Gillian Anderson was born in Chicago, Illinois. She was raised in London, England and Grand Rapids, Michigan.
Unlike the skeptic she played in her most famous role as Dana Scully on the show The X-Files, Anderson is a believer–in the spiritual, not religious category. She says she believes in some paranormal activity, ESP, psychokinesis, spirits, angels, ghosts, teleportation and the abilities of psychics, especially Tarot card readings. And she apparently has some slightly more mainstream influences too, because she and her first husband were married by a Buddhist priest. She said,
I believe there is a natural order to things, and that we are here to learn and to grow and to enrich our soul. All the information in the world is here with us and it’s just a matter of tuning into it.
When confronted with an atheist interviewer who said, more or less, that all her beliefs seemed a little wacky, she asked him if he felt “a bottomless sense of hopelessness.” Then she admitted she hasn’t always had a spiritual side:
When I was in high school I was in a very atheist crowd and it was the consensus that religion was a crutch; but over the past few years I have grown to appreciate that feeling of safety or trust, that there is a light at the end of the tunnel and that there is a reason for us to be here.
I’m sure that’s a sentiment shared by many believers, no matter what exactly they believe.
Anderson said at one point that she gets “very worked up about certain political and economic things,” but that she tries not to get involved unless she thinks she can make a difference. And apparently she found some things.
She is an ambassador for the organization Survival International, which advocates for tribal peoples, and narrated a documentary about an uncontacted tribe in the Amazon. She is a supporter of the Trevor Project, which hopes to curb the rate of suicides among LGBT youths. And she received props from PETA for her work defending animal rights.
In terms of party politics, she not surprisingly is on the side of the Democrats. Outside of her $2,000 campaign contribution to Obama’s 2008 bid for the White House–her only one on record –she said she might consider moving back to the U.S. from England if he won the election because she’d “want to be a part of it.” And in 2011, when asked which living person she admires most, she said,
Obama, because against all odds, he’s getting the job done with grace and integrity.