The Church of Scientology targeted Brad Pitt and Bono, according to a prominent former member.

RadarOnline reported that Jenna Miscavige Hill -- Scientology leader David Miscavige's niece and a former church member -- said both A-listers were part of the controversial church's overall strategy.

Maybe they just have good taste in the arts.

"There's a celebrity strategy and they're targeted for their influence, not their money," Miscavige Hill told the website. expanding on what she wrote in her tell-all memoir published earlier this year, "Beyond Belief: My Secret Life Inside Scientology and My Harrowing Escape." "They know people are obsessed with celebrities so will get more interested in Scientology. I think that celebrities are more inclined to be egocentric and Scientology caters for that -- you're your own God. They're probably being told that all the time.

Brad Pitt arrives at the Paramount Theater in Oakland, Calif. Monday Sept. 19, 2011 for the premiere of Columbia Pictures movie "Moneyball."
Brad Pitt arrives at the Paramount Theater in Oakland, Calif. Monday Sept. 19, 2011 for the premiere of Columbia Pictures movie "Moneyball." (Karl Mondon/Staff)

She added, "And Scientology is meant to save people and the world, so the charitable thing appeals to a celebrity."

Miscavige Hill said Pitt got involved through his then-girlfriend, Juliette Lewis, and even went so far as taking the "first step" by going through the group's Purification Rundown program to detox from drugs.

Miscavige Hill -- who left the church after 21 years -- also detailed how U2 frontman Bono was a recruitment priority to her uncle, and that the Irish rocker dipped his toe into Scientology's water before deciding it wasn't for him.

"I know he was receiving Scientology auditing and was at one of the Celebrity Centre Galas," she said. "Why would he need auditing? Scientology markets itself to everyone, it can deal with everything from marital problems to public speaking. He's a human, so he still needs those things. If he were to join, all the world would be Scientology!"

When told of Miscavige Hill's claims, a church spokesman said she has "varied and ever-shifting 'memories' from her childhood."

I get that. For example, I used to think "The Wiz" was a good movie.

"At no time was Mrs. Hill ever privy to any 'priorities' or 'strategies,'" the rep said, according to RadarOnline. "As a result, she is in no position to comment and any claims to the contrary must be viewed with skepticism. Our priorities are and always have been the establishment and expansion of the Scientology religion."

The spokesman reportedly said the church established Celebrity Centres in 1969 because of the "significant contribution to society that people in the arts represent," rejecting the idea they covet identities' fame and fortune.

Miscavige Hill isn't the first high-profile defector linking Pitt to the religion. In her book "Scientology -- Abuse at the Top," author Amy Scobee wrote "In the end, Brad didn't think it was for him and he and Juliette broke up. He was high on the church list president's list of stars they felt could be 'recovered.'"

Contact Tony Hicks at Facebook.com/BayAreaNewsGroup.TonyHicks or Twitter.com/insertfoot.