Some celebrities think they are the center of their own universe. But many others allow for a more heliocentric model, and believe, just like that famous Renaissance man Nicolaus Copernicus, that stars have many bodies forever traveling around them. And in this sense, it is easy to see how the existence of aliens in our universe (or beyond) would be of great interest to actors, singers, and other individuals who exist in the public eye. And hey, who knows? Maybe Planet X needs entertainers.
From celebs flipping out over bizarre lights in the nighttime Los Angeles sky to public figures spending some far-out time in the desert, there are a number of stars who have a spacey story. And we know this because those stars have talked about seeing and/or experiencing their share of the unexplained, the unbelievable, and the unknown. Is there a starman waiting in the sky? Or is that just some hazy cosmic jive? These celebrities believe the truth is out there.
Miley Cyrus makes first contact
In October 2020, Interview got Miley Cyrus on the phone with fashion designer Rick Owens, who at the time was traveling through the American West. When Owens mentioned that he and his entourage had visited Area 51, the United States Air Force’s alleged alien storage facility, it was an opening Cyrus couldn’t resist. They agreed that it would be arrogant to assume that humans are alone in the universe, and Cyrus went on to relate her own E.T. experience.
"I was driving through San Bernardino with my friend, and I got chased down by some sort of UFO. I’m pretty sure about what I saw, but I’d also bought weed wax from a guy in a van in front of a taco shop, so it could have been the weed wax." Cyrus said the object resembled a "flying snowplow," and that she had locked eyes with the driver of the space vehicle. "It looked at me and we made contact, and I think that’s what really shook me, looking into the eyes of something that I couldn’t quite wrap my head around."
Was it an intergalactic snowplow operator looking to accost a Gen Y celeb on the streets of the Inland Empire? Or was it the weed wax? The answer is in the stars.
Close encounters of the Nick Jonas kind
Nick Jonas hasn’t been shy about sharing his experience with UFOs. Appearing on Great Britain’s ITV in 2015, the singer and actor described a particularly close encounter.
"This was probably eight years ago," Jonas told the network (via People). "I was in my backyard in L.A. and I looked up at the sky and [saw] three flying saucers. I looked at my friend and said, ‘Are you seeing this or am I losing my mind?" Jonas did what so many of us do when we notice something odd up in the clouds: he consulted the internet. "Then I went online and looked and there were three identical sightings, two weeks before," he said.
While he wasn’t in Los Angeles in November 2015 to witness the bizarre lights in the sky that set Los Angeles Twitter aglow (alien invasion or missile test?), he vowed to investigate. "I’m obsessed with UFO stuff in general, so I’m all over this."
By 2017, Jonas’s beliefs were well known enough that Los Angeles Magazine didn’t even question it. "You believe in aliens," the mag reminded him in an interview. "That’s true," Jonas agreed, and offered that he’d like to take Jack Black with him were he ever abducted.
Katy Perry sees visitors in the stars
"I see everything through a spiritual lens," Katy Perry told GQ in 2014. "I believe in a lot of astrology. I believe in aliens." For Perry, who sang in her 2010 single "E.T." that she was a victim ready for abduction by her alien lover ("It’s supernatural, extraterrestrial"), the nature of her belief in aliens seems to posit them as fellow travelers in a habitable zone: there’s them, there’s us, and there are the metaphysical beings.
"I look up into the stars and I imagine: How self-important are we to think that we are the only life-form?" she told GQ.
And if we aren’t alone, maybe it’s all a matter of discovering an access point into the spirit world. Perry returned to the notion of aliens coexisting with humans in an August 2020 interview with The Times (via The Independent). "We love mysticism, conspiracies, aliens, all that stuff," she said of her relationship with Orlando Bloom. "One of the things that binds us is our desire to be more spiritually evolved and our desire to investigate that realm. One of our main love languages is the spiritual evolution."
Winston Churchill wondered about life on other planets
Well-remembered for his oratory and leadership during the Second World War, British statesman Winston Churchill was also a writer and deep thinker who was curious about human beings, the world we inhabit, and the mysteries and potential of the greater universe beyond. Writing for Nature in February 2017, the Israeli-American astrophysicist Mario Livio revealed that he’d come into contact with a previously unknown article written by Churchill that mused over the existence of extraterrestrial life.
Livio explained how Churchill’s piece, "Are We Alone in the Universe?", first written in 1939 and then revised in the late 1950s, ultimately made its way into the archives of the US National Churchill Museum in Fulton, Missouri, where it was rediscovered. Employing the reasoning of a scientist, Churchill wrote about water as a requirement for life, and how the enormity of the universe would preclude the potential of humans being alone within it.
"I, for one, am not so immensely impressed by the success we are making of our civilization here that I am prepared to think we are the only spot in this immense universe that contains living, thinking creatures," Churchill wrote, "or that we are the highest type of mental and physical development which has ever appeared in the vast compass of space and time."
Zayn Malik and Gigi Hadid get spacey
Back in 2016, One Direction was the biggest thing in pop music. The boy band was not built to last, however (they never are), and fans were in a fuss over what led Zayn Malik to take a walk. The answer? As Zayn told Glamour in July ’16, "An alien spoke to me in a dream…"
His response might have been tongue-in-cheek. As Vanity Fair wrote, "It’s hard to discern Malik’s precise tone in this interview — is he being facetious? — but we prefer to take his out-of-this-world calling at face value. Sometimes things just happen. Boy-band heartthrobs move on with their lives because aliens prophetically appear in their dreams."
And sometimes, the heartthrob’s partner chimes in with alien theories, too. In an April 2018 interview with Elle, supermodel Gigi Hadid said she wished to travel through time and visit ancient Egypt and the pyramids, in order to finally determine whether astronauts had arrived in chariots of the gods. "I would love to go back and know if it was aliens or what happened there so I could like tell everyone," she said. "I love conspiracy theory." Sounds like someone’s been watching Ancient Aliens.
Khloé Kardashian and Kendall Jenner kept up with a UFO
On a November night in 2015, the skies over Los Angeles lit up not with klieg lights signaling the latest Hollywood premiere, but instead the mystery of a light source traveling weirdly through the inky black above. What was it? Celebrity Twitter lit up, too.
Khloé Kardashian was ready to attribute the mysterious lights to an unidentified flying object. "UFO’s are real!!!" tweeted Kardashian. "The government doesn’t want to admit that we are not alone," she continued. One of her sisters also chimed in on social media. "Khloe and I are freaking out right now over this UFO situation," Kendall Jenner tweeted.
For their part, the Orange County Sheriff’s Department tweeted that the light was confirmed by the John Wayne Airport control tower to be a "Naval test fire off the coast. No further details." Kardashian was not satisfied. "’No further details’ yeah ok….. Thanks that’s because #WeAreNotAlone #AdmitIt," she wrote.
The nighttime incident over the City of Angels wasn’t Kardashian’s first run-in with the potential for aliens among us. A 2013 episode of Keeping Up With the Kardashians featured a detour to Nevada’s infamous Area 51 and an attempt at alien hunting.
Tom DeLonge watches for all the unidentified flying things
Some celebs might make a passing mention of alien life in an interview, or take to social media with claims that we are not alone. Not Tom DeLonge. In the years since the guitarist and vocalist departed pop-punk trio Blink-182, DeLonge has become perhaps the most visible celebrity to tackle the question of extraterrestrial life. He is the co-founder of a company called To the Stars, which in addition to its publishing and film production arms is active in the investigation of UFOs and even obtained formerly classified footage of US Naval aviators’ encounters with bizarre, unexplained aircraft. (The Outline published a terrific visual rundown of DeLonge and his partners in To the Stars, and its work with UFO research.)
In May 2019, DeLonge’s group brought their investigations to television with Unidentified: Inside America’s UFO Investigation, a six-episode History Channel docudrama that among other theories explored the aerial footage obtained by To the Stars. (Unidentified returned for a second season in July 2020.)
DeLonge explained his interest in alien technologies to People in May 2019. "We might find out, one day, that there are good ones and bad ones," DeLonge said. "And we might look back and go, ‘Wow, that’s what all of our ancient texts describe in some way that kind of counterviews between gods that are from the heavens.’ But for now, until that time comes where we can understand what’s in these things, what we look at is, yeah, there are issues. There are big issues here."
Demi Lovato has had ‘profound sightings’
As Demi Lovato pulled herself out of a bad breakup, she also dug into some seriously metaphysical thoughts. "Over the past couple months I have dug deep into the science of consciousness and experienced not only peace and serenity like I’ve never known but I also have witnessed the most incredibly profound sightings both in the sky as well as feet away from me," she told her millions of Instagram followers in an October 2020 post. Lovato explained how she had been spending some time out in the desert, specifically California’s Joshua Tree National Park, in the company of friends and Dr. Steven Greer, the founder of an organization called CSETI, or the Center for the Study of Extraterrestrial Intelligence. Greer’s group searches for "close encounters of the fifth kind."
According to Lovato, our planet is on a "very negative path toward destruction." Sounds ominous! However, there may be a solution. "If we were to get 1% of the population to meditate and make contact, we would force our governments to acknowledge the truth about extraterrestrial life among us." The pop singer didn’t elaborate on how the power of synchronized meditation might pry loose long standing government secrets about little green men, but she did include some grainy footage of lights in the night sky. "This is just some of the evidence from under the stars in the desert sky that can no longer be ignored and must be shared immediately."
Ridley Scott says they’re coming for us
It’s not surprising that the director who brought to life one of science fiction’s most terrifying space beings believes with a certainty that we are not alone in the universe.
"Alien creator Ridley Scott has said that he is convinced that there are extraterrestrials out there," wrote The Guardian in April 2017. "And one day they will come for us." Scott, who at the time was promoting his intergalactic gore fest Alien: Covenant, has imagined in his films an alien with acid for blood and an all-consuming appetite for new human hosts. Scary, to be sure, but according to Scott’s way of thinking, likely to exist somewhere out there in the blackness of space.
"I believe in superior beings. I think it is certainly likely," Scott told The Guardian. "An expert I was talking to at NASA said to me, ‘Have you ever looked in the sky at night? You mean to tell me we are it?’ That’s ridiculous. The experts have now put a number on it having assessed what is out there. They say that there are between 100 and 200 entities that could be having a similar evolution to us right now."
And if those entities evolve the way Scott’s films have imagined, then we’re really in trouble.
Stephen Hawking thought we may get ‘a signal’
In July 2015, celebrated physicist and cosmologist Stephen Hawking announced his participation in Breakthrough Initiatives, a scientific undertaking to incorporate dynamic new technologies like nano ships and light beams in the search for extraterrestrial intelligence. In his later years, the author of A Brief History of Time had become more vocal about humanity’s search for alien life. As Space.com put it in 2015, "Hawking has spoken publicly about his fears that an advanced alien civilization would have no problem wiping out the human race the way a human might wipe out a colony of ants." Nevertheless, he threw his support behind Breakthrough Initiatives. "It seems Hawking’s desire to know if there is intelligence elsewhere in the universe trumps his fears."
Hawking died in 2018, but not before he was able to elaborate on both the exciting potential for and inherent risks of alien contact. "One day, we might receive a signal from a planet like this," he said in the documentary Stephen Hawking’s Favorite Places, according to the Space.com article "Stephen Hawking Is Still Afraid of Aliens." The noted physicist was referring to the potentially habitable exoplanet called Gliese 832c. "But we should be wary of answering back," Hawking continued. "Meeting an advanced civilization could be like Native Americans meeting Columbus. That didn’t turn out so well."