One Tree Hill's Bethany Joy Lenz Reveals She Was in a Cult for 10 Years

One Tree Hill alum Bethany Joy Lenz revealed she was in a cult for a decade, and she hopes that her experience can eventually help others.

“I was in a cult for 10 years,” Lenz, 42, shared on the Monday, July 10, episode of iHeartRadio’s “Drama Queens” podcast. “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.”

The subject came up as Lenz, who played Haley James Scott on OTH from 2003 to 2012, and cohost Sophia Bush were asked by guest Michaela McManus if they wanted to add author to their resumes. Their cohost Hilarie Burton Morgan already wrote her first memoir, The Rural Diaries, in 2020 with her follow-up, Grimoire Girl, set to hit bookshelves on October 3.

Lenz said she “for sure” wants to pen a book one day and already has some pieces written. “I think the ADHD has made it really difficult over the years to — I have lots of essays and lots of chapters and things,” she explained. “But to really commit to putting it all together, I would love to write about my experience.”

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The actress added that she worries about “the pressure of getting it right and everything having to be exactly real and all the people that are involved.”

She continued: “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 that. But I do write. I write all the time.”

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Burton Morgan, 41, noted that Lenz can write about her experiences via song. “And I have,” the Everly frontwoman confirmed.

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Lenz is no stranger to opening up about her personal life in an effort to help other people in similar situations. Previously, she played a memorable Grey’s Anatomy character who was abused by her partner. Lenz was asked to play the role specifically because of her past.

“I got a call from Krista Vernoff, who’s the showrunner of Grey’s Anatomy. … She knew a bit about my personal history. I’ve been in an abusive relationship before,” Lenz said during a 2018 appearance on Steve Harvey‘s Steve show. “I wasn’t physically abused, but it was very emotionally, psychologically and spiritually abusive in a lot of ways.”

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The Guiding Light alum added that she wanted to play Jenny, her Grey’s Anatomy character, to show that abused women can be strong and smart — and sometimes not even realize they’re experiencing abuse.

“You’re so used to this toxic masculinity idea of ‘boys will be boys,’ or ‘oh, he just lost his temper.’ To share with an audience in that way — to see a woman who is really smart and successful and charismatic being abused — I hoped that people would relate to that and maybe some women who relate to that situation without even knowing it would find a relief … and then have a way to start to get out,” Lenz said at the time.

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