The truth about Brad Pitt and scientology

Scientology is not very well understood, but that is precisely what makes it so controversial. The religion has reportedly been associated with deaths, disappearances, and breakdowns — and more often than not, the organization has responded by trying to sweep the issues under the rug instead of fully explaining them. Part of what makes Scientology such a constant source of fixation, apart from the scandals, is the number of celebrities who swear by the practice; John Travolta, Tom Cruise, Elisabeth Moss, and Juliette Lewis are all Scientologists.

It was Juliette Lewis who first introduced Brad Pitt to the group in the early 1990s. The two were dating at the time, and Lewis reportedly brought Pitt to the Scientology Celebrity Center in Portland. Pitt was subjected to a bizarre procedure known as a "purification rundown," which, when you look at the details, doesn't sound all that pure. While Pitt didn't stay in the church long, let's explore what we know about Brad Pitt's time with Scientology.

Inside Brad Pitt's "bull baiting" sessions

Brad Pitt dabbled with Scientology for about three years when he was introduced to the group by his then-girlfriend, Juliette Lewis, and went through a "purification rundown." In the practice, people are often paired with a buddy, called a "twin," for the duration of the rundown. Pitt's "twin," according to The Sun, was a teenage girl who was "the daughter of an established Scientologist." The buddies are responsible for helping each other through the process, which reportedly takes about a month and includes spending up to five hours per day in a sauna, in addition to high doses of vitamins and exercise.

The turning point for Pitt's time in Scientology was during a "bull baiting" session, wherein the participant is basically verbally abused at length. Michael Mallen, Pitt's former Scientology supervisor, described it like this: "'[a] coach' tries to get the student to react by pushing the student's 'buttons.'" Mallen apparently insulted Pitt to the point that prompted Pitt to just walk out and leave, and he had to be chased down by Juliette Lewis, which he was thankful for. "No one wants a celebrity to leave," Mallen explained. "If he hadn't come back, I'd have been in big trouble." Though Pitt did come back that day, he reportedly left for good in 1993 and hasn't spoken publicly about his experience with Scientology since.