‘One Tree Hill’ star Bethany Joy Lenz says she spent 10 years in a cult

Bethany Joy Lenz looks over her shoulder at a red carpet event as she turns to pose for photos
“One Tree Hill” actor Bethany Joy Lenz says she has “a lot to tell” about her time in a cult.
(Jordan Strauss / Invision / Associated Press)

Bethany Joy Lenz is sharing new information about a troubling stretch of her past: The “One Tree Hill” star says she was in a cult for a decade.

On the most recent episode of the podcast “Drama Queens,” which the actor co-hosts with former TV co-stars Sophia Bush and Hilarie Burton, Lenz said that lately she has been revisiting and attempting to document that trying period.

“I was in a cult for 10 years,” she said. “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.”


Lenz mentioned that her mental space has made it challenging for her to dedicate time to organize her thoughts on paper.

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“I think the ADHD has made it really difficult over the years to — I have lots of essays, I have lots of chapters and things — really commit to putting it all together,” she noted.

The actor did not divulge any other information about the alleged cult, but added that she has felt the “pressure” of getting her story “right” and “exactly real.”

“Also, I don’t know how much I can say because there are still people and legal things in place that make it more complicated for the timing [of it all],” Lenz said.

Lenz has been known to speak out against powerful institutions. In 2021, she spoke out on Instagram about the controversial yet popular Mosaic Church of Los Angeles, which she said she attended “on and off for 2 years.”

‘Smallville’ alum Allison Mack reports to federal prison early to start serving a three-year sentence for her actions in Keith Raniere’s twisted cult.

Sept. 15, 2021

“The hierarchy in this ‘church,’ the level of abuse that I’ve consistently heard goes on behind the scenes and how everything centers around the Leader is textbook 101 of cults,” she alleged in the post.


In a 2016 Twitter exchange, former “Smallville” actor Allison Mack recommended Lenz look into the woman’s group Jness, which was a subbranch of the cult-like group NXIVM. In a now-deleted tweet, Lenz rejected the offer.

Mack pleaded guilty in 2019 to charges that she manipulated women into becoming sex slaves for the group’s spiritual leader, Keith Raniere. Last week, she was released from a federal prison after serving time for her involvement with NXIVM.

Group leader Raniere is serving a 120-year prison term after being convicted of charges including racketeering, alien smuggling, sex trafficking, extortion and obstruction of justice.