Jason Lee revealed in a new interview that he’s left the Church of Scientology. The My Name Is Earl alum, 46, began practicing the religion in the early ’90s.
Lee made the revelation while giving an update on his life to a local news site, The Dentonite. The actor moved to Denton, Texas, for a quieter lifestyle with his wife, Ceren Alkac, and their daughter, Casper, 8, and son Sonny, 4, in 2015. (Lee and his ex-fiancée Beth Riesgraf share son Pilot, 12.)
“I haven’t purchased anything in Denton. That was never really the plan. But I do rent a little photo office space. It’s nice to have a place away from home for scanning and editing my film photos, listening to records and just being around my cameras and books and whatnot,” Lee told the outlet.
“If Ceren and I had an idea for a business, it certainly wouldn’t happen at the cost of someone else’s,” he continued. “And being that we don’t practice Scientology, and that we aren’t particularly interested in opening religious centers in general, we have no plans to open a Scientology center. Quite a few rumors about me/us floating around, but none of it’s true. We’re not here to buy up or change or take over Denton, put some kind of personal stamp on it. We’re just here like anyone else who wants to be a part of Denton’s very cool creative community, and to be involved and perhaps help where we can.”
Last year, Lee’s ex-wife, Carmen Llywelyn, wrote a scathing open letter about Scientology, blaming the religion for their split. She joined the church in 1995 and left when they divorced in 2001. She claimed that Lee was first introduced to Scientology by his ex-girlfriend Marissa Ribisi. The actress and her husband, Grammy-winning singer-songwriter Beck, are Scientologists. (Beck, 46, was born into the faith through his parents, Bibbe Hansen and David Campbell.)
“I started to feel like he was forcing Scientology on me, past the point where I didn’t want to go any further. He would never stop talking about it,” Llywelyn told Gawker at the time. “It became a source of contention, and I realized that unless I accepted Scientology the way he did and the way he wanted me to, we would most likely cease to know each another.”
Lee, of course, isn’t the first celebrity who has parted ways with the Church of Scientology. Leah Remini and director Paul Haggis have both famously walked away, and have been outspoke about their experiences within the church. Last year, King of Queens alum Remini, 46, gave her side in her controversial tell-all, Troublemaker: Surviving Hollywood and Scientology. Oscar-winner Haggis, 63, meanwhile, opened up in the documentary Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief.
Famous stars who continue to practice the religion include Tom Cruise, Kirstie Alley, John Travolta, Erika Christensen, Elisabeth Moss, Jenna Elfman and Danny Masterson.
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