One Tree Hill Star Bethany Joy Lenz Says Show Helped Save Her From a Cult

The actress says the show "saved her life" amid her decade-long stint in a cult.

One Tree Hill star Bethany Joy Lenz is revealing more details about her time in a cult — and how working on the hit show helped her eventually leave it. In a recent profile with Variety, Lenz revealed how her involvement in the group, which she is not mentioning by name, affected her time on One Tree Hill. Although she says that the isolating nature of the group, which she joined "within a year or two" of working on One Tree Hill, occasionally caused emotional strife for her on set, the work schedule of the long-running series ultimately "saved her life" from the situation.

"Oh, yeah. It was open with them — it was the whisper behind the scenes, like "You know, she's in a cult,"" Lenz, who played Haley James Scott on the series, revealed. "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. Legally, I don't think they're allowed to be called cults, they're "high demand groups.""

"The nature of a group like that is isolation; they have to make you distrust everyone around you so that the only people you trust are, first and foremost, the leadership and then, people within the group if the leadership approves of them, and isn't in the middle of pitting you against each other, which happens all the time also," Lenz continued. "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. But a lot of the people in that group lived there, and 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. 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."

What Cult Was Bethany Joy Lenz In?

While Lenz has yet to publicly identify the cult, she initially broke the news of her involvement while on an episode of her Drama Queens podcast, which she co-hosts alongside former co-stars Sophia Bush and Hilarie Burton.

"I was in a cult for 10 years," Lenz said last month. "That would be a really valuable experience to write about, and the recovery — 10 years of recovery after that. So, there's a lot to tell."

What do you think of Bethany Joy Lenz's new comments about her time in a cult? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below!