Are Will Smith, Jada Pinkett Smith and Kimora Lee Simmons the new celebrity faces of Scientology? The case is certainly made in “Scientology Under Siege,” Radar magazine’s April cover story.
In the piece, the magazine said, “The Church has also set its sights on African Americans, opening up a center in Harlem in 2003 and making a strong play for Hollywood supercouple Will Smith and Jada Pinkett.”
Despite a fervent denial from Smith’s rep—“I can tell you with 100 percent certainty this is not true”—sources close to Smith earlier told this column that the actor definitely is becoming a member of the religion. “He’s been getting more and more involved (in Scientology),” said one source. “And it isn’t just him, it’s definitely Jada, too.”
“It’s not so much that anyone is upset that Will is becoming a Scientologist,” the source added after seeing a copy of the nine-page Radar piece. “It’s that as he becomes more involved, you’d think he’d sort of help fly the flag with Tom (Cruise), who seems to only get a bad rap for it, while Will does this and comes through just fine.”
As for Kimora Lee Simmons, the Radar piece makes the case for including her among the ranks of celebrity Scientologists. The magazine points to a 2006 gathering where Scientology leader David Miscavige “spoke glowingly of Kimora Lee Simmons’ efforts to distribute a personalized edition of Hubbard’s “The Way to Happiness,” featuring her image on the cover, to school kids in New Jersey.” Simmons’ rep said that the designer/model is not a Scientologist.
If you’re curious about the other celebs that take part in the religion, Radar covers that ground, too. Ones you’re probably aware of are Kirstie Alley, Lisa Marie Presley and Jenna Elfman.
Some you might not have known about include musician Beck, former “South Park” chef Isaac Hayes (Hayes reportedly quit the show after it spoofed the religion), Juliette Lewis, Giovanni Ribisi (whose sister happens to be married to Beck), FNC reporter Greta Van Susteren and the voice of Bart Simpson, Nancy Cartwright.
Editor’s note: Msnbc.com was not contacted by Sony executives or Will Smith’s publicist about removing this item.
Weekend box office Horton certainly wasn’t alone this weekend when it came to hearing Whos: The newest Dr. Seuss adaptation took in an impressive $45 million at the box office this past weekend. That was enough for “Horton Hears a Who!” to handily take the No. 1 spot at the box office and have the best opening weekend thus far of 2008. The other new films of the weekend were “Never Back Down,” which made $8.6 million and took the No. 3 spot, and “Doomsday,” which made $4.7 million to take the No. 7 spot.
Celebrity sightings In L.A.: “Project Runway” winner Christian Soriano at dinner at Dakota in the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel; Nicky Hilton and boyfriend David Katzenberg dining at Beverly Hills restaurant La Scala just before Hilton’s fashion show during L.A. Fashion Week; Ellen DeGeneres and Portia de Rossi enjoyed a date night at Il Sole. Also at Il Sole, fresh from a performance in Toronto, Josh Groban dined with Hollywood producer Guy Oseary; Ali Larter, Joy Bryant and Rosanna Arquette were spotted enjoying the mini grilled cheeses and bite-size desserts from Patina catering at the W Magazine and Los Angeles County Museum of Art Inaugural Avante-Garde Gala.
In Las Vegas, art imitated life at the Playboy Club when Kate Bosworth and Jim Sturgis settled in to play $50 per hand blackjack. Bosworth and Sturgis co-star in the upcoming “21,” which is based on the true story of six MIT students who counted cards and won millions in Vegas before the feds caught them. Ben Stiller and Robert Downey Jr. were spotted at KOI at a party for their upcoming movie “Tropic Thunder.”
In New York, Niki Taylor was spotted sipping Chandon sparkling champagne at her surprise birthday party at Natrona Gallery, which was thrown by Bravo and her show, “Make Me a Supermodel.” Blake Lively hit Armani Exchange for a little shopping spree. The actress has also been spotted around town with Hint water in hand.