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12 Celebrities Who Were in Cults — And Escaped

celebrities who escaped their bizarre cults
Source: MEGA

Mar. 31 2024, Published 5:00 a.m. ET

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Arquette Siblings – Skymont Subud

arquette siblings
Source: MEGA

Skymont Subud was known for not letting its members have access to bathrooms.

Oscar-winning actress Patricia Arquette was born into a commune called Skymont Subud, which her parents started with their friends. Her four other siblings — Richmond, Rosanna, Alexis and David — had a similar experience with the spiritual movement.

Rosanna once told The Daily Beast that the place "was not a cult thing at all" and was only made to worship God.

"I was surrounded by friends, all the time, and we had a lot of freedom. We swam in the creek. We swam in the river," said Richmond.

Meanwhile, Patricia described the commune as a place where people looked down on ownership as they had to contribute their income for their common good.

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Christopher Owens – Children of God

christopher owens
Source: Christopher Owens/YouTube

Christopher Owens started busking when he was 16.

Christopher Owens mother was a follower of the nomadic religious cult, Children of God. As a child, he accompanied his mom as they crossed continents, which he described as something like being raised in the Taliban.

"Being told everybody else in the world is bad, rejecting technology, rejecting medical research, being devoted to God and believing America was evil and the end of the world was coming: all the same principles," he told The Guardian in 2011.

The Children of God taught him and other children how to sing and play guitar so they could ask for spare change from people. His talent soon became his ticket out of the cult.

Glenn Close – Moral Re-Armament

glenn close
Source: MEGA

Reverend Frank Buchman founded the group in the 1930s.

After moving to Switzerland with her family, Glenn Close soon became a spiritual movement Moral Re-Armament (MRA) member. She formally left them when she was 22 while studying acting at the College of William & Mary.

"Each of us had to go through that process of forgiveness," she shared with People's Editor-in-Chief Jess Cagle in an episode of The Jess Cagle Interview. "It wasn't easy for my parents to talk about, certainly, my father. But I guess I've made my career figuring out the why's of behavior, and I did the same thing with my parents."

The Natural actress reportedly grew up while being watched by the MRA, though the group said it was dedicated to promoting wellbeing.

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Joaquin Phoenix – Children of God

joaquin phoenix
Source: MEGA

Joaquin Phoenix was born in Puerto Rico.

Joaquin Phoenix and his siblings became members of Children of God, known for making its members give up their money.

The Joker actor opened up about his journey, recalling when his parents left them when he was 4.

"I think my parents thought they'd found a community that shared their ideals," Phoenix told Playboy. "Cults rarely advertise themselves as such. It's usually someone saying, 'We're like-minded people. This is a community,' but I think the moment my parents realized there was something more to it, they got out."

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Keira Maguire – The Seaside Sect

keira maguire
Source: MEGA

Keira Maguire's father founded the cult.

The Bachelor star Keira Maguire was born into a cult called The Seaside Sect. In her interview in 2016, before Woman's Day broke the news about her connection with the group, she revealed that her mom was one of the nine wives of the cult leader who had over 60 children.

"I didn't know who my mum was until I was five. It sounds strange, but it just is what it is. I didn't even have birthdays," she shared. "I think I had my first birthday when I was seven. For other people, it might be really sad. But it's not, because it's my story."

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Rose McGowan – Children of God

rose mcgowan
Source: MEGA

Rose McGowan revealed that women were sexual objects in the cult.

From the day she was born until she was 9, Rose McGowan revealed she had a twisted childhood with the cult Children of God.

"I remember watching how the [cult's] men were with the women, and at a very early age I decided I did not want to be like those women. They were basically there to serve the men sexually—you were allowed to have more than one wife," she told People.

McGowan and her family left the group after confirming that there had been sexual relationships between adults and children.

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Toni Braxton – Pillar of Truth

toni braxton
Source: MEGA

The group was part of the Apostolic Pentecostal congregation.

Toni Braxton spoke with Entertainment Tonight after the release of her memoir Unbreak My Heart, where she detailed the dark side of her family's religion when she was a kid.

As a member of Pillar of Truth, Braxton and the other women in the group were forced to "cover their nakedness" so they would not go to hell.

"I began connecting religion, God and church with judgment, anxiety, and guilt. Our family had fallen into religious extremism," she disclosed.

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Winona Ryder – Rainbow Commune

winona ryder
Source: MEGA

Winona Ryder and her family moved away to Petaluma, Calif., after years of living with other families in a commune.

In a past interview with Parade, Winona Ryder shared her experience when she and her family lived in a Northern California commune with six other families.

"The place we lived at was 380 acres of redwoods. It was beautiful," she recalled.

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