While Hollywood is known for its glitz and glam, it's not the only thing celebrities focus their attention on — many of them are committed to their faith. Join Wonderwall.com as we take a look at some of Tinseltown's most religious celebrities… starting with Candace Cameron-Bure, who celebrates her 44th birthday on April 6. The actress, who is best known for role as D.J. Tanner on the beloved family sitcom "Full House," started going to church at 12-years-old, during a time when her parents' marriage was struggling. "I became a Christian by asking God to be my Lord and savior at 12-years-old… but it didn't become my own until I was in my early 20s," she said on The Pure Flix Podcast in 2019. She has always valued her Christian faith. "My faith is just my life, it's a part of it," she continued. "It naturally flows from me and I feel like I've navigated my entire career differently than most people have. The goal for me isn't necessarily the next project or making more money or being a bigger star. I've always chosen the things that are true to me and that I've wanted to do." Candace often speaks candidly about her faith and even courages Christian fans to read the Bible and talk about faith with one another. Keep reading for more…
From his Gospel-themed album "Jesus Is King" to his Sunday Service gospel choir, Kanye West doesn't shy away from sharing his beliefs with the world. His spiritual journey, however, has been the subject of much discussion. According to Time, critics have dismissed Kanye's "pledges of faith as surface-level and disingenuous," with many also questioning the "exclusive, invitation-only" nature of his Sunday Service performances — which he originated in January 2019 — as being contrary to the "open, communal spirit of church." Still, the "Runaway" rapper has spoken at length about his spiritual awakening. "I know that God has been calling me for a long time and the devil has been distracting me for a long time," he told parishioners at Lakewood Church in Houston, Texas, in 2019. He noted that even at his lowest point, God "was there with me, sending me visions and inspiring me."
Since the release of her hit song "Jesus Take the Wheel" in 2005, country star Carrie Underwood has made her religious beliefs apparent in her songs. In 2012, she responded to questions of whether she was ever worried the content of the song would deter potential fans. "It wasn't a worry to me at all," she told Glamour Magazine. "Country music is different. You have that Bible Belt-ness about it. I'm not the first person to sing about God, Jesus, faith [or] any of that, and I won't be the last. And it won't be the last for me, either. If you don't like it, change the channel." Carrie's husband, retired NHL player Mike Fisher, is also a devout Christian. "Every Wednesday, my husband and I have a study group with our friends," she said. "I attend church. We try to devote time in the morning [and] say a prayer. I'm not a big reader though. I have to feel it, hear it, touch it [and] be involved in it."
Not only is he an acclaimed actor — he's also a devout Catholic. Raised in an Irish-Catholic family, Mark Wahlberg has spoken about the importance of religion in his life. "It's the most important part of my life," he told Parade Magazine in 2013. "I don't try to push it on anybody and I don't try to hide it." "The Departed" actor credits his faith in God as the reason why he was able to overcome his troubled past as a teenager. In 2018 he shared his jam-packed daily schedule, which included 30 minutes of "prayer time" between 2:45 to 3:15 in the morning. Similarly, in Feb. 26, 2020 he took to Instagram to share his plans for Lent. "People always ask, 'What are you gonna give up for Lent?' And I think, more importantly, let's try to do more — more love, more peace, more acceptance, more caring, and more kindness. Have a beautiful Lenten season. God bless you all. I'll see you on Easter. Love you."
While she's known for her stunning vocals and acting prowess, Broadway sensation Kristin Chenoweth has also spoken freely about her religious views. Something she's particularly passionate about? Changing the perspective people have on Christianity. "I think it's important to remember that Christianity was based in love and tolerance and forgiveness and acceptance," she told Parade magazine in 2011. "I don't want Christianity to be a negative word anymore. I want people to understand that there is a group of Christians out there who want to be more open and understanding and tolerant and loving of all kinds of people, even the people that don't believe in God at all. I guess that's one of my purposes in this life is to make sure people know that Jesus would have taught the same thing and did teach the same thing." The "Wicked" star refers to herself as a "non-judgmental, liberal Christian."
"Guardians of the Galaxy" star Chris Pratt has actually been committed to his faith since he was a teenager. However, Los Angeles' Zoe Church — the church Chris regularly attends — came under fire in 2019 after actress Ellen Page said that it was "famously anti-LGBTQ." The actor took to Instagram to clear the air. "It has recently been suggested that I belong to a church which 'hates people' and is 'infamously anti-LGBTQ," he wrote. "Nothing could be further from the truth. I go to a church that opens their doors to absolutely everyone." In the same post, he went on to reiterate that while his faith is incredibly important to him, he isn't defined by the church. "My values define who I am. We need less hate in this world, not more. I am a man who believes that everyone is entitled to love who they want free from the judgement of their fellow man."
Despite being raised in the Catholic Church, "The Late Show" host Stephen Colbert abandoned his religion before eventually returning. In 2018 Stephen appeared on the talk show Faith in Focus, where he revealed that his religious beliefs weren't always as strong as they are today. "I had lost my faith in God, to my own great grief," he said. "I was sort of convinced that I had been wrong all this time, that I had been taught something that wasn't true." There was a moment, though, that changed everything from him — he was walking around the streets of Chicago when a stranger handed him a pocket Bible. Inside was an index listing verses to read based on the emotion the reader might be experiencing. Stephen recalled how he felt "anxious" at the time, so he turned to the suggested Bible verse, which was incredibly moving for him. "The Late Show" host has also spoken openly about his religion on his show. "We know that I could do my show and make jokes about the church, and now sit with a priest and laugh about it, that's a fairly modern behavior," he told Father Thomas Rosica of Salt and Light Television in 2015. "That's not a hundred-year-old behavior, this is a modern behavior — this is, I hope, the right relationship to have with your faith, which is to love it, but not to exclude it from your intellect."
In 2019, Selena Gomez shared how Jesus spoke to her after she released "Lose You to Love Me," her first single in four years. "I'm literally just laying down and thanking Jesus… Where my father has taken me and placing me is exactly where I am meant to be," she wrote on Instagram in October 2019. "He said to me 'Selena hold on, I hurt when you hurt. I cry when you cry but I will NEVER, EVER leave your side. Work with me, walk with me, and watch how I do it.'" The emotional ballad speaks of the singer's need to let go of a toxic relationship in her life in order to work on herself. The actress-singer has been incredibly transparent about her Christian faith — "By grace, through faith" are the words written in her Instagram bio. The "Rare" singer is also among the slew of A-list celebrities that attend Hillsong Church (her ex-boyfriend Justin Bieber and his wife Hailey Baldwin are also regular attendees).
Justin Bieber is another celebrity who is a devout Christian. Since being baptized by Hillsong Pastor Carl Lentz in 2014, the "Changes" singer has been leading a faith-based life. It also isn't uncommon for the pop star to post passages from the Bible or talk about his relationship to Jesus on Instagram. Along with other celebrities, Justin is a dedicated Hillsong supporter, and is often seen at Hillsong conferences, events, and Pastor Lentz's social media pages. The singer spoke openly about the time he became celibate as a means of feeling closer to God. "I wanted to rededicate myself to God in that way because I really felt it was better for the condition of my soul," he told Vogue in 2019. "And I believe that God blessed me with Hailey as a result. There are perks. You get rewarded for good behavior." He went on to share exactly what it is he believes in: "I believe in the story of Jesus — that's the simplicity of what I believe."
In addition to being a devout Christian, Academy Award-winning actor Denzel Washington once considered becoming a preacher. He's spoken at length about his connection to the Holy Spirit, and even shared a story of a visceral religious experience he had. "The minister was preaching, 'Just let it go.' I said, 'I'm going to go with it,' he recalled for GQ Magazine in 2012. "And I had this tremendous physical and spiritual experience. It did frighten me. I was slobbering, crying, sweating. My cheeks blew up. I was purging. It was too intense. It almost drove me away. I called my mother, and she said I was being filled with the Holy Spirit. I was like, 'Does that mean I can never have wine again?'"
Reba McEntire credits God for giving her inspiration as an artist. During an interview with Christian Post in 2019, the country star shared how the Holy Spirit is a major part of her life. "It's all God — He's the reason for everything I do," she said. "I pray that I will find songs to record that will touch people's hearts and heal their hearts. Before I go on stage, I ask the Holy Spirit to touch people in the audience, if they need healing or comfort." The country sensation has also spoken of how she couldn't fathom a life without God. "I can't imagine living a life without God. He is my best friend, He's my buddy, He's the one that I talk to when there's no one around. I talk to Him when people are around a lot too. He's my confidant, He's my advisor, He's my director. I just don't know why you wouldn't want that in your life. He's just like a bodyguard, He is your protector."
Despite being born into the Anglican Church of England, Orlando Bloom converted to Buddhism in 2004. "I did religious studies so I understood about Christianity, and I think faith is an important part of life. And for me, when I was introduced to the Buddhist philosophy and way of thinking, it felt almost scientific," he told The Texarkana Gazette in 2019. "And NOBODY really teaches you the art of living, although within the Bible, there's the Ten Commandments. There's all sorts of ideas of how one should live in order to live a happy life. For me, the idea of cause-and-effect, which is a very fundamental principal within the Buddhist teaching and my Buddhist practice, it almost felt like what goes up must come down. So if you do good, you get good." He's often spoken out about how practicing Buddhism has resonated both spiritually and philosophically with him.
When Pierce Brosnan lost his first wife Cassandra Harris to cancer in 1991, he relied on Catholicism to help him cope. "Prayer helped me in those moments in time", he told RTE in 2011. "It helped me with the loss of my wife to cancer and with a child who had fallen on tough times. Now prayer helps me to be a father, to be an actor and to be a man." Prayer has been a way for the actor to overcome grief. "It always helps to have a bit of prayer in your back pocket. At the end of the day, you have to have something and for me that is God, Jesus, my Catholic upbringing, my faith. You have to be as kind as you can be to yourself and to other people. And you have to live life as boldly as you can."
Though he was raised Methodist, Richard Gere is an outspoken practicing Tibetan Buddhist. Having studied Buddhism for around six years, the actor decided to travel to Nepal and then India, where he met the 14th Dalai Lama. "It completely changed my life the first time I was in the presence of His Holiness," he told Lion's Roar in 1999. "No question about it. It wasn't like I felt, 'Oh, I'm going to give away all my possessions and go to the monastery now,' but it quite naturally felt that this was what I was supposed to do — work with these teachers, work within this lineage, learn whatever I could, bring myself to it. In spite of varying degrees of seriousness and commitment since then, I haven't really fallen out of that path."
Chance the Rapper is another celebrity who wears his faith on his sleeve, having publicly referred to himself as a "Christian Rapper" in 2018. "Watch how I move, different chapters, decisions, missions, visit pastors — Everybody finally can say it out loud: your favorite rapper's a Christian rapper and I got faith and my faith in my soul," he rapped in a video he posted on Instagram. During his acceptance speech for best rap performance at the 2017 Grammy Awards, Chance also took the opportunity to thank God. "Once again I want to thank God for everything that He's accomplished for me, everything that He has went through with me," he said. "I want to thank Him for my mother, for my father, for my brother, Taylor Bennett, for my friends." Following a performance on "Saturday Night Live" in 2016, Chance also said "I like when we use Jesus' name on network TV."