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10 Celebrities You Probably Didn’t Know Were Catholics

by Simon Griffin
fact checked by Jamie Frater

In today’s day and age, the general public wants to know everything they can about their favorite celebrities. A lot of the time, the stars are happy to oblige, but one area often kept quiet is that of faith. Whether it is because they believe it is too personal, bad PR, or just NOYB, celebrities often keep their religion out of the spotlight, so here, we look at ten people that you may not have realised were Catholic.

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10 Lady Gaga

If you’re not a big fan of Lady Gaga, then you could easily be forgiven for thinking she is not a religious person. From risqué videos to her huge gay following, there are a lot of things about Gaga that suggest otherwise. But if you are a fan of her work, you’ll know that religion has a big influence on it. Her album ‘Born this Way’ includes songs such as Judas, Black Jesus + Amen Fashion, and Bloody Mary, while the videos are filled to the brim with religious imagery.

Gaga does attend mass, and became the subject of public debate after posting a photo of her in attendance on Instagram. A blogger on the site Catholic Link posted an article in which she reminded readers that celebrities “aren’t Gods because they are famous” and that people need to “pray for them”. Gaga didn’t take this shot at her faith too well, and reminded the writer about Mary Magdalene. In the end though, they all made friends and bonded over their mutual love of Christ.[1]

9 Andy Warhol

Andy Warhol was a leading figure in the Pop Art movement, whose most famous works include a trippy picture of Marilyn Monroe, and a can of soup. As well as being gay, Warhol was obsessed with themes such as consumerism, capitalism, and mass production, so he never really came across as a religious person to those who knew him. It was only when his friend and historian John Richardson gave his eulogy that Warhol’s beliefs really came to light.

According to Richardson, Warhol was a deeply religious Catholic, attending mass several times a week, helping out at the shelter, converting at least one person, and paying for his nephew to study to become a priest. We may never know if Warhol was embarrassed by his faith or just liked to keep it private, but there is something artistic in keeping it hidden right to the very end.[2]

8 Mark Wahlberg

Mark Wahlberg is a man with a checkered past, to put it nicely. The youngest of 9 children, he was addicted to cocaine by age 13, and has a long history of racially motivated hate crimes. Although Wahlberg was raised Catholic, it doesn’t seem his faith did him much good until later in life. It was only in jail at age 17 that he started to seriously reflect on his life, and decided that he needed to focus on faith over material goods.

Things really started to change for Wahlberg when he moved from his hip-hop group, Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch, into making films. Ironically, he has asked for God’s forgiveness for Boogie Nights, one of his first films, although working on it may have been the saving grace that sent him in the right direction. These days, Wahlberg works with numerous charities, but still struggles to address the issues in his past.[3]

7 Michael Moore

Michael Moore is a documentary filmmaker famous for projects such as Bowling for Columbine and Fahrenheit 9/11. Moore is probably most well-known for his ability to step back and offer an objective view of an issue, which he uses to open discussions on topics such as capitalism and gun control. So it may come as a surprise that a man who loves facts and logic also bases some of his beliefs on faith alone.

Moore’s Catholicism goes right back to his childhood, and has actually been a pretty major influence in his work. He frequently references the Bible to illustrate that Christ was more socialist than capitalist, and even worked with Priests and Bishops to drive this point home in his film “Capitalism: A love Story”. While Moore may not openly preach his faith, it is clear that it has shaped his worldview and runs through everything he does.[4]

6 Martin Scorsese

Martin Scorsese is undoubtedly one of the most accomplished filmmakers of our time, renowned for movies such as Goodfellas, Taxi Driver, and the Wolf of Wall Street. But if things had gone a little differently, the world may have missed out on some of its favorite films. As a child growing up in New York City, Scorsese was actively involved in his local church, and got on great with his parish Priest, Father Principe.

Scorsese admired Principe so much that he attended a preparatory seminary to train as a priest, but failed in year one. He says he realised then that a vocation is something you are born with, not something you can learn, and devoted himself to a life of film instead. While he may not have been suited to a life of piety, he did address the questions surrounding his faith in his 2016 film ‘Silence’.[5]

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5 Nicole Kidman

Nicole Kidman was raised Catholic, although it doesn’t appear that faith played too large a role in her early years. While she has said she considered becoming a nun at one point, she didn’t attend a religious school, and hasn’t said much about religion in her life as a child.

When Kidman started dating Tom Cruise, the head of the Church of Scientology decided to lure her into the cult. One of the ways to woo her was to have his followers plant a field of wildflowers overnight for her and Tom to run in. While Kidman did convert, she never really embraced Scientology, and remains distant from the children she has with Cruise, who decided to stick with it. In 2006, she converted back to Catholicism, and regularly attends church with her family. Despite not being a believer himself, husband Keith Urban attends with her.[6]

4 Catherine Zeta-Jones

Catherine Zeta-Jones is emblematic of a more modern approach to faith. Raised as a Catholic, she has never been an overly vocal supporter of the church, although she shows no signs of stepping away either. She talks about prayer, but decided to have a secular wedding. She reportedly loves crucifix jewelry, but has been criticised by the Vatican for the opulence of the pieces. She was going to baptize her children, but ultimately decided against it.

As her husband, Michael Douglas, is Jewish, it seems the couple decided to let faith take a back seat, and allow the children to make their own decisions. Their son now actively practices Judaism, which helped rekindle his father’s relationship with the religion, while their daughter seems not to have taken a stance. As for Zeta-Jones herself, she remains quietly devout.[7]

3 Katie Holmes

When Nicole Kidman decided to convert back to Catholicism in 2006, the logical thing for Tom Cruise to do was convert Katie Holmes to Scientology. So he did. Pretty soon, Suri Cruise was born, and the family lived together as Scientologists under the loving gaze of Lord Xenu until the couple split in 2012.

While details are sketchy, rumours suggest the divorce settlement gave Holmes custody of Suri, on condition that she (Holmes) not criticize Scientology. Holmes converted back to Catholicism immediately upon leaving both the marriage and the “Church”, and has remained a practicing Catholic ever since. However, as Suri was no longer a Scientologist, she can no longer see her father. Some reports indicate Cruise was gearing up to leave Scientology last year, but this never came to fruition.[8]

2 Mia Farrow

Mia Farrow’s life is pretty much as Hollywood as it gets. The daughter of a movie star and a director, Farrow has enjoyed a very lucrative career in modelling and acting since her early years, won numerous awards, married Frank Sinatra, served as a UNICEF ambassador, and was named one of the most influential people in the world in 2008.

Farrow was raised in a strict Catholic household, and her religion has stayed with her to this day. That being said, she has been a vocal critic of the Church, particularly in relation to the clerical abuse scandal. This must be a difficult subject for Farrow, who has accused ex-partner Woody Allen of abusing their daughter Dylan at 7 years old. Allen, who started an affair with a girl who he raised as his own while she was still in school, retaliated by claiming Farrow implanted false memories in Dylan. Farrow said her faith was instrumental in helping her through those times, and that while she no longer views Allen’s wife Soon-Yi as her daughter, she does forgive her.[9]

1 Denise Richards

For most of her life, former Bond-woman and current real housewife Denise Richards adopted the relatively modern laissez-faire style of faith that is so popular among Catholics these days. While she has been Catholic since birth, and opted for a religious ceremony for her marriage to Charlie Sheen, she never went too far out of her way to please the holy Trinity.

In addition to the occasional lesbian relationship, Richard’s marriage to and subsequent divorce from notorious sinner Charlie Sheen didn’t do much to solidify her faith. Even though Sheen was also raised Catholic, the couple disagreed on whether or not to baptise the kids (eventually compromising by saving just one of their souls). But, devastated by the loss of her mother in 2008, Richards started looking for ways to reconnect with her. After trying out a psychic, she rediscovered her Catholic roots, and has stuck with them ever since. Meanwhile, while Sheen’s stance on religion is unclear, it seems the two are back on good terms.[10]

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fact checked by Jamie Frater