“One Tree Hill” star Bethany Joy Lenz says she suffered “spiritual abuse” during the 10 years she spent in a cult.
The 42-year-old told People magazine that she went through “lots of therapy” after getting away from the unidentified cult, which she said overlapped with her time on the show.
“Recovery looks different for everyone, depending on your experience of trauma,” she said in an interview published this week. “I had to start from a baseline of my personal understanding of God and the experiences I had had. And then there was a lot of going back to who I was before and remembering that, and then acknowledging that there was so much I just didn’t know.”
The “Strawberries” singer is writing a memoir, which she said has been “painful” but purposeful.
“I’m a writer at heart, so turning a phrase is easy for me. Exploring the memories, and really facing them, can be challenging — but I’m doing it,” the actress told the magazine. “There’s a lot to tell.”
Lenz has previously spoken about her time in a cult without going into too many specifics.
She discussed the possibility of writing about her experience during her “Drama Queens” podcast with former costars Hilarie Burton Morgan and Sophia Bush last month.
“I was in a cult for 10 years. That would be a really valuable experience to write about, she said. “And the recovery — 10 years of recovery after that.”
But she said she felt pressure to “get it right” if she were to put pen to paper about her experience.
“And also I don’t know how much I can say,” she added, “because there are still people and legal things in place that make it more complicated for the timing of that.”
While she didn’t go into any more detail on the podcast, Lenz shared an Instagram post in May, reflecting on how theologian and preacher Tim Keller helped her through a dark time.
“This man changed my life,” she wrote after his May 19 death. “The only reason I’m still a Christian today is because, 10 years ago, after many years of faith being used against me as a tool of manipulation, Tim Keller taught me how to re-build my faith using reason and logic. A belief system that fully engages my mind while still leaving room for wonder and mystery.”
She said because of Keller she is more “confident and secure” in her faith than she ever was and was able to “trust again and fall in love with a Jesus I never knew.”