One Tree Hill star Bethany Joy Lenz opened up to Variety in a recent interview about the 10 years she spent in a cult, including while starring on the hit show from 2003-2012.
“I mean, it was like a secret life. I’m on this TV show. I’m living this glamorous, celebrity life — as people see it — and I have a total secret life going on,” she told the outlet. “It was so painful.”
Lenz said she joined the cult because she was looking for “Wednesday night Bible studies” in Los Angeles like the ones she went to with her family. “That's all it was to me,” she said. However, the Bring It On Again actress claims the leader of the group was “sociopathic” and compared him to NXIVM founder Keith Raniere.
As for her One Tree Hill costars, Lenz said, “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.”
She added that she was finally able to leave the cult in part because they filmed the show nine months out of the year in and around Wilmington, North Carolina. “In a lot of ways, 'One Tree Hill' saved my life … 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,” she said. “And I think that spatial separation made a big difference when it was time for me to wake up.”