Nov. 4, 2013 at 9:55 AM ET
Michelle Pfeiffer didn't realize she was in a cult until it was almost too late. Speaking to The Sunday Telegraph's Stella magazine, the 55-year-old actress reveals that she was taken advantage of by a "very controlling" couple when she first moved to Hollywood in the early '80s.
The "kind of personal trainers" believed in breatharianism — the ability to live without food and water — and put the future movie star on a diet "nobody can adhere to," Pfeiffer recalls. "They worked with weights and put people on diets. Their thing was vegetarianism."
"They believed that people in their highest state were breatharian," "The Family" star adds.
Dietary restrictions weren't the only rules imposed upon Pfeiffer. "I wasn't living with them but I was there a lot and they were always telling me I needed to come more," she says. "I had to pay for all the time I was there, so it was financially very draining."
It wasn't until Pfeiffer met her first husband, actor Peter Horton, that she realized what was happening. Horton had been cast in a film about the Moonies, the nickname given to followers of Sun Myung Moon, who created the religious movement in South Korea in 1954.
While helping Horton research "this cult," Pfeiffer says she soon realized, "I was in one."
"We were talking with an ex-Moonie and he was describing the psychological manipulation and I just clicked," she explains.
Pfeiffer — who divorced Horton in 1988 — does not reveal how she broke away from the "cult."