Different Faiths for Different Folks: 18 Celebs with Surprising Religions

Different faiths for different folks. Jehovah's Witnesses to Muslims, Mormons to Buddhists, you'll be surprised to learn which faith's these celebs practice, or were raised in.

Lauren Porter Mar, 17, 2016

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From Jehovah's Witnesses and Muslims, Mormons to Buddhists, you'll be surprised to learn which faith's these celebs practice, or were raised in.

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In the season 8 finale of Real Housewives of Atlanta, Kenya Moore revealed that she was raised a Jehovah's Witness. “I’m not big on celebrating holidays because I grew up as a Jehovah’s Witness and we didn’t really celebrate,” she said. Moore admits, however, that she was never baptized even though she went door-to-door distributing religious literature.

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Grammy winner Gladys Knight joined the Mormon faith in 1997 and LDSLiving that it was her son (a priest) who was able to baptize her, “It was such a precious thing to me. I was overjoyed.”

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NBA star Amar’e Stoudemire is Jewish after being introduced to the faith my his mother. He told The Jerusalem Post that the religion played “a subtle but important role in [his] development.” In 2010, he made the pilgrimage to Jerusalem and incorporated elements of the religion into his 2012 wedding. Stoudemire has the star of David tattooed on his hand. 

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Community actor Donald Glover told the Daily Beast in 2015 that being a Jehovah’s Witness shaped his creative outlet. “Being a Jehovah’s Witness was interesting," he said. "I think it amplified my own alienness."

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Pro Golfer Tiger Woods was raised as a Buddhist. Following the cheating scandal that ended his marriage, Woods said that he had lost sight of the fundamental elements of faith but said he practiced meditation, went to temple with his mother and attempted to re-incorporate the tenets of internal growth back into his everyday life.

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Naomi Campbell was raised as a Jehovah's Witness. In a 2003 interview with Vogue UK, her mother Valerie noted that while Naomi doesn't actively practice the faith, she does still inquire about literature to read.

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Sammy Davis Jr. was the son of Afro-Cuban dancer Elvera Sanchez and entertainer Sammy Davis Sr. Later, Sammy Jr. became quite the entertainer himself, a Hollywood icon and supporter of the Civil Rights Movement. 

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Dave Chapelle celebrates the Islamic faith, telling a Inside the Actors Studio host James Lipton that he  "is a Muslim" and while he doesn't necessarily practice "the way a good Muslim" should, he said that he believes in the tenets of the faith. 

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The rapper was raised as a Jehovah’s Witness until his mother left the region in his formative years. In 2014, Ja Rule told CNN he found his way back to religion following his release from jail on tax evasion and attempted criminal possession of a weapon charges the year prior.

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Q-Tip, one third of legendary hip-hop group A Tribe Called Quest, converted to Islam in 1996, ”I read the Koran and it appealed to me. At the time I was agnostic and it really breathed spiritually back into me," he told The Guardian in 2008.

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Comedic family, the Wayans, grew up as Jehovah’s witnesses. Keenen Ivory Wayans said in an interview to the Westword in 2013 that their strict household was a result of his father’s faith. “I don't think religion has as much impact on me, because my mom was not a Jehovah's Witness, and she would point out all of the funny and contradictory things about religion. So we had a unique, side-eye view on religion. My dad was the Jehovah's Witness. My mom was not, and there was always conflict about that. And that was part of the humor of my house. The clashes that ensued were priceless.”

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Actress Rashida Jones, daughter to mega music producer Quincy Jones and Mod Squad beauty Peggy Lipton, is an Ashkenazi Jew from her mother’s lineage. She attended a Montessori school growing up as told in American Jewish Life Magazine.

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Yasiin Bey, aka Mos Def, was introduced to Islam but his dad at age 13 and declared is faith at age 19. "If Islam's sole interest is the welfare of mankind, then Islam is the strongest advocate of human rights anywhere on Earth," he said in an interview with Beliefnet.

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Russell Simmons is a renowned Buddhist. He told Faith Street that “I’m a Buddhist. I practice yoga every day.  I practice religious yoga. I meditate twice a day. I’m a vegan. My brother says I’m a Christian Yogi. I like Jesus, Moses, Abraham. I believe the prophets came at different times. We’re all part of one body Yoga is 5,000 years old. It’s a textbook for happiness. I believe people are all the same and we are connected ultimately. Tolerance is not love but if you cannot do love then practice tolerance.”

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Sisters Venus and Serena Williams are tennis superstars. Serena has gone on record stating that she owes all her success to "Jehovah God." In 2007, she told The New York Times as reported by Huffington Post, “You have a strong solid foundation, tPhe Bible says, you won’t crack, but the man who built his house in the sand, his house went down spiritually. I have a really strong foundation. That’s how I was raised.”

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Drake was born to a African American father, Dennis, and a Jewish Canadian mother, Sandi. He celebrated his 13th birthday with a Bar Mitzvah!

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The creator of Girlfriends and Being Mary Jane, Mara Brock Akil and her husband Salim, are Muslims. She told The Hollywood Reporter in 2012 that she “believe[s] in divine order all the time." In her creative process, she said she "felt the presence of God all the way through. It was like it was meant to be."

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In 1999, Prince said his he feels complete" with the spirit of God [and] the knowledge of truth." Over the years, he has stated that his faith in Jehovah God helps him with his music and "other aspects of his life."