spirituality in it transcends many barriers of mere religion.”
Marilyn Monroe was brought up as a Christian Scientist and converted to Judaism after she married playwright Arthur Miller in 1956. In true Marilyn fashion, she was presented with a musical menorah that played HaTikvah and insisted on having a Rabbi ordain her marriage to Arthur. Monroe perceived Judaism’s strength in the will to cherish family and had a strong desire to take the faith seriously even after her divorce.
Bettie Page: Born Again Christian
Famous pin-up model and all around bombshell, Bette Page, converted to Born-Again Christianity in 1959. Her new-found faith encouraged her to leave the modeling industry and pursue a more modest and conventional lifestyle. She became increasingly dedicated to her bible studies and worked as a counselor for the Billy Graham Crusade.
Snoop Dogg made the jump from Baptism to the Nation of Islam in 2009. NOI is inherently different from mainstream Islam, in that it supports a black separatist movement that promotes peace while still maintaining a strong, religious identity. Snoop converted in order to “represent what’s right” and continue to lead the black community, as he claims to have done so for years through the world of hip hop. The gangster rapper remains fairly silent on his religious beliefs, but has definitely moved on from his Baptist upbringing.
Orlando Bloom converted to Buddhism from Anglicanism in 2004 after an inner-awakening. The Lord of the Rings actor told Independent Film Quarterly, “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.” We have a feeling Orlando wasn’t embracing his inner-Buddha the night he hurdled over a sofa to punch Justin Bieber square in the jaw. Either way, his claim to calm is somewhat inspiring.
Former Beatles guitarist, George Harrison, converted to Hinduism as an adult during a spiritual trip to India. Harrison told Oxfordshire in 1982, “I always felt at home with Krishna. You see it was already a part of me. I think it’s something that’s been with me from my previous birth.” Most Beatles fans weren’t surprised by the conversion and have since turned to Harrison as a spiritual guide or source of inspiration. He continues to remain a vegetarian, as well.
One of the most talked about celebrity conversions is that of Ivanka Trump, who in the wake of her father’s Presidential campaign, tried to overturn anti-semitism claims directed towards him. Ivanka converted to Judaism in 2009 when she married her husband, a real estate mogul, Jared Kushner. The Trumps raised their children Presbyterian but didn’t seem to object when she underwent conversion classes to make the change of faith.
Becoming a Born-Again Christian is more popular than we thought! Legendary Rock-God, Alice Cooper, was raised in the Church of Latter Day Saints. Despite being brought up as a Mormon, he converted to Born-Again Christianity in the 80’s and feels as if he has a duty to spread the divine word. He’s big on the existence of Satan and urges people to watch out for the devil-horned beast; “”Be careful! Satan is not a myth. Don’t sit around pretending like Satan is just a joke. I think my job is to warn about Satan.”
It’s a little known fact that Connie Chung converted to Judaism in 1984 for her husband, Maury Povich. The infamous anchor woman and her primetime hubby have been married for 32 years and still counting. They still keep a kosher home and adopted a son together in 1995.
Liz Taylor may have had many lovers and quite a few marriages, but she only had one conversion that stuck for the remainder of her life. After her third husband, Michael Todd, passed away she continued with the her conversion to Judaism that had begun prior to his death. She took the Hebrew name Elisheba Rachel and practiced the faith until she died in 2011. She was raised in a Christian home and had considered converting for many years before making the switch.
Sharmila Tagore converted from Hinduism to Islam before marrying Mansoor Ali Khan Pataudi, a move that initially upset her family greatly. When she converted, she took the Islamic name Ayesha Sultana. The Bollywood actress is on par with cinema great Nargis Dutt, and another coveted lady on our list who converted for love. The two had a happy marriage and 3 children together.
Maybe he’s just trying to get the world’s attention with another publicity stunt or maybe he’s actually for real this time. Shia LaBeouf reportedly converted from Judaism to Christianity stating, “I could have just said the prayers that were on the page. But it was a real thing that really saved me.” Labeouf had a stint in rehab back in 2014 and converted in an effort to save himself (and maybe his career?). Regardless, he does seem to be doing somewhat better these days.
Madonna hasn’t converted to mainstream Judaism, at least not yet, but she did convert into a Kabbalic cult after 10 years of studying the Jewish mysticism. She’s widely known for adopting the Hebrew name Esther and passing on Kabbalah to her celebrity friends. She’s made it publicly clear that she’s not Jewish, she’s an “Israelite.”
It wouldn’t be a celebrity conversion list without the incorrigible Tom Cruise! Tom has been very outspoken about the Church of Scientology since he converted in 1990. Tom’s religious obsession is one of the most wild devotions we’ve seen to a belief structure and he’s quoted saying some fairly irrational things to the public. For instance; ““When you’re a Scientologist, and you drive by an accident, you know you have to do something about it, because you know you’re the only one who can really help. We are the are the way to happiness.”
Ellen Burstyn: Sulfi Islam
Ellen Burstyn discretely converted to Sulfi Islam, a looser form of the religion that enables her to perform without wearing a burqa. The award-winning actress claims to believe many different aspects of different religions, but converted to her new religion in her mid-30’s. She describes herself as “a spirit opening to the the truth.” This is one celebrity conversion that definitely surprised us!
Drew Barrymore is another Hollywood actress who converted to Judaism for the love of her life. She married William Kopelman in 2012 after her conversion was complete with the help of longtime friend, Adam Sandler. She had her tattoos removed to become more conservative and plans on raising her daughter Jewish, as well. Unfortunately, Barrymore and Kopelman decided to end their union in 2016 and hasn’t stated whether or not she’ll stay in the faith.
Janet Jackson left the Jehovah’s faith after marrying her husband, Wissam Al Mana. The pair wed privately in 2012 and kept it a secret until 2013, when rumors began to circulate that the former singer converted to Islam. It’s been confirmed that Janet has officially converted but she won’t say when, and now the couple is trying to start a family. Janet’s recent conversion to Islam may explain her departure from the music industry in an effort to obey the strict laws of modesty in the Islamic religion.
When Katie Holmes began dating Tom Hanks, she quickly abandoned her Catholic beliefs for Scientology classes. In 2006, the pair were married in a Scientology ceremony and Katie had a silent birth to fall in accordance with the religion’s laws when Suri Cruise was born. Since Katie and Tom divorced in 2012, she has reverted back to her old faith and is taking steps to assure that Suri doesn’t become a Scientology fanatic like her father. Katie didn’t just defect from the Church of Scientology, she’s single-handedly taking them down by disallowing their influence in her child’s life and lessening the authority and power Tom used to hold over her own.