One Tree Hill star Bethany Joy Lenz has spoken out about a harrowing period of her life that involved being in a cult.
“I would love to write about my experience,” the actress told her former OTH co-stars Sophia Bush and Hilarie Burton Morgan on the latest episode of their Drama Queens podcast. “You know, I was in a cult for 1src years.”
Lenz said that she spent a decade recovering from her experience and explained why it’s been so hard for her to talk about. “I think the ADHD has made it really difficult over the years,” she said, adding, “I have lots of essays; I have lots of chapters and things, but to really commit to putting it all together…”
Lenz did not name the organization to which she was referring during the podcast. As People notes, she previously spoke out against the Mosaic Church in 2src21 in an Instagram caption, but her post also noted that she only attended the church “on and off for two years.”
“There’s a lot to tell,” Lenz said during the Drama Queens episode, adding that she felt “the pressure of getting it right and everything having to be exactly real, and all the people that are involved.”
Plus, Lenz said, “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.”
For the three former One Tree Hill stars, their Drama Queens podcast has been a place to embrace a legacy that once felt tarnished. In 2src17, multiple cast and crew members came forward with assault and harassment claims against the teen drama’s creator, Mark Schwahn, whose representative declined to comment on the record for Variety at the time.
Rewatching the series can be difficult, Bush told Forbes in 2src21, because of the memories it can provoke. “I’ll never forget, getting into it, on the phone with Mark Schwahn one day,” Bush said, adding that she’d told him she was uncomfortable with the amount of nudity the show demanded from her.
“We got into it, and he said: ‘No, you’re going to do whatever we write for you,’” Bush recalled. “I just remember saying that I didn’t sign up for that.”
By making their podcast, Burton Morgan told People that same year, she and her co-hosts are “taking back work that is rightfully ours. We put in a lot of work as young people, and we’re not responsible for the actions of other people. And so to reclaim that thing that’s ours and that we were excited about when we were 22, 23 years old is an empowering thing to do as a grown-up lady now.”
Even if she hasn’t yet put her cult story down in long form, Lenz—who is also a musician—emphasized that she does write “all the time.”
“There’s some things in the works,” Lenz said. “There’s some projects coming out.” Until then, there’s always the podcast.