But Busted bassist and I’m A Celebrity winner Matt Willis has now revealed he secretly became a Scientologist as he recovers from his drug and alcohol addiction.
And he claims to have been harassed by the so-called “totalitarian organization” – which believes humans are immortal spirit beings and has faced brainwashing charges – when he tried to leave.
The singer said he had “fully invested” in Scientology and went to his London headquarters on a daily basis until he said the movement was trying to separate him from his wife, the host. of The Voice and The Circle, Emma Willis.
Matt, 37, said: “I was fresh out of rehab, a little lost in the world. I was walking on Tottenham Court Road and was approached by a guy who asked me a few simple questions.
“Before I knew it, the following week I arrived at the gates of the Scientology building. Every day I have been there. I bought different books and took different courses. I was in it.
“I was very close to being dressed like them because I suddenly realized that I was poorly dressed when I went there.
“I was like, ‘I think I might need to put on a shirt and tie.’
“They matched me with a very, very involved young man. His mother and father were part of the big leagues. We did individual work, all the questions about my life – what is going on, what is holding me back and holding back my potential?
“What I got out of that was that your surroundings, your friends and the people you are closest to are your problem. I was like, “What are you getting at here? ”
“They were like, ‘There is someone in your life who is really exhausting you, who is a negative force, and that is normally the person closest to you. And it’s like, “I think they’re trying to break up my fucking marriage now.”
“They were trying to force this strange opinion on me. Looking back on it, I was like, ‘Are you trying to separate me from everyone?’
“So you are fully engaged because you have no family or friends and your family and friends are the Church of Scientology. It took me a while to say, “Wait a second, what the hell is this?” ”
“They didn’t want me to go. They brought in other people when I was talking about it to talk about any concerns I might have.
“I never went back, I stopped taking my phone from them. But they called me every day for a month and they come across my texts every six months, eight months, out of the blue, like, ‘Hey, Matt, how are you?’ “
Scientology was invented by American science fiction author L Ron Hubbard in the 1950s, and his followers believe humans are vessels for beings called Thetans, frozen souls left on Earth by the galactic power Xenu.
However, it was not the teachings that attracted Matt, but rather the chance to review his life after leaving rehab in 2008.
He said, “When you come out of a place like that, you go out to the big, bad world again and you don’t want to go to the places you were going, you don’t want to mix with the people you had there. you usually mix with it.
“You want to try and do whatever you can to quit drugs, and that’s one of the great things in Scientology – ‘not drugs’.
“One of the guys came up to me. He was in costume. He was like, ‘How’s life? Are you happy?’ I was like, “Wow, I just spent three months in therapy, but I wasn’t really asked that.”
“In recovery there’s this big problem about higher horsepower. I didn’t have one. I had no religion, I had no parental figure, nothing I could hold onto, so I was looking, actively looking for something to surrender my life to, and there they were.
Matt was taken to a building and underwent a Scientology process called an “audit,” which claims to “locate areas of spiritual distress” using a “religious artifact” called an E-meter that detects “the harmful energy ‘in the body.
Describing himself as “an idiot who got cheated by a guy with a fairground trick”, Matt recalls, “I held these metal objects and he tested me and suddenly realized that I was in a place called the Church of Scientology. I didn’t know.
“I answered a few questions and a little dial moved and I was like, ‘Wow, what is this?’ They said to me, “We think we can help you. You do a simple class and you come out on the other side of a different person ”. I was like, “Cool, okay, that sounds good”. Little commitment. Fine. “
However, Matt says he felt pressured immediately after the test as other church members discovered there was a celebrity among them.
Recruiting famous faces has been a fundamental practice of Scientology from the beginning. Besides Tom Cruise and John Travolta, actress Elisabeth Moss of The Handmaid’s Tale, Cheers icon Kirstie Alley and Nancy Cartwright, the voice of Bart Simpson, are among his notable followers. .
Matt said: “Two people met me on the way out to ask me what it was like and they knew very well who I was. And then it got a little more serious.
Matt claims he spent £ 290 on the initial courses, and although he has not confirmed how much he spent on books, former Scientologists have said a basic material package costs £ 2,900.
And he soon discovered that he would be forced to shell out more and more on Scientology’s Bridge to Total Freedom, a glimpse into the costly processes that the Church says are necessary to “attain ultimate spiritual enlightenment” by becoming an “operative Thetan”.
Individual church members, worth an estimated £ 1.3 billion, have donated hundreds of millions to try to reach this state in what critics have called a ‘ruthless global scam’.
Matt said, “I thought I was going to come out like, ‘You just need to believe in yourself more.’
” Oh no. I just need to buy some more shit and then I can have more and then I had to buy something else because I’m not ready until I got this one. I was like, ‘What the f***? ‘»
Matt also began to be disappointed with Scientology after being allegedly exposed to propaganda that called psychology “the work of the devil.”
He admitted that therapy had helped him overcome addiction issues that had started at the age of seven. He went to rehab three times between 2005 and 2008 and told The Sun in 2017 that there were “a few more. [stints] that nobody knew ”.
He said: “I was like, ‘I just went to several rehabilitation centers talking to psychologists who practically saved my life.’
“They were like, ‘No, Matt, what you don’t understand is how they catch you and before you know it they’re prescribing you drugs and you’re addicted to their prescription forever.’ Weird place “I was like, ‘Dude, I’m a drug addict. They can’t prescribe anything to me. They actively tell me not to take Nurofen. What are you talking about, my brother?
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“But then I realized, ‘Wow, you’re scared of that. Because in every cult or weird religion, they’re great against the one thing that can prove that’s bullshit. Psychology proves that all of their techniques are *** unscientific bulls.
Matt left the church after three months of study after a “big argument,” but until recently he has kept his hands on Dianetics, the Scientology bible written by L. Ron Hubbard.
He admitted on his When No One’s Watching podcast, which he co-hosts with comedian Matt Richardson, “I only threw out Dianetics about two years ago. I was like, ‘I’m gonna f *** ing read this someday’. ” I tried to. It’s f *** ing huge and really boring. I have about eight pages. It does not mean anything.
And he had a warning about Scientology: “It’s a very, very strange place, so if anyone is considering checking it out, I would advise against it.”