Russell Brand Performs Wedding Ceremony For Outspoken Former Scientologists (UPDATED: Will and Scarlett Speak!)

Categories: Scientology

ScienoWedding.jpg
Russell Brand officiates
Wow, this is cool.

Earlier this month, Russell Brand was approached during his standup routine at a Santa Barbara casino by a couple that asked him to marry them. Brand, it turns out, has one of these Internet ordinations that allows him to perform a wedding ceremony. And as you'll see as you watch the video below, he does just that, with quite a bit of Brandian wackiness.

The scene made international news, but here's the detail that was only picked up later by the eagle-eyed members of Anonymous: the "Will and Scarlett" that Brand married were in fact a couple of former Scientologists who had grown up in the church and after defecting have spoken up to denounce it...

Will De Boer is also known as Will Fry, a young man whose mother brought him into Scientology when he was only two years old. Last year, he spoke to San Jose Anonymous, who filmed him, and Mark Bunker put up the series of videos about him. Here's the first:

His bride, Scarlett Hanna, is the daughter of Scientology's Australian president, Vicki Dunstan. She grew up in Scientology, but now speaks out against it. Here's an appearance by her on Australian TV:

I wanted to get this up quickly, but I'm going to try to reach the happy couple to ask them if they ever clued in Brand as to who he was marrying. One thing's for certain: they sure got an original service!


UPDATE: Will and Scarlett called me this morning to give me the details on their totally spontaneous wedding. The event actually took place on July 28 at the Chumash Casino near Santa Barbara, where Will has worked for the past three years.

He and Scarlett met through "mutual things," Will says, referring to an extended worldwide ex-Scientologist network. "We became Facebook friends, and talked over Skype over the course of a year, rather casually," he says. But then a little over a month before they were married, they began to date.

"I told her I was going to end up marrying her on our first date," Will says, but he admits she was a bit more wary. Soon enough, however, they began talking about eloping to Las Vegas. And then they went to the Russell Brand show.

"He came up to the audience to answer questions. I told Scarlett that I had a question for him. But she figured out what I was going to do while I was still waiting," Will says. "I went up to the front and he sees me. I had my hands folded in front of me. 'You sir, come here,' he said. And he said something about me looking humble. He didn't ask me anything. He just hugged me. We did the tall-guy hug for like 30 seconds. People were applauding. Then he said, 'So do you have a question?'"

The clip we see, of Brand agreeing to marry them and then the wacky ceremony, is really just a few minutes out of what was more like 15 minutes it took to get through the entire thing.

"He had that whole place like a family by the end of the show. He was the most perfect minister Scarlett and I could possibly imagine," Will says.

"It was fantastic, really. He was so creative. A lot of people thought that he was vulgar, but the last part of it was so sentimental and precious to us two. And it was so fun," Scarlett adds.

They say the video doesn't really capture how much Russell spoke just to the two of them. He'd put down the microphone so the rest couldn't hear. They talked about rings, and about tattoos, for example.

Hundreds of people came up to them to congratulate them afterwards. "One guy said, 'Did you guys rehearse that?' No, it was totally spontaneous," Will says.

But was it a legal wedding? Well, says Will, they're trying to make it so. "We got the license the next day and we're filling out paperwork. But it doesn't matter to us," he says. "What matters is that he married us."

I asked them if Brand knew anything about their backgrounds, that they had grown up Scientology and both had harrowing stories of what it was like to get out. "No, it didn't matter to us," Will says. "It was just a magical evening.

"We're not religious, for obvious reasons, but we're completely spiritual," Will says. "And that's what he's like, the mad witch doctor of love. It was epic.

"We're just so happy being alive, which we don't take for granted," he adds. "We've had a lot to deal with from our pasts, and we've been able to deal with that together."

"Until the age of 25, no one understood my experience," Scarlett says. "To have someone who truly understands that -- it's the chance to be yourself completely and not to be misinterpreted as something else."

"She's my hero. She was a cadet. And your chance of survival in the outside world when you're a cadet, it's really, really difficult," Will says. "We just really want to thank all the people who have helped through this really painful path. People have been so supportive. Everybody has been so cool with the congratulations.

"I must be the luckiest ginger on earth," says Will.

"And I'm the luckiest woman on earth!" Scarlett quickly added.


The Top 25 People Crippling Scientology
#17: Jefferson Hawkins, the man behind the TV volcano
#18: Amy Scobee, former Sea Org executive
#19: The Squirrel Busters (and the church's other thugs and goons)
#20: Trey Parker and Matt Stone (and other media figures)
#21: Kendrick Moxon, attorney for the church
#22: Jamie DeWolf (and other L. Ron Hubbard family members)
#23: Ken Dandar (and other attorneys who litigate against the church)
#24: David Touretzky (and other academics)
#25: Xenu, galactic overlord


tortega@villagevoice.com | @VoiceTonyO | Facebook: Tony Ortega

See all of our recent Scientology coverage at the Voice

Keep up on all of our New York news coverage at this blog, Runnin' Scared

Tony Ortega is the editor-in-chief of The Village Voice. Since 1995, he's been writing about Scientology at several publications. Among his other stories about L. Ron Hubbard's organization:

The Larry Wollersheim Saga -- Scientology Finally Pays For Its Fraud
The Tory Bezazian (Christman) Story -- How the Internet Saved A Scientologist From Herself
The Jason Beghe Defection -- A Scientology Celebrity Goes Rogue
The Robert Cipriano Case -- A Hellacious Example of Fair Game
The Paul Haggis Ultimatum -- The 'Crash' Director Tells Scientology to Shove It
The Marc Headley Escape -- 'Tom Cruise Told Me to Talk to a Bottle'
The Aaron Saxton Accusation -- Australia turns up the heat on Scientology
The Jefferson Hawkins Stipulation -- Scientology's former PR genius comes clean
The Daniel Montalvo Double-Cross -- Scientology lures a young defector into a trap
A Church Myth Debunked -- Scientology and Proposition 8
Daniel Montalvo Strikes Back -- Scientology Hit with Stunning Child-Labor Lawsuits
When Scientologists Attack -- The Marty Rathbun Intimidation
A Scientologist Excommunicated -- The Michael Fairman SP Declaration
The Richard Leiby Operation -- Investigating a reporter's divorce to shut him up
The Hugh Urban Investigation -- An academic takes a harsh look at Scientology's past
Giovanni Ribisi as David Koresh -- A precedent for a Scientology-Branch Davidian link
Janet Reitman's Inside Scientology -- A masterful telling of Scientology's history
The Western Spy Network Revealed? -- Marty Rathbun ups the ante on David Miscavige
Scientology's Enemies List -- Are You On It?
Inside Inside Scientology -- An interview with author Janet Reitman
Scientology and the Nation of Islam -- Holy Doctrinal Mashup, Batman!
Scientologists -- How Many of Them Are There, Anyway?
Roger Weller's Wild Ride -- Scientology When it was Hip
The Marc Headley Infiltration -- A Scientology Spying Operation Revealed
Placido Domingo Jr: Scientology's Retaliation is "Scary and Pathetic"
An Interview with Nancy Many, Former Scientology Spy
The Paulien Lombard Confession -- A Scientology Spy Comes Clean
The Deputy Benjamin Ring Hard Sell -- Scientology wants your 401K
The Top 25 People Crippling Scientology -- the whole series!
The Squirrel Busters Busted -- Unmasking the Scientology PI in Charge


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31 comments
Myrtle Schultz
Myrtle Schultz

Oh, I wonder how Scientology differs in Mormonism.Do they even have special garments to wear like Mormons have their Mormon Underwear? Sadly, you have to pitch me in  because my favorite Hollywood couple "TOM & KATIE" are running on different paths.

Fr. Ionel Popescu, O.S.B.M.
Fr. Ionel Popescu, O.S.B.M.

Dear Mr. Ortega,

Thank you for providing such a wealth of information about Scientology. I watched the video of Ms. Hanna, and was shocked. The world has rightly condemned the Catholic church for abuses, which are repugnant to Catholic and common morality alike.

It appears that the abuses in the Church of Scientology are a result of its doctrines rather than in spite of them.  Something must be done about them, and they need to be denounced as vigorously by the media as those in the Catholic church. 

One wonders why celebrity Scientologists like Ms. Greta van Susteren at Fox News and Mr. Craig Jensen at Diskeeper are not demanding investigation of their church leaders.

Mr. De Boer and Ms. Hanna, I commend you for your courage in rejecting an abusive religious organization and speaking out.

Congratulations on your marriage. May God grant you peace, health, protection and many, many years! 

paolo
paolo

Just a small correction, the link of that video was first posted several days ago by a Scientologist in his Youtube channel (marcotai), not by an anonymous member.

TonyOrtega
TonyOrtega

I just meant that it was Anonymous that brought it to my attention.

F_Randy_Hullabaloo
F_Randy_Hullabaloo

From coast to coast and around the world, Scientology has rent and is still tearing apart families. It has been doing this too long a time and far too often. 

While we may all be in favor of spiritual and secular freedom, no one in right mind can justify the kind of abandonment and outright cruelty demonstrated, as reported here, by Scientology toward its allegedly most valued members  --,again, mentioning Amy Scobee and the others who are well-known. (see earlier reports, here). 

Top notch reporting. Youziz do'in good.

Joe_Lynn
Joe_Lynn

You know how Cellphones have pretty much preempted land-lines?  I'd really appreciate it if marriage went down that path, and 'official sanction' became pretty much irrelevant.  Even in the most stodgy of circles, the RCC, marriage is one of those sacraments that the marrying people perform *themselves*.  So, congrats to Will and Scarlett; paperwork or not.

As to Russell Brand, I have to confess that I've underestimated him consistently based on nothing more than clips and snippets of his work; seeing him as just a somewhat less irritating Tom Greene with an accent. 

I was wrong.  After having seen 'Get Him to the Greek', which was possibly the most charming film I've seen in the past year, I'll count myself a fan.

Oh, and while Scientology is and has been horrific in its destruction of marriage and family within the 'Church', and, especially within the most scientological of Scientologies, the Sea Org, having the 'Church' and its gestapo-arm, OSA, actively attempt to ruin a marriage shows every sign of being one of the most positive 'indicators' of a marriage's success :)

Joe_Lynn
Joe_Lynn

Best Update Ever Tony :)

Calico Cat
Calico Cat

This is an amazing story. I'm so glad that they got away from the cult -- I hope they have.

Xenetta
Xenetta

Given what we know about Will's childhood, it was especially poignant when Brand asked if Will would be a responsible involved father.  And not bring up a generation of "lost men" to grow up on their own, but to be present and be responsible and be a role model.  And Will said "Absolutely!"

Heather G
Heather G

It's not legal though, is it?

Sid
Sid

I so hope that Will finds long-term happiness.

I remember watching his video and feeling utter sadness for the wreck that Scientology had made of his young life.

Will, I have never met you and almost certainly never shall, but if I could grant wishes I would make sure that you and Scarlett live happily ever after.

My very best wishes to the happy couple!

Garry90069
Garry90069

Minor correction. I was told that Will had taken the maiden name of his mom... De Boer.. as his own.

Lisa McPherson
Lisa McPherson

On a side note, Russell Brand is co-starring in the Rock of Ages movie currently being filmed and starring none other than Scientology's most dedicated member Tom Cruise. I wonder how Tom will feel about Russell''s interactions with two such notorious SP's as Will and Scarlett? Since Tom says he's never met an SP, maybe Russell can fill him in and let him know that they are awesome!

Appledore2
Appledore2

wow,,, a very well put together article... I love the sudden marriage.  So fitting, given what they both had gone thru.

Bond
Bond

Apparently Brand is working on a film with Cruise, so now Cruise can meet an SP 

mjm
mjm

the whole cast is full of SPs... and a Mormon (Julianne Hough)

JustCallMeMary
JustCallMeMary

Memorable is the word! I don't know if Russell Brand knew at the time the sad pasts of these two wonderful people but he probably will now! Congrats and best wishes to Will and Scarlett!! So glad you found your way to out and into the arms of each other.-Mary McConnell

barbara graham
barbara graham

Tony,

As you know, there is a lusty, ravening pack of femanons seeking to possess you. Should any of them succeed, know ye that I am a minister of ULC, and as such, can marry you off to a woman in a mask.

Just drop me a line! I assure you any ceremony I come up with will be memorable. Possibly PTSD inducing. Call me!

SFF
SFF

I suspect he might be more likely to seek Tikk's help in drafting a restraining order. :)

TonyOrtega
TonyOrtega

Tsk, tsk, SFF. Who am I to deny some loyal readers their fun.

robert
robert

And interestingly, Russell is now filming Rock Of Ages with Tom Cruise

I am so glad for Will and Scarlett,  Those two crazy kids!  So happy for you!

mjm
mjm

and Russell was sitting next to Tom Cruise and his "wife" at Russell's wife Katy Perry's concert in LA a few weeks back (i'm still doubting if Katie was really at the concert, or if their pr people zoomed her right near the exit gate as he was leaving. there was a video of Tom on TMZ from the concert grabbing a cell phone or something out of the pocket of somebody's jeans, near their ass like he was giving them a spankin' [TMZ said it was Katie but unlike Tom, the person's face wasn't shown], but the butt looked male. hmmm..)

Anon A
Anon A

Not a huge fan of Brand, but this video does stand as proof that leaving Scientology goes hand-in-hand with finding your sense of humor.

Anon
Anon

So true. Scientology and humour appear time and again to be mutually exclusive.

Congratulations to Will and Scarlet. I'm glad they found a better 'Way to Happiness' and wish them all the best in the future.

CofS Exit Zone
CofS Exit Zone

Dang your fast Tony... but one small correction, Will Fry footage was done by San Jose Anonymous and just featured on XenuTV by Bunker.

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