'One Tree Hill' star Bethany Joy Lenz has 'a lot to tell' about being in a cult for 10 years. Here's what we know so far.

The actress once turned down a NXIVM invite from Allison Mack.

HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA - SEPTEMBER 13: Bethany Joy Lenz attends the Los Angeles Premiere of Netflix's New Film
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

One Tree Hill star Bethany Joy Lenz is speaking out about the harrowing experience of escaping a cult.

Speaking with her former OTH co-stars Sophia Bush and Hilarie Burton Morgan on their Drama Queens podcast, Lenz opened up about one of the most difficult periods of her life.

"I was in a cult for 10 years. 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 said, noting that while she's methodically writing her story, "the pressure of getting [the account] right and everything having to be exactly real, and all the people that are involved" is challenging.

"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 that," the 42-year-old actress added.

Living with ADHD, a disorder that has made her feel "misunderstood" all her life, has also kept her from writing of the experience in a more thoughtful way, Lenz explained.

"I write all the time. I have lots of essays and lots of chapters and things, but to really commit to putting it all together [is a struggle], because I would love to write about my experience."

She has called out cults and alleged cult-like groups in the past

Although Lenz declined to identify which cult she was part of while talking with her former cast mates, she has not shied away in the past from calling out such groups and recruiters for cult-like organizations.

"I feel I have a responsibility to speak up for anyone willing to hear it," she wrote in a 2021 Instagram post critical of Mosaic, a megachurch headquartered in Los Angeles. "If you feel you are being controlled, you are." However, Lenz said in her post that she only attended Mosaic "on and off for 2 years."

In May, when reflecting on how famed theologian and preacher Tim Keller helped her through the darkest of times in the wake of escaping the unnamed cult, the actress became emotional.

"This man changed my life," she wrote on Instagram 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 goes on to say that Keller helped her to be more "confident and secure" in her faith than she ever was "because of Tim Keller's teachings and the relief they gave me to trust again and fall in love with a Jesus I never knew."

Lenz has hinted at cult-like relationships with religious establishments in the song "Father Knows Best," on the 2013 album Your Woman, which calls out an unidentified dominant male figure.

"I know about the cash/That's underneath the steeple/I know about your sex/I know about your demons/Father knows best/Until you try to leave him," her lyrics proclaimed.

A run-in with Allison Mack

In 2016, Smallville actress Allison Mack, who just completed a two-year sentence for her role in masterminding the cult-like sex organization called NXIVM, tweeted to Lenz in an attempt to recruit her. Lenz unapologetically refused.

"You would love this woman's movement I'm a part of. Love to tell you about it, DM me if you want!" Mack wrote at the time.

Two years later, Lenz replied in a since-deleted tweet: "Sorry love, was already in a cult once. But LMK when you're on the other side and we'll talk. Honestly, <3. That's rough stuff."

Allison Mack, who recently spent time in prison for masterminding a cult-like sex organization, had tried to recruit Lenz back in 2016, for which the One Tree Hill actress refused. (Credit: Twitter)
Allison Mack had tried to recruit Lenz into NXIVM in 2016, which the One Tree Hill actress refused. (Credit: Twitter)

What's next for Lenz?

In addition to OTH, Lenz has appeared in such series as Dexter, Colony and Agents of SHIELD. Her most recent credits are from 2022, including an episode of Bush's medical drama Good Sam, the indie horror flick So Cold the River and the thriller podcast Dark Sanctum.

In addition to her book and music, Lenz told her former co-stars that "there are some things in the works... some projects coming out" and she would share details when she could.