Hollywood is dominated by Chrises (Evans, Hemsworth, Pine), and somewhere along the way, Chris Pratt became the most divisive. In a new interview with Men’s Health, the 43-year-old movie star shared his theory about how he developed something of a negative reputation among a certain portion of the public.
Pratt, in a self-aware move, lays most of the blame at his own feet. He cited his 2018 speech at the MTV Movie & TV Awards, where he received the Generation Award, as the source of the public image disconnect. In the acceptance speech, which he dubbed “9 Rules From Chris Pratt, Generation Award Winner,” Pratt spoke about religion, asserting, “God is real. God loves you. God wants the best for you, believe that. I do.”
“Maybe it was hubris. For me to stand up on the stage and say the things that I said, I’m not sure I touched anybody,” he told Men’s Health. “Religion has been oppressive as fuck for a long time… I didn’t know that I would kind of become the face of religion when really I’m not a religious person. I think there’s a distinction between being religious—adhering to the customs created by man, oftentimes appropriating the awe reserved for who I believe is a very real God—and using it to control people, to take money from people, to abuse children, to steal land, to justify hatred.”
Describing himself as “not a religious person” is a little surprising, given how Pratt has talked publicly about his love of Christian music, and his close relationship with God. The Men’s Health story also addresses a long-rumored connection between Pratt and the Hillsong Church, which has been accused of “anti-LGBTQ behavior.” Pratt said that he “never went to Hillsong,” and that he instead attends the Zoe Church, and occasional others for worship services. Pratt also posited that his personal interests (“Faith, fishing, fighting”) may not jibe with a lot of active social media users.
Those who loved him as a Parks and Recreation goofball now give him no benefit of the doubt. He also spoke about the pain he felt over the online backlash that followed his Instagram post gushing about the birth of his new daughter last November. In it, he thanked his wife, Katherine Schwarzenegger, for giving him “a gorgeous healthy daughter,” which Pratt-tagonists interpreted as an insult to Jack, his now nine-year-old son with ex-wife Anna Faris, who was born nine weeks premature and had to undergo surgery as a newborn. “That is fucked up,” Pratt told Men’s Health. “My son’s gonna read that one day. He’s nine. And it’s etched in digital stone. It really fucking bothered me, dude. I cried about it. I was like, I hate that these blessings in my life are—to the people close to me—a real burden.”
The article quotes two of Pratt’s high-profile directors, James Gunn (Guardians of the Galaxy) and Colin Trevorrow (Jurassic World Dominion), bucking back against the “Worst Chris” agenda, with Gunn saying, “It absolutely infuriates me. Chris is unspeakably kind to people; he goes out of his way to help kids.”
The “Worst Chris” social media conversation has been ongoing for years, and many of Pratt’s Avengers castmates voiced their support for him after writer Amy Berg’s October 2020 tweet asking users to vote off one Chris went viral. Robert Downey, Jr., Zoe Saldana, and Mark Ruffalo all spoke publicly in support of Pratt at the time.