Sometimes it seems like celebrities have it all. Wealth, freedom, adoration… the Hollywood A-list live pretty charmed lives by any measure.
Being a celebrity isn’t all fun and games, though. That’s particularly true if you are a celebrity who also happens to be a Christian.
Hollywood isn’t exactly Sin City anymore, but it’s not really a religion-friendly environment, either.<!- mfunc feat_school ->
The Church has frequently found a bone to pick with Hollywood’s depictions of faith and Christianity. Sex, violence, blasphemy… it’s hard to find an American institution that regularly elevates and even glorifies behaviors pretty much the exact opposite of what Jesus Christ taught.
You don’t have to go any further than the actor who played Christ himself in “The Passion of the Christ,” Jim Caviezel, to see what can happen. A devout Catholic since childhood, Caviezel was warned when he took the role that Hollywood could blackball him. And, indeed, from a once skyrocketing trajectory, he’s told interviewers since that good roles have been hard to come by.
So it takes some guts to be loud and proud as a practicing Christian in Hollywood today.
But there are some celebrities who still stand tall, keeping their faith and living their lives according to Scripture despite any amount of scorn or ostracism. These are ten big examples of celebrities who never let Hollywood opinion stand between them and God.
1. Oprah Winfrey
She lives on a 42-acre estate in Montecito called “The Promised Land,” so it’s pretty clear that Oprah is a big believer in God. Despite some rough times along the way, she has used her faith in Him and her God-given talents to overcome, becoming the first Black billionaire and one of the most recognized celebrities in the world. She attributes it all to one inspiring Bible verse:
Winfrey doesn’t just profess the Word, but lives by it as well. She’s perhaps the greatest Black philanthropist in American history, donating more than $400 million to educational causes in addition to subsidizing more than 400 scholarships to Morehouse college. Through it all, her talk shows, films, and interviews have never flagged, making her one of the most successful proclaimed Christians in the industry.
2. Matthew McConaughey
It’s hard to doubt the Christian bona fides of Matthew McConaughey considering he opened up his Oscar acceptance speech for Best Actor with the words, “First off, I want to thank God, because that’s who I look up to.”
But it’s instructive what he noticed in that moment: as he looked out at the audience, seeing Christian friends there, he noticed that they first started to clap at his mention of the Lord—then looked around, and, seeing that no one else was applauding, put their hands back down. It takes a Matthew McConaughey-level of courage, apparently, to be a practicing Christian in Hollywood. Being an Oscar-caliber acting talent probably doesn’t hurt, either, though.
3. Chris Pratt
On the other hand, there’s Chris Pratt. In a 2018 interview, Pratt claimed that the narrative that Hollywood is anti-religious or hostile to Christians was just not true. Despite very public and open expressions of Christian faith—he accepted a Teen Choice Award with a speech exhorting his young audience to love God like he does—Pratt says no one has ever tried to shame him for it.
Of course, it would take a brave man to try to shame someone of Pratt’s physique in person. But the star’s attitude toward any behind-the-back sniping is similarly refreshing. He doesn’t have any plan to change his beliefs or behavior based on any criticism, and he plans to keep testifying his truth to his huge fan base.
4. Chance the Rapper
Born in Chicago as Chancelor Johnathan Bennett, Chance the Rapper, as he’s known professionally, may be one of the least likely celebrities who have stayed strong in their Christian faith.
Not only has Chance remained faithful in his personal life, but he has also integrated religion into his music as well. Inspired by jazz and gospel, he often includes lyrics with theological meaning or discussing his struggles with faith and his upbringing.
Although Chance did some time in Hollywood itself early in his career, he moved back home after pronouncing LA “ungodly.” Being true to yourself is among the most Christian of values, and Chance knows who he is and where he belongs.
5. Jennifer Garner
Everybody loves Jennifer Garner, and maybe that makes it easier for her to be up-front about her Christianity despite her status as an A-list celebrity for more than 20 years. After all, who would say a mean thing about a board member of Save the Children?
Garner grew up in West Virginia attending United Methodist Church and going to Vacation Bible School. Despite relocating to Hollywood at a young age as her career took off with the TV show Alias, where as a CIA agent she had to do some fairly un-Christian things, it’s clear that her faith has sustained her as a superstar. All of her children are baptized, and even after her divorce from Ben Affleck, she served as a pillar of support for him through his struggles with alcohol.
6. Roma Downey
You can’t really talk about celebrities who refuse to hide their Christianity without talking about the person who only became a celebrity because of Christianity. When you are playing an angel on TV for almost a decade, you are definitely being out front about your beliefs!
Although acting is acting, Downey’s role in Touched By An Angel came to her naturally as a Roman Catholic raised in Derry. And her works after the end of that run have been just as bold and just as devout: she was co-producer of the hit miniseries The Bible, has starred in or produced other Christian-themed movies or series, and still finds time to volunteer with Operation Smile.
Downey’s husband, and producer of Survivor, The Voice, and other hits, Mark Burnett, comes in for an honorable mention on our list. As co-producer of The Bible and several of Downey’s other Christian shows, he has also let his faith fly high in recent years.
7. Pat Boone
Still going strong at 87, Pat Boone has never had a problem combining faith with celebrity. A member of the Gospel Music Hall of Fame, Boone also had a strong secular singing career, charting only behind Elvis Presley on Billboard rankings in the 1950s. Boone also had a solid film career, but Hollywood never corrupted him… before delivering his first on-screen kiss to costar Shirley Jones, Boone stopped filming to check in with his wife first to make sure he had her approval.
His Lamb and Lion Records didn’t just produce and release Boone’s religious music, but also started the careers of numerous other Christian singers. But Boone kept his Hollywood street cred at the same time, releasing a series of covers of heavy metal tunes at the age of 63. In a Metal Mood: No More Mr. Nice Guy made it onto Billboard charts with guest artists like Ronnie James Did and Dweezil Zappa backing Pat.
8. Kirk Cameron
As a teen heartthrob starring in the hit series Growing Pains, you might not have pegged Cameron as a future proud Christian in the Hollywood limelight. But in fact, it was during his star turn as Mike Seaver that Cameron was born again and became a proud evangelical.
He’s stuck to those beliefs through the remainder of his career, producing and starring in various independent films highlighting the Christian faith. Cameron also runs his own ministry, The Way of the Master, and hosts a television and radio show associated with it. Outside the Hollywood bubble, Cameron also founded Camp Firefly, a charity that gives terminally ill children and their parents a free week of vacation.
A self-described Christian to this day, when this multi-platinum product of Irish Christian schools puts his mind to charity, he can move mountains. Renowned for philanthropy and activism in human rights and social justice efforts, he was also instrumental in the success of the Band Aid and Live Aid charity fundraising concerts. His life and lifestyle also offer inspiration to millions of Christians, standing in sharp contrast to other rock stars.