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10 Pop Stars You May Not Have Known Were Pastor's Kids

There are a lot of different stereotypes about PK's—some more fair than others—but maybe the safest thing you can say about being a PK is that it sets you up with some expectations. Every Sunday morning, you're on a stage (sometimes literally), with members of the congregation going through a mental checklist of how you do or don't fit in with their preconceived notions of what the son/daughter of a preacher man ought to be like.

There's no blueprint for what becomes of PK's. Some of them go on to become pastors themselves. Some of them hightail it out of vocational ministry fast as possible. And some of them, well, some of them go on to be stars. Here are a few of them.

Joy Williams

Why We Like It

Joy Williams, who makes up half of the folk duo The Civil Wars, was raised by parents who were both in full-time ministry. Like Katy Perry, Joy Williams also began her music career in the Christian music scene. Before joining with John Paul White to form The Civil Wars in 2009, she had already recorded three CCM albums.

Kings of Leon

Why We Like It

The three Followill brothers (who, along with their cousin Matthew Followill, comprise the band Kings of Leon) were raised on the road as the children of traveling evangelist. Though their father eventually left the ministry, much of their childhood was (from our 2010 profile of the band) “straight out of a Southern Gothic novel: The three Followill brothers (Nathan, Caleb and Jared) grew up traveling the rural South with their father, Leon, a United Pentecostal Church pastor and traveling evangelist, and their mother, Betty Ann, who led worship. Their childhood was characterized by all-night church meetings, healings and the Holy Spirit.”

Alice Cooper

Why We Like It

Some people have this idea that pastor's kids are a rebellious type, always bucking against their rigid upbringing. That rumor may or may not be fair, but it might have gotten started with one Vincent Damon Furnier. You know him as Alice Cooper, a man whose rock shows legendarily feature, according to Wikipedia, "guillotines, electric chairs, fake blood, boa constrictors and baby dolls." So, he's definitely one of those rock stars. In recent years, he's been very vocal about being a born-again Christian, sending longtime fans into a bit of a tizzy.

Marvin Gaye

Why We Like It

The desperately sad story of Marvin Gaye's relationship with his father—a minister in the House of God denomination—is one of the most famous and tragic in American music. Gaye was brought up in a deeply abusive home, the frequent target of his father's brutal beatings. When he struck it big as phenomenally gifted and famously sensual singer, it drove his father mad with rage. In 1984, Marvin attempted to intervene in an argument between his parents, which ultimately resulted in his death. His father shot him with a .38 Smith & Wesson which Marvin had given him for his birthday.

The Jonas Brothers

Why We Like It

The Jonas Bros father, Kevin Sr., is a former minister with an Assemblies of God church and co-founder of Christ For the Nations Music. A musician and songwriter himself, he helped manage the band and encouraged his sons to pursue music from an early age.

Katy Perry

Why We Like It

A little less than 15 years ago, the pop princess was releasing her debut album as a Christian artist under her given name, Katy Hudson. Her parents were Pentecostal pastors who sent her to religious schools and, ironically enough, discouraged her from listening to “secular” music. It’s unclear what caused Perry to ditch her roots, though she says she still has a great relationship with her parents.

Wyclef Jean

Why We Like It

He's been famous for the Fugees. He's been famous for running to be the President of Haiti. He's been famous for his incredible humanitarian work in earthquake relief. But before all that, he was just Wyclef, son of a Croix-des-Bouquets Nazarene pastor. He cleared up any doubt as to his legacy with his 2003 album, titled—appropriately—The Preacher's Son.

Marcus Mumford

Why We Like It

Though Mumford and Sons frontman Marcus Mumford isn’t comfortable with religious labels (he told Rolling Stone, "I don't really like that word [Christian]. It comes with so much baggage. So, no, I wouldn't call myself a Christian,” adding, his spirituality was “a work in progress”), his parents are of the Vineyard Church’s most important leaders in the U.K. Today, John and Elean Mumford help oversee congregations throughout the UK and Ireland.

Ryan Tedder (OneRepublic)

Why We Like It

Raised in the church by a family of "missionaries and pastors", the frontman of the pop outfit One Republic was originally offered a Christian music deal. In a 2008 interview with The Houston Chronicle, the former Oral Roberts University student said that after hearing some of the negative experiences of “Christian”-marketed artists in Nashville, he decided to go the mainstream route. Since then, along with his band OneRepublic selling millions around the world, he’s become a sought-after hit-maker. Tedder’s written songs for a range of artists including Adele, Beyonce, Ellie Goulding, One Direction, Maroon 5 and others.


Why We Like It

Needtobreathe frontman Bear Rhinehart and guitarist brother Bryant “Bo” Rhinehart are sons of an (Alabama football-loving) Assemblies of God pastor. With hints of bluesy hymns and doses of Gospel soul found throughout their catalogue, it’s still clear that the band’s South Carolina church roots are never too far behind them.

Honorable Mentions: Justin Timberlake & the Avett Brothers

Why We Like It

We'd be remiss if we didn't mention that the Avett boys and Justin Timberlake both have grandfathers who were ministers. They missed making our actual list by one measly generation. #Soclose


Jon Engler


Jon Engler commented…

Pardon me, but why are we celebrating the "why we like it" of Alice Cooper? Not all, but most of these artists are people that I would rather not "like" - let alone give attention to in a Christian magazine. The majority of their musical work and their philosophy revolves around sensuality, self-centredness, cynicism, gore, and the promotion of that kind of thing to their fans. Why are we celebrating that here? Why not celebrate someone like Keith Green, who realized the emptiness of the stardom dream and became a major factor in reaching thousands of young people with the Gospel?

Alex Foltz


Alex Foltz replied to Jon Engler's comment

Wikipedia is showing that Alice Cooper's father was actually a lay preacher in an offshoot of the LDS movement. So he was likely raised borderline Mormon.
However, in case you missed the last line of Alice Cooper's section, he became a born-again Christian a handful of year ago. So he probably is worth celebrating.

Jon Engler


Jon Engler replied to Alex Foltz's comment

I didn't miss the last line, so I agree that that part is cool. But why did they have to include the part about guillotines and such? Just looking at this article here... it sounds like Christianity is almost more of a surface gimmick for him. Just my opinion.

Jessica Thurston


Jessica Thurston replied to Jon Engler's comment

I interpreted it as amusement over the fact that he originated the "pastors' kids are wild rebels" stereotype. I don't think they were glorifying or even justifying his lifestyle. Although "Why We Like It" is certainly an odd way to put it . . . especially with Marvin Gaye. Sheesh.

Diona Williams


Diona Williams commented…

Tori Amos is the third child of Rev. Dr. Edison and Mary Ellen Amos.

Dan Boissonneault


Dan Boissonneault commented…

Ed and Dean Roland (Collective Soul) father is southern baptist minister; Myles Kennedy's (Alter Bridge, Slash)step father is minister; Steve Morse, guitarist with Kansas, Dixie Dregs and Flying Colors father is a minister and Scott Stapp's (Creed) step-father was a minister. Unfortunately, being raised in a christian home has not helped most of these artists as on a few of them have any christian witness to speak of

Valente Estevao


Valente Estevao commented…

Abraham "Abe" Laboriel, Jr. is an American session drummer. He is the son of Mexican bass guitarist Abraham Laboriel, Sr. and brother of record producer, songwriter, and film composer Mateo Laboriel. He has been the drummer for famed rock musician Paul McCartney as well as the French singer Mylène Farmer, among others. :)

Sandra Clark


Sandra Clark commented…

What about Guy Penrod who was with the Gaither Band for many years and is now out on his own? He is a wonderful musician! And his father was a Pentecostal preacher or pastor or evangelist, according to an interview with him that I saw recently on Youtube.

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