12. Paul Haggis
In 2009, Oscar-winning film director Paul Haggis publicly denounced Scientology after being a member of the church for 35 years. He remains the church’s highest-profile renouncer. His membership, together with the controversies surrounding the religion, almost threatened to eclipse his illustrious career as a film director and screenwriter. Haggis’ departure was widely influenced by the church’s stance on gay rights as it asserted that the only legal marriage should be between heterosexual couples.
He claims that his eyes were opened after he started reading about other alleged abuses and atrocities committed by Scientology. Haggis said his decision took a lot of courage as the church is notoriously punitive and litigious.