Besides Kanye West, These Stars Have Dark Past Before Turning Religious

Thanks to a spiritual awakening moment, some celebrities who have dealt with mental health issues or legal problems manage to walk away from their dark history.

AceShowbiz - While for some people, their beliefs were instilled since they were kids, some others discovered their faiths later in life. In some cases, this spiritual journey involves going through bad ordeals, before someone later has a moment of enlightenment and accepts God in her/his life.

One star who lately has been proudly declaring his newfound faith is Kanye West. More than two years after his 2016 mental breakdown that led to the cancellation of his the "Saint Pablo Tour", the rapper re-affirmed his Christian faith on Twitter in January 2019.

In September, his wife Kim Kardashian described how Kanye's Christian new birth experience helped him deal with his mental health issue. "Kanye started this to really heal himself and it was a really personal thing, and it was just friends and family...He has had an amazing evolution of being born again and being saved by Christ," she shared.

The "Black Skinhead" rapper later shares his spiritual experience with others by hosting weekly Sunday Service at various locations. Further showing his new self, the 42-year-old released "Jesus Is King", which marks his first Christian hip-hop album.

Before Kanye's transformative experience, here are other celebrities who are saved from their dark past with their newfound faith.

1. Chris Pratt

Chris Pratt
WENN/Dave Starbuck/Future Imag

Chris Pratt's faith that he found later in life might have led him to many good things, including his successful acting career and his meeting with his now-wife Katherine Schwarzenegger. But before then, he was a slacker young guy who dropped out of community college and ended up being homeless in Maui, Hawaii.

Working as a daytime stripper and a bartender to make his ends meet, his life was all about drugs, alcohol and partying before he was approached by a man outside of a grocery store who told him God told him to speak to Chris. The man brought Chris to church with him and he later worked for Christian missionary organization Jews for Jesus. Shortly after that, he was cast for a role in short horror film "Cursed Part 3" that became the beginning of his acting career.

2. Justin Bieber

Justin Bieber

Having found fame at early age, Justin Bieber was easily carried away in hedonistic lifestyle. In a September 2019 Instagram post where he opened up about his depression, the Canadian pop star admitted he took "pretty heavy drugs," "abused" his relationships and "became resentful, disrespectful to women and angry," not to mention his antics which included peeing in public and taunting Orlando Bloom. He went on confessing, "By 20 I made every bad decision you could have thought of."

His life continued to spiral out of control, leading to him taking a break from the music industry in March of this year. But he slowly regained control of his life, with the help of his religion and his marriage to Hailey Baldwin. The 25-year-old singer, who was baptized in January 2014 after a born again experience, said, "God is pulling me through a hard season. Having trust in Jesus at your worst times is the absolute hardest." On how he defined his faith, the "Sorry" hitmaker explained, "I believe in the story of Jesus -- that's the simplicity of what I believe. But I don't believe in all the religious elitism and pretentiousness, like people are better than you because they come to church."

3. MC Hammer

MC Hammer

MC Hammer has always been a Christian, praising God in his songs and joining ministry. But he strayed away during his mainstream success. Unsurprisingly, he soon fell from grace and was forced to declare bankruptcy in 1996 with nearly $14 million in debt. His downfall, combined with several other wake-up calls, including the death of his friend Tupac Shakur, triggered a rediscovery of faith.

The rapper, born Stanley Kirk Burrell, reaffirmed his beliefs in October 2017 and left the industry to rediscover and strengthen his relationship with God. "Previously, being a prodigal son took me away from the relationship that I once knew. There came a point where I wanted to just get back home. Get back to the place ... I once had in my relationship with Jesus," he said. The "U Can't Touch This" hitmaker is now an ordained minister.

4. Alice Cooper

Alice Cooper

Behind his grunge metal look, Alice Cooper is a devout Christian who has been leading himself clean from alcohol since mod-1980s. Unlike many whose straight life begins with a rediscovery of faith, the rocker admitted he was not a Christian when he gave up booze more than three decades ago. He, however, credited God for "taking it away," saying, "I mean if He [God] can part the Red Sea and create the universe, He can certainly take alcoholism away from somebody."

The 71-year-old musician, who has been helping and counseling other rockers with addiction problems since overcoming his own alcohol addiction, also talked about his faith in an interview with CNS News. "Before, you're always self-centered, everything is always for you, yourself is God," he said on the difference his faith has made in his life. "Humans make lousy gods, we have to let God be God and us be what we are."

5. Michael Vick

Michael Vick

Michael Vick had a gleaming career as a professional football player with one of the highest annual incomes for an athlete in 2006. But the wrong circle and some bad advice led him to make poor judgment, both personally and financially, landing him in financial trouble and legal issue for dog fighting activities at a property he owned in rural Surry County in southeastern Virginia.

It was during his 23-month jail stint that he recovered his relationship with God, beginning with his reading of Psalm 23. The former NFL star, who said his mother's advice had a profound impact on his faith, also got assistance from former NFL coach and current NBC football analyst Tony Dungy in his quest for God. After his release in 2009, Michael made a comeback in the NFL until his retirement in 2017. He is now a FOX Sports analyst and is advocating for the proper treatment of animals.

6. Mark Wahlberg

Mark Wahlberg

Many know Mark Wahlberg as a successful actor and family man who relatively stays out of trouble, but he was far from having a clean sheet during his youth. He would skip schools and had several run-ins with the law, including a conviction of assault and theft when he was 16. It was during his time in jail that he decided to change his life for the better by focusing on his faith.

"I had to make the choice personally, and then I had to focus on my faith," he said in an interview with Piers Morgan several years ago. "Once I focused on my faith wonderful things started happening for me. And I don't mean professionally - that's not what it's about," he added about how his life changed after put God at the center of his life. "For me to sit down and ask for material things is ridiculous. It's a much bigger picture than that."

7. Kendrick Lamar

Kendrick Lamar
WENN/Adriana M. Barraza

Raised in Compton, California, Kendrick Lamar was bound to taste street crimes in the neighborhood. He witnessed several murders, including one that cost the life of his uncle. He enjoyed smoking weed and later gave up this habit, but it was the death of his friend that became a moment of enlightenment for the rapper. He converted afterwards and often credited God for his fame and his deliverance from crime that often plagued Compton in the 1990s.

"I got a greater purpose," he said of channeling his spirit through his music. "God put something in my heart to get across and that's what I'm going to focus on, using my voice as an instrument and doing what needs to be done." He also praised God for his career in music industry, "This is truly a blessing from a higher power and as long as I understand that there’s really no limitations to what I can do. Everything is forward with me."

8. Mike Tyson

Mike Tyson

Speaking of a dark past, none of the above mentioned stars hit the bottom as low as Mike Tyson. Once an undisputed world heavyweight champion, he brought shame to his name with drug addiction, rape allegations and mismanaged finance that led him to declare bankruptcy, in addition to the infamous ear-biting incident during a fight with Evander Holyfield.

But the retired boxer turned his life around by converting to Islam while serving his six-year sentence in prison for the rape of an 18-year-old girl. He adopted the Muslim name Malik Abdul Aziz, while some others reported this name as Malik Shabazz. "I'm very grateful to be a Muslim. Allah doesn't need me, I need Allah," he told Fox News about his religion, adding that he's constantly trying to be humble.

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