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Michael Pena: Scientology ‘Made Me a Better Actor’

Michael Peña is a Scientologist — and proud of it. The Martian actor, 40, opened up about his experience with the controversial Church of Scientology in a new interview with The Guardian.

Peña began practicing Scientology in 2000 as a way to address his drinking. “I wasn’t an alcoholic, but I was doing it too much,” he explained. “And then there was the next thing, and the next thing. For me, it isn’t religion like a belief; it’s practical things you do.”

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Peña took part in its detox program Purification Rundown. Afterward, he went on to join a program called Study Tech to improve his reading. He credits the courses for helping him with his movie scripts. “[It] made me a better actor,” he told The Guardian.

Other famous, practicing members of the Church of Scientology include Tom Cruise, John Travolta, Kirstie Alley, Laura Prepon, Erika Christensen, Jenna Elfman and Elisabeth Moss.

Michael Pena
Michael Pena on Sept. 8, 2016, in Deauville, France. Francois G. Durand/Getty Images

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Peña is happy that he joined the Church of Scientology, but is fully aware of its contentious nature. “But I don’t read that stuff,” the CHiPs star told The Guardian. “OK, imagine we’re friends, you and me. Buddies. And there’s a tabloid story about you. There’s no way I’m going to read some f—king tabloid story about you. Especially when I know it’s misinformed.”

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Some of those so-called misinformed stories come from ex-Scientologists. In recent years, actress Leah Remini and director Paul Haggis left the Church of Scientology. The King of Queens alum bashed her experience with the Church in her tell-all, Troublemaker: Surviving Hollywood and Scientology, and Haggis took part in the 2015 documentary Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief.

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