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youtube.com/Yahoo Entertainment | Getty Images
Source: youtube.com/Yahoo Entertainment | Getty Images

Christopher Reeve aka 'Superman' Never Believed in God & Once Admitted He Didn't Pray

Christell Fatima M. Tudtud
Nov 14, 2021
05:40 P.M.
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The late actor Christopher Reeve attended church with his family as a child. But that childhood routine changed, and he turned away from God, who he described as "a scary guy." Take a look inside his faith.

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Renowned actor Christopher Reeve was one of the most brilliant and handsome stars in Hollywood. His dashing looks and chiseled figure earned him the iconic movie role "Superman."

Christopher played the titular role in 1978, 1980, 1983, and 1987. His character, also known as Clark Kent, is known for his extraordinary strength and powers and is often described as the "Man of Steel."

Left: Christopher Reeve as Superman in 1978. Right: Christopher Reeve speaks during a dedication ceremony for the University of Miami School of Medicine's Lois Pope Life Center in Florida on October 26, 2000. | Photo: youtube.com/Yahoo Entertainment | Getty Images

Left: Christopher Reeve as Superman in 1978. Right: Christopher Reeve speaks during a dedication ceremony for the University of Miami School of Medicine's Lois Pope Life Center in Florida on October 26, 2000. | Photo: youtube.com/Yahoo Entertainment | Getty Images

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CHRISTOPHER'S TRAGIC ACCIDENT

Sadly, Christopher's immense popularity dropped abruptly in 1995. Then 43-year-old actor accidentally fell from a horse during an equestrian competition in Culpeper, Virginia.

He sustained a severe head and spinal injury, which led him to become paralyzed from his neck down. He spent the rest of his life in a wheelchair and on a ventilator since that accident.

In his 1999 memoir "Still Me," Christopher contemplated suicide a few days after the accident, but he changed his mind when he imagined the faces of his late wife, Dana, dissuading him.

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Dana, a singer, and actress wed the actor in 1992. Christopher noted in his memoir that his wife assured him she would support him and be with him throughout his ordeal. Christopher's book read:

"She added the words that saved my life: 'You're still you. And I love you.'"

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Reeve also revealed that because of the grave injuries he suffered from the horseback riding competition, his mother, Barbara, begged his doctors to withdraw his life support.

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Christopher was an adventurous actor. Besides joining competitive horseback riding, he enjoyed participating in extreme sports, such as skiing, sailing, and scuba diving.

In a 1998 CNN interview, Christopher revealed to renowned TV host Larry King that a couple of my family members wanted to shoot the horse as it led him to live a challenging life.

The "Switching Channels" actor said he refused to let his family kill the horse and asked them to let the animal live a nice life. The horse was under a new owner living in the north of Boston.

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FAITH AND SCIENTOLOGY

Contrary to his famous superhero character, Christopher was not a man who had steel-like faith in God. He admitted to the renowned host that he didn't believe in God, telling Larry:

"Well, believe it or not, I think that, y'know, God is not an entity..."

The acclaimed actor recounted that he used to go to church with his family as a kid. At the church, he heard sermons about vengeance as well as God's "terrible swift sword and His army."

A close-up photo of Christopher Reeve taken in New York in 1970. | Photo: Getty Images

A close-up photo of Christopher Reeve taken in New York in 1970. | Photo: Getty Images

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Hearing the religious discourse at the church, Christopher told larry he thought about God as a "kind of a scary guy." Later, King clarified whether the "Superman" star was an atheist.

Christopher said he was spiritual and believed in a "higher power." Likewise, the "Somewhere in Time" actor did not believe in life lessons or that the accident had a purpose.

When Larry asked whether he prayed to God, Christopher thought the act of praying was "hypocritical." From not having faith in God, he eventually found belief in Scientology.

Christopher Reeve looks over the Mediterranean Sea on August 1, 2003 in Tel Aviv, Israel. | Photo: Getty Images

Christopher Reeve looks over the Mediterranean Sea on August 1, 2003 in Tel Aviv, Israel. | Photo: Getty Images

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In his 2002 memoir, "Nothing Is Impossible: Reflections on a New Life," Christopher joined Scientology, a controversial religious movement popular among celebrities.

The "Street Smart" actor noted that he became a skeptic during his time in Scientology, whose well-known members include Jerry Seinfeld, Tom Cruise, Nicole Kidman, and Katie Holmes.

He said he lied about a past incarnation that was a story from Greek mythology. He left the organization, adding that the group's "blatant fabrication" devalued his faith.

Christopher Reeve at Capitol Hill April 26, 2000 in Washington, DC. | Photo: Getty Images

Christopher Reeve at Capitol Hill April 26, 2000 in Washington, DC. | Photo: Getty Images

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FAITH IN FAMILY, MEDICAL RESEARCH

Although he left Scientology, Christopher restored his faith in his family and medical research. He was filled with determination to overcome his paralysis.

His recovery led him to accomplish a lot, including advocating for medical research.

Through electrical shocks and countless exercises, the "Morning Glory" actor began to regain control over his numb nervous system. Twitch-by-twitch, he successfully regained some movements.

Christopher Reeve attends the SuperSkate VI charity hockey event benefiting the Rangers Cheering For Children and Christopher Reeve Paralysis Foundation charities on January 25, 2004 in New York City. | Photo: Getty Images

Christopher Reeve attends the SuperSkate VI charity hockey event benefiting the Rangers Cheering For Children and Christopher Reeve Paralysis Foundation charities on January 25, 2004 in New York City. | Photo: Getty Images

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With his body improvements, Christopher went for surgery to free him from his respirator. The surgery shortly caused him to have an infection, but Christopher managed to recover.

His recovery led him to accomplish a lot, including advocating for medical research. He also directed the 1997 movie "In The Gloaming" and won Screen Actors Guild Award for best actor in 1998 "Rear Window."

The "Everyone's Hero" actor also founded Christopher Reeve Paralysis Foundation in 1998. His self-titled foundation raised more than $46.5 million for spinal cord research.

Christopher Reeve, his wife Dana and son Will at the screening of "House Of D" on May 7, 2004 in New York City. | Photo: Getty Images

Christopher Reeve, his wife Dana and son Will at the screening of "House Of D" on May 7, 2004 in New York City. | Photo: Getty Images

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CHRISTOPHER AND DANA'S DEATHS

After a successful string of accomplishments, Christopher fell into a coma. He passed away in 2004 after being treated to a pressure wound common for individuals in wheelchairs. He was 52.

Two years after his death, his wife, Dana, succumbed to lung cancer at 44. She was survived by biological son William, 29, and step-children Matthew, 41, and Alexandra, 35.

Matthew and Alexandra were Christopher's children from his former girlfriend, Gae Exton. Even though the father of three used to live with Exton around 1980, the couple never married.

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LIVING IN THEIR PARENTS LEGACY

Dana was highly dedicated to finding new treatments for paralysis and became the public face of her husband's foundation. She made her condition public a few months after her death.

Years after the death of his parents, Will took his time to honor them during the 2019 Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation gala. Will said they would live on through their legacy.

Will was eleven when Christopher died while he was 13 when his mother passed away. He was left under the care of his other family members and friends.

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Will said he and his stepsiblings remain connected to their parents through the foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to improving the quality of life for individuals living with paralysis.

The young Reeve said they are fortunate to have parents who instilled important values in them. He thanked his parents for their guidance and said they were the "backbone" of their success today.

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