Matt Willis reveals 'weird' Church of Scientology tried to break up his marriage to wife Emma after joining post-rehab

WHILE the Church of Scientology has been dubbed “the star-studded sect” thanks to its roster of Hollywood devotees including Tom Cruise and John Travolta, the shadowy cult has yet to convert a major British celebrity.

But Busted bassist and I’m A Celebrity winner Matt Willis has now revealed he secretly became a Scientologist while in recovery from drug and alcohol addiction.

And he claims he was harassed by the so-called “totalitarian organisation” — which believes humans are immortal spiritual beings and has faced accusations of brainwashing — when he tried to leave.

The singer said he became “fully invested” in Scientology and made daily visits to its London head-quarters until he claims the movement tried to separate him from his wife, The Voice and The Circle host Emma Willis.

Matt, 37, said: “I was fresh out of rehab, a bit lost in the world. I was walking down Tottenham Court Road and I got approached by a guy who asked me a few simple questions.

“Before I knew it, the next week I arrived at the doors to the Scientology building. Every single day I went there. I bought different books and did different courses. I was in.

“I was very close to being dressed like them because I was suddenly very aware that I was underdressed when I was going there.

“I was like, ‘I think I might need to put a shirt and tie on’.

“They buddied me up with a young guy who was very, very involved. His mum and dad were part of the big leagues. We did some one-to-one work, all questions about my life — what’s going on, what’s holding me back and holding my potential back?

“What I was taking from it was that your environment, your friends and the people you’re closest to are your problem. I was like, ‘What are you f***ing getting at here?’

“They were like, ‘There’s someone in your life who’s actually draining you, who’s a negative force, and it’s normally the person closest to you’. And it’s like, ‘I think they’re trying to split my f***ing marriage up now’.

“They were trying to force this weird opinion on me. When I look back at it, I was like, ‘Are you trying to separate me from everybody else?’

“Then you’re fully in because you’ve got no family or friends and your family and friends are the Church of Scientology. It took me a while to go, ‘Wait a sec, what the f*** is this?’

“They didn’t want me to f***ing leave. They brought other people in when I was talking about it to talk about what concerns I may have.

“I just never went back, stopped picking up my phone to them. But they rang me every day for a month and they drop into my texts every six months, eight months, out the blue, like, ‘Hey, Matt, how are you doing?’”

Scientology was invented by American sci-fi author L Ron Hubbard in the 1950s and its followers believe humans are vessels for beings called Thetans, frozen souls left on Earth by the galactic power Xenu.

However it wasn’t the teachings that Matt was drawn to, but rather the chance to overhaul his life after leaving rehab in 2008.

He said: “When you come out of somewhere like that, you step out into the big, bad world again and you don’t want to go to the places you used to go to, you don’t want to mix with the people you used to mix with.

“You want to try and do everything you can to stop taking drugs, and that’s one of the big things Scientology is about — ‘not drugs’.

“One of the guys came up to me. He was in a suit. He was like, ‘How’s life? Are you happy?’ I was like, ‘Wow, I’ve just spent three months in therapy, but I haven’t really been asked that’.

“In recovery, there is this big thing about a higher power. I didn’t have one. I didn’t have any religion, I didn’t have a parental figure, nothing I could latch on to, so I was looking, actively searching for something to fing hand my life over to, and there they were.”

Matt was taken into a building and underwent a Scientology process called “auditing”, which claims to “locate areas of spiritual distress” with the help of a “religious artefact” called an E-meter that detects “harmful energy” within the body.

Describing himself as “an idiot who got hoodwinked by some guy with a fairground trick”, Matt recalled: “I held these metal things and he tested me and I suddenly realised I was in somewhere called the Church of Scientology. I didn’t know anything about it.

“I answered some questions and a little dial moved and I was like, ‘Wow, what’s this?’ They said to me, ‘We think we can help you. You do a simple course and you come out the other end a different person’. I was like, ‘Cool, all right, sounds good’. Little commitment. Fine.”

However, Matt says he felt under pressure immediately after the test, as other church members had discovered there was a celebrity in their midst.

Recruiting famous faces has been a core practice of Scientology since the start.. As well as Tom Cruise and John Travolta, The Handmaid’s Tale actress Elisabeth Moss, Cheers icon Kirstie Alley and Nancy Cartwright, the voice of Bart Simpson, are among its notable followers.

Matt said: “Two people met me on the way out to ask me how it was and they were very aware of who I was. And then it got a little bit more serious.”

Matt claims to have spent £290 on initial courses, and while he didn’t confirm how much he spent on books, former Scientologists have claimed a package of basic material costs £2,900.

And he soon discovered he would be required to fork out more and more on Scientology’s Bridge To Total Freedom, an outline of costly processes that the church says are required to “attain the ultimate in spiritual enlightenment” by becoming an “Operating Thetan”.

Individual members of the church, which is worth an estimated £1.3billion, have donated hundreds of millions to try to reach this state in what critics have dubbed a “ruthless global scam”.

Matt said: “I thought I was going to come out of it like, ‘You just need to believe in yourself more’.

“Oh no. I just need to buy some more s**t and then I can get some more s*** and then I had to buy something else because I’m not ready until I get this one. I was like, ‘What the f***?’”

Matt also started to become disillusioned with Scientology after being allegedly exposed to propaganda that called psychology “the devil’s work”.

He has credited therapy with helping him overcome addiction issues that began at the age of seven. He went to rehab three times between 2005 and 2008, and told The Sun in 2017 there were “a couple more [stints] that no one knew about”.

He said: “I was like, ‘I’ve just been in multiple rehab centres talking to psychologists who pretty much saved my life.’

“They were like, ‘No, Matt, what you don’t understand is that’s how they get you and before you know it they’re prescribing you drugs and you’re hooked on to their prescription for ever’. Weird place “I was like, ‘Dude, I’m a drug addict. They can’t prescribe me anything. They actively tell me not to take Nurofen. What the f*** are you talking about, bro?’

“But then I realised, ‘Wow, you’re scared of this’. Because in every weird cult or religion they’re super against the one thing that can prove it’s b****ks. Psychology proves all their techniques are unscientific bulls***.”

Matt left the church after three months of study following a “big row”, but until recently he kept hold of Dianetics, the Scientology bible written by L Ron Hubbard.

He admitted on his podcast When No One’s Watching, which he co-hosts with comedian Matt Richardson: “I only chucked Dianetics away about two years ago. I was like, ‘I’m going to f***ing read that one day’. “I tried to. It is f***ing enormous and really boring. I got about eight pages in. It doesn’t make any sense.”

And he had a warning about Scientology: “It’s a very, very weird place, so if anyone’s thinking about checking it out, I would advise against it.”

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