For celebrities, living a life of faith is usually a private affair. However, some decide to live their faith openly, and others convert from one faith to another, generating more headlines than usual. In every area of the entertainment industry, some musicians, actors, comedians and others have found what for them feels like a more livable form of faith and converted to a religion other than the one in which they were raised. Here are 10 celebrities who have embraced a new belief system.
Comedian Dave Chappelle made headlines when he abruptly walked away from his hit Comedy Central TV show and left for South Africa in 2005. Since his conversion to Islam in the late 1990s, Chappelle has taken a hiatus several times for self-reflection and calls his faith "a life-long effort" that now helps him set personal standards.
Actress Jane Fonda was raised in an agnostic home with a Christian Science background. When she converted to Christianity, her faith became one of the reasons she lost her marriage to media mogul Ted Turner who wanted no part of religion. Fonda credits her relationship with Christ and a commitment to prayer with changing the course of her life.
Richard Gere converted to the Buddhist faith in the 1970s after taking a tour of Nepal; however, he had already been pursuing a faith knowledge through the study of philosophy.
Although he is still a popular actor, he now considers his career secondary and spends a large portion of his time studying his faith and forwarding the cause of Tibetan freedom.
Eighties heartthrob Rick Schroder first found fame on the sitcom "Silver Spoons." As an adult, he eventually converted to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints thanks to the faith of his wife who was raised a Mormon. Schroder's career has continued to grow from acting into directing and writing, although he prefers to keep his faith and career separate from each other.
Wold heavyweight boxing champ Cassius Marcellus Clay Jr., converted to Islam in the 1960s and changed his name to Muhammad Ali. Very devout in his faith, he once said that he thought his path would lead him to be the "Muslim Billy Graham," but a Parkinson's diagnosis changed those plans. Despite his fighting background and some personal and political turbulence in his younger years, Ali's 2004 autobiography paints him now as a man of peace.
Willie Aames is best known in the mainstream world as "Buddy" on the '80s sitcom "Charles in Charge." In Christian circles, his career has taken a dramatic shift, and he is known as the original "Bibleman." He has talked openly about struggles with drugs, losing all his money and his career, depression and suicide. He found faith in Christ as an adult and credits that relationship with his ability to manage his struggles.
Actor, singer and dancer John Travolta converted from Catholicism to the Church of Scientology in 1975, when he was in his early 20s. Travolta's faith in Scientology has affected his career and his personal life, but he credits his faith with helping him work through struggles, like the death of his young son.
Former guitarist for the heavy metal band Korn, Brian "Head" Welch, walked away from one of the most successful bands in music history — and an addiction to crystal meth and a promiscuous rock 'n' roll lifestyle. After dedicating his life to Christ, Welch left it all behind despite being heavily and publicly ridiculed by his former friends in the music industry.
Actress Julia Roberts has long been considered "America's Sweetheart." Roberts was raised Catholic but more recently converted to the Hindu faith after filming "Eat, Pray, Love." After her own conversion, she also brought her three children into the faith.
Actress and American beauty Elizabeth Taylor was raised as a Christian Scientist but made headlines when she converted to Judaism at age 27 after studying the faith for six months. Following that, she lived her faith so publicly that her films were banned in the United Arab Republic and Egypt for her support of Israel.