Celebrities who grew up in cults

Many celebrities had unusual childhoods, especially those who started acting at young age. But did you know that some stars actually grew up in cults? Now, that’s an unusual upbringing! Here are some celebs who were brought up in religious sects.

Glenn Close








Glenn Close’s family decided to join the conservative organization Moral Re-Armament when she was just 7. She stayed for 15 years, until she left at age 22 to go to college. “It was a cult where everyone was told to think alike, and that’s devastating,” she said. But being in a cult helped her as a performer. “It also gives you a huge sense of looking from the outside in, and I think that in many ways that has been very good as an actor, because you are somebody who is asked to go into a character…. I always felt that I was held together with Scotch tape and paper clips and, as an actor, that’s good.”

Rose McGowan








Rose is a former Children of God cult member. Her family managed to break free when she was 9. They fled because her father feared she would be sexually abused. “You had no contact with the outside world,” McGowan told People. “Things that are completely unacceptable became normal. 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.” Also, many of the children were allegedly sexually molested. “There’s a trail of some very damaged children that were in this group,” the actress said. “As strong as I like to think I’ve always been, I’m sure I could have been broken. I know I got out by the skin of my teeth.”

Joaquin Phoenix








Joaquin is another celebrity who spent part of his childhood in Children of God sect. Joaquin was born into the religion when his parents were traveling through communes in Mexico and Venezuela, sometimes begging to get by. “It might have become a cult, but when we were there it was a really religious community,” he told UK Uncut Magazine in 2001. “It was a time when people were questioning the nuclear family of the Fifties, people were saying they weren’t satisfied with the upbringing their parents had, is there another way? My parents were just searching for an alternative way of raising their children, they didn’t want to raise us in the Bronx. My mom was raised in the Bronx, and she was scared every day coming home from school.”

David, Patricia and Rosanna Arquette








The Arquettes spent their early years with their parents and two other siblings in a Subud community in Winchester, Va. “They started it with a bunch of their friends, and they wanted to kind of build this utopian society,” Patricia Arquette said on Oprah. “David was born there.” She said the commune had no electricity or bathrooms, and, “I don’t think there was running water.” Even after the family moved out of the commune and into more conventional homes, their environment didn’t get more stable. Both parents were drug addicts. “There was a lot of drama in the house,” Patricia Arquette said. “There were a lot of chairs flying around.” “A lot of hole punching in walls,” Rosanna Arquette added. “My mom stabbed me in the arm with a knife. Concussions. Just terrible physical abuse.”

Winona Ryder








In 1978, at the age of 7, Winona Ryder moved into the Rainbow commune in California with her parents, both authors, and her younger brother. They were joined by seven other families that attempted to live self-sufficiently on a 300-acre plot of land. With no electricity or TV, Ryder became an avid reader and soon got interested in acting. The hobby turned into a career a few years later when her family moved on.



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One response to “Celebrities who grew up in cults”

  1. Jennifer says:

    Thanks for the very interesting article. It was interesting to learn new circumstances of life of people you like and follow their lives. Many things I didn’t know before. This was a very good lesson of enlightenment. I appreciate, thank you!