Hillsong Church began as a modest Assemblies of God church in Australia, and steadily grew to locations in over 30 countries boasting 150,000 attendees a week. As Hillsong increased in size, so did its many controversies. The founder, Frank Houston, left the church after it was revealed he had a history of sexually abusing young boys within the church. His son, Brian Houston, helped conceal this from the proper authorities while taking over for his father.
One of the church's lead pastors, Carl Lentz, was fired when it was discovered he engaged in several extramarital affairs and was accused of sexual harassment by his former nanny. A new Discovery Plus documentary, Hillsong: A Megachurch Exposed, will touch on these controversies as well as some of the church's more famous members. What celebrities have attended Hillsong Church? Grab a glass of water, er wine, and let's get into it.
GQ did a profile on Hillsong Church and named a few celebrities who have attended services, including he of the many pairs of sunglasses, U2's frontman Bono. As a devout Christian, Bono has never shied away from discussing his beliefs. In a 2017 interview with Fuller Studio, he said, "We don't have to please God in any other way than to be brutally honest; that is the root not only to a relationship with God but the root to a great song...or any work of art of merit."
Justin and Hailey Bieber
Remember when Justin Bieber went through his wild phase? In 2013, he was racing his Ferrari around the gated community where he was living, and who can forget when he urinated in a mop bucket while at a restaurant? It was then that he reconnected with his faith via Hillsong Church and Carl Lentz. After getting back on track, he also found Hailey Bieber (then Baldwin) at a Hillsong conference in Miami. The two previously dated and were members of the church and the Cult of Carl.
While their relationship was going strong, the one with Hillsong was not. When Carl Lentz was fired from Hillsong in November 2020, it didn't take long for Justin and Hailey to quietly unfollow him on Instagram. According to Vanity Fair, in January 2021 Justin (and we assume Hailey) made the breakup official via an Instagram story where he wrote Hillsong is no longer his church. He is now part of Churchome, another megachurch.
According to Vanity Fair, Selena Gomez found Hillsong Church at a young age when she was navigating being thrust into the limelight as a teenager. She also attended services with on-again-off-again boyfriend Justin Bieber, before he married Hailey. However, much like the Biebers, she also stopped attending Hillsong after Carl Letz was fired.
Chris Pratt and Katherine Schwarzenegger
The public became aware of Chris Pratt's involvement in Hillsong Church when he famously went on The Late Show With Stephen Colbert in February 2019 and openly discussed his faith. While he never specifically mentioned Hillsong during that appearance, Chris has been seen attending services at Hillsong. After his appearance on Colbert, Elliot Page tweeted about it, asking, "Oh. K. Um. But his church is infamously anti LGBTQ so maybe address that too?"
Pratt responded by posting an Instagram story saying, "Nothing could be further from the truth." He went on to do that thing where he claims his beliefs are one thing, and the place where he goes that espouses awful beliefs are not his, despite still attending. Brian Houston, the disgraced senior pastor and founder of Hillsong (who recently resigned), once said, "We are a gay-welcoming church, but we are not a church that affirms a gay lifestyle." That doesn't sound very welcoming.
As far as Katherine goes, she and Chris have said they met at church, but it's never been confirmed if Hillsong was the church. We do know that as recently as June 2020, she was on the Hillsong YouTube channel promoting her book: The Gift of Forgiveness: Inspiring Stories From Those Who Have Overcome the Unforgivable.
Kourtney Kardashian and Travis Barker
Long before Kourtney Kardashian and Travis Barker were officially a couple, they were officially going to church together, which sounds like the least fun date imaginable. In September 2018, the Daily Mail reported seeing them en route to a Hillsong service which was immediately followed by dinner at Travis's vegan restaurant, Crossroads. No chance anyone is eating the body of Christ there!
In 2017, Kyrie Irving was playing basketball for the Cleveland Cavaliers when he sought advice from Carl Lentz about whether or not to leave the team (per TMZ Sports). Ultimately, based on whatever Carl suggested, Kyrie decided it was time to move on and ended up playing for the Celtics. Perhaps the advice was bad, because he only stayed a year and ended up playing for the Brooklyn Nets where he remains to this day.
"When I came out of the water, I just felt different," he said. "Basketball is so important to me and I carry that emotion with me all of the time, and before [my baptism] I would be so mad at the smallest things. My coaches, my teammates, my fans. After [being baptized], I was just so positive."
Like Kyrie, Kevin also received career advice from Carl, such as when he signed a sports management deal with Jay-Z.