A Guide to Marianne Williamson's Outrageously Large Collection of Celebrity FriendsPolitics
Illustration: Elena Scotti
In the past, she’s brushed off her celebrity friends as happenstance. “Meeting someone in Hollywood who is in the entertainment business is like meeting someone in Houston in the oil business,” Williamson told People magazine in 1992. “How do you avoid it?”
But she definitely seems to have eagerly cultivated relationships with the rich and famous. Here’s a rather telling anecdote, also from the People profile:
At one high-profile Hollywood party last February, Williamson pleaded with her friend and backer, producer-manager Sandy Gallin, to introduce her to Dolly Parton and Shirley MacLaine. Teasing her, Gallin recited in a singsong voice, “Dolly, this is Marianne. Shirley, this is Marianne.” Within earshot of TV and movie bigshots, Williamson snapped, “F—off, Sandy!” before storming away.
Dolly escaped, but a lot of other bold-faced names did not.
In 1991, Marianne Williamson famously officiated Elizabeth Taylor’s wedding, held at Michael Jackson’s Neverland ranch, to Larry Fortensky, a construction worker she met in rehab who was 20 years her junior. At the time of the wedding, Williamson said to People, “There is obviously a very deep place within them where they connect and share a lot of love.” Williamson even reportedly provided marriage counseling to the duo before the wedding.
Williamson recently described how officiating Taylor’s wedding came about:
She called and asked if I would officiate. She was very excited about her nuptials. I’ve officiated at many marriages. What was funny to me was that after her divorce, any time I ran into her she seemed to want to explain almost apologetically how her marriage did not work — almost concerned that I might have taken it personally. It was rather touching.
We may have Oprah to thank for Williamson’s ascendance, as Winfrey launched Williamson into the broader public consciousness when she interviewed her in 1992, shortly after Williamson published A Return to Love. “I have never been as moved by a book as I have by Marianne Williamson’s book,” Winfrey proclaimed, before adding that she had directly experienced “157 miracles” as a result of reading the book. That’s a lot of miracles!
They’re still friends today (Oprah continues to call Marianne her “spiritual friend and counselor”), and they’ve spoken about her presidential run. No endorsement yet, though!
Hillary and Bill Clinton
According to Bob Woodward’s book The Choice, the Clintons invited Williamson to Camp David at the end of 1994:
President Clinton and his wife, Hillary, invited a group of popular self-help authors to Camp David to help them dissect what had happened in the first two years of the presidency and to search for a way back after the Democrats’ devastating loss to the Republicans in the 1994 congressional elections. They met the weekend beginning Friday, Dec. 30, 1994.
Three of the attendees were well-known: Anthony Robbins, author of “Awaken the Giant Within”; Marianne Williamson, author of “A Return to Love”; and Stephen R. Covey, author of “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People.” Their names later leaked out publicly and all three declined to discuss the substance of the meeting.
Williamson, astonishingly, was not the most woo person there. Also in attendance was a psychic named Jean Houston, the co-director of the Foundation for Mind Research, according to Woodward:
Houston, then 55, the author of 14 books, was one of the most high-energy seminar leaders in the country. She was a believer in spirits, mythic and other connections to history and other worlds. Houston believed that her personal archetypal predecessor was Athena, the Greek goddess of wisdom. She conducted extensive dialogues with Athena on her computer that she called “docking with one’s angel.” Houston wore an ancient Hellenistic coin of Athena set in a medallion around her neck all the time.
Williamson referenced meeting the Clintons in a letter she published before the 2016 election, urging Hillary to “stop cozying up to the banks, to the chemical companies, to the military-industrial complex, to the party machine, and to all the various financiers who make up the plutocracy now ruining this country:”
We only want to vote for you if you run like hell away from that corporate box you’ve landed in. I’m telling you, Hillary. The American people have become hip to what’s happening. We know now that Wall Street runs the country, and we don’t like it. And for many of us, we don’t want to vote for you if Wall Street runs you too.
In 2014, Richie released a video formally endorsing Williamson’s run for Congress. “I think America is ready for positivity, strength, and enlightenment,” Richie said, adding, “This country needs to evolve and grow.” She’s still supporting Williamson, having given $1,000 to her campaign earlier this year.
Kim and Kourtney Kardashian
Kim and Kourtney Kardashian also supported Williamson’s run for Congress in 2014, joining their friends Nicole Richie and Katy Perry at a campaign event. Kim’s verdict? “Very inspiring!”
Let us all enjoy this song and video that Morrisette wrote and recorded for Williamson’s 2014 run for Congress, which features incredible lyrics like “Unless we revive this constitution/From sure disintegration/Live out this revelation/Today” and is truly a gift to the world:As Morrisette wrote, she “was attempting to capture the passion, mission, activism, deep humanity and tenderness of Marianne, the new political sensibility she represents and the consciousness that produced it.” She added, “I love this woman and I love a world that would vote for her.”
The rocker formerly married to Carmen Electra may be Williamson’s number one fan these days, even including #MARIANNE2020 in his Instagram profile and going around spraypainting stencils of Williamson in New York City.
“This was the first candidate that I’ve ever spoken to that understands human beings and human psyche,” he told Elle, adding, “We’re all genetically connected and we’re made of the same atomic compounds as everything in the world, as everything in the universe. When you go to a Marianne Williamson event, it’s almost not a political event. It doesn’t feel political. It feels like we’re being given pearls of wisdom to apply to our lives, whether she wins or not.”
He makes no secret of his ardent support, regularly posting on social media about his love for Marianne. After Tuesday’s debate, Navarro gushed about Williamson, writing that her message is “starting to penetrate” and that “she may have some insights that can be helpful to us all!”
In another IG post, he wrote enthusiastically, “Beyond honored to have been shared by my candidate and new revolutionist. One who wages love not war. @mariannewilliamson is she a magical being? Perhaps, and that’s funny to some, but honestly, who couldn’t do with a little magic right now? Thank you Marianne and everyone on the campaign. I look forward to seeing what possibilities your message opens up. No matter what shape that happens to take.”
Or maybe he just loves the memes!
Did you know Dern and Williamson were once roommates? It’s true! Here’s more, from a profile of Dern published in May 2019:
At 17, she moved into her own apartment, where her roommate was Marianne Williamson, the spiritual teacher and self-help writer (and current long-shot candidate for United States president), who started Project Angel Food, to feed people with H.I.V./AIDS, out of their living room.
When asked recently about living with a teenaged Dern, here’s what Marianne had to say:
She was! She was my roommate when she was 18. I was 31. Her mother called me — the inimitable, fabulous Diane [Ladd]. She said her daughter didn’t want to live at home anymore and I would be the perfect person. I remember being like, “What?” And then this adorable, adorable 18-year-old comes walking up my sidewalk: “Hi! I’m Laura Dern!” She is an extraordinary human being and it’s been a pleasure and an honor knowing her. I love her.
Fisher may not be a household name, but the Titanic actor (she played the mom of Kate Winslet’s character Rose) is close friends with Williamson and was even one of Williamson’s guests at the DNC debate in Detroit.
Fisher supported her 2014 Congressional run, telling LA Weekly, “She has been a major force in my life in terms of how to handle personal issues. That’s really how we became friends. And a lot of us who are her friends go to her lectures and are supporting her candidacy.” And together, they lobbied then-Representative Dennis Kucinich to create a Department of Peace.
The Aerosmith frontman has credited Williamson and her audiobooks with helping him get sober, regularly mentioning her to this day. In 2001, he even showed up at a church service she held in Michigan and performed “Amazing Grace.”Per Rolling Stone:
Doctors at one rehab (where he was working out his co-dependent relationships with the rest of the band, not any addiction) tried to stick him in a “sexual concerns” group. But he’s convinced that his many liaisons – including the on-tour hookups that ended his most recent marriage – were merely the result of opportunities not available to other men. New Age author Marianne Williamson, a friend who helped him break his drug and alcohol dependencies, once told him, “What do they expect? You’ve been a rock star for 20 years.”
Of course Deepak Chopra is a long-time fan.
In February, Cross donated $1,000 to Williamson’s campaign. Her support goes back to at least 2014:
She is “said to have taken an interest in [Williamson’s] teachings,” according to a People profile. I need to know more, Babs!!!
Cher, Jeff Bridges, David Geffen, Shirley MacLaine, Bette Middler, Mike Nichols, Norman Lear, Anjelica Huston, Daryl Hannah, Raquel Welch, Rosanna Arquette, Louie Anderson, Kim Basinger, Brooke Shields
It’s almost impossible to catalog all of the celebrities who have cycled in and out of her orbit, but these Hollywood denizens have all either gone to her lectures or supported her non-profit Project Angel Food.
My dog Frankie
She’s a fan!