Bethany Joy Lenz has revealed her One Tree Hill co-stars tried to “rescue” her from a cult.
The actress casually mentioned on her Drama Queens podcast last month that she had been in a cult for ten years, and in an interview with Variety on Thursday, she revealed she was in the group for the entirety of One Tree Hill’s run between 2003 and 2012.
Admitting the cast and crew knew, she recalled, “It was open with them – it was the whisper behind the scenes, like, ‘You know, she’s in a cult.’ For a while, they were all trying to save me and rescue me, which is lovely and so amazing to be cared about in that way. But I was very stubborn. I was really committed to what I believed were the best choices I could make.”
The 42-year-old explained that her involvement in the cult began as a home Bible study in Los Angeles. She shared that the leadership made her “distrust” everybody outside of the cult to keep her isolated.
“It built a deep wedge of distrust between me and my cast and crew. As much as I loved them and cared about them, there was a fundamental thought: If I’m in pain, if I’m suffering, I can’t go to any of these people. So you feel incredibly lonely,” she said.
Lenz credited the show with saving her life because it took her away from Los Angeles for long periods of time, while most cult members were in it “day after day”.
“So in a lot of ways, One Tree Hill saved my life, because I was there nine months out of the year in North Carolina,” she commented. “I had a lot of flying back and forth, a lot of people visiting and things like that, but my life was really built in North Carolina. And I think that spatial separation made a big difference when it was time for me to wake up.”
Lenz, who left the cult “very shortly after” the end of One Tree Hill, is currently writing a memoir about the “spiritual abuse” she suffered in the cult, which she has not publicly named.
– Cover Media