9 Celebrities Raised in Cults: Rose McGowan, Joaquin Phoenix, & More
Cults are great fodder for Hollywood stories — as Hulu’s The Path proves — but you may not have known how many Hollywood stars were actually raised in cults.
Luckily, the celebrities below all escaped to tell the tale. Keep scrolling down to see what they say.
This Charmed star opened up to People in 2011 about escaping the Children of God, “a polygamous cult that blended free-love attitudes with Christian proselytizing,” as the magazine described it. Her father ran the Italian chapter of the religious sect.
“You had no contact with the outside world,” Rose said. “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.”
Joaquin and River Phoenix
This Irrational Man star and his famous late brother, River, also grew up among the Children of God — traveling around Central and South America with the group until his parents left over the aforementioned reported sexual abuse.
“I don't think we ever got to that point,” he told Playboy in 2013. “Because frankly, as it got closer, I think my parents went, ‘Wait a minute. This is more than a religious community. There's something else going on here, and this doesn't seem right.’ And so they left very early on.”
Patricia, David, and Rosanna Arquette
These actorly siblings spent their formative years in a Subud community their parents co-founded in Winchester, Virginia.
“They started it with a bunch of their friends, and they wanted to kind of build this utopian society,” Patricia told Oprah in 2011. “David was born there … I don’t think there was running water.”
When she was 7, this Heathers star and her family joined seven other families in the Rainbow commune in California, trying to live self sufficiently on 300 acres of land, as ABC News reports.
Without electricity, Winona amused herself with reading and acting, and thus her career ambitions were born.
This Damages star was also a 7-year-old when her parents joined a cult: the ultra-conservative Moral Re-Armament group.
“You basically weren't allowed to do anything, or you were made to feel guilty about any unnatural desire,” she told The Hollywood Reporter in 2013.
“If you talk to anybody who was in a group that basically dictates how you're supposed to live and what you’re supposed to say and how you’re supposed to feel, from the time you’re 7 till the time you’re 22, it has a profound impact on you.
“It’s something you have to [consciously overcome] because all of your trigger points are [wrong].”
This Wizards of Lies actress got caught up in a cult of breatharians when she was younger, a movement of individuals who believe one can sustain oneself with only sunlight and air via meditation.
“They were very controlling,” she said of the couple who indoctrinated her, in a 2013 Stella magazine interview.
“I wasn’t living with them but I was there a lot and they were always telling me I needed to come more.
“I had to pay for all the time I was there, so it was financially very draining. They believed that people in their highest state were breatharian.”