Michelle Pfeiffer has enjoyed a successful and varied career since breaking on into the Hollywood scene decades ago, but as she revealed in a recent interview, it could have easily been so very different. Speaking with UK newspaper The Telegraph, the actress recalled her years spent in a 'breatharianism' sect, and the profound influence and impact it had on her younger self.

Speaking to the paper's Stella magazine supplement whilst promoting her latest film, the Luc Besson action comedy The Family, the actress remembered the dominating influence the Los Angeles-based faction had over her when she first moved to Hollywood to begin a career as an actress. Their philosophy promoted a healthier lifestyle through "vegetarianism" and "breatharianism," which highlights the importance of photosynthetic living over conventional dieting.

"They worked with weights and put people on diets. Their thing was vegetarianism,” she told the paper, published over the weekend. She continued, “They were very controlling. I wasn’t living with them but I was there a lot and they were always telling me I needed to come more. I had to pay for all the time I was there, so it was financially very draining.”

She remained part of the cult for a number of years, even after finding initial success in the National Lampoon's Animal House spin off sitcom Delta House and other short-lived projects, and it wasn't until she met her first husband, the actor Peter Horton, that she began to realise that she may be part of a cult. Horton was working on a movie about Rev. Moon Sun-myung’s Unification Church and learned from his research that the Moonies shared a number of parallels with the sect she had aligned herself to. She continued, “We were talking with an ex-Moonie and he was describing the psychological manipulation and I just clicked.”

Watch the trailer for Michelle's new film The Family

Pfeiffer refused to identify the cult leaders, only referring to them as a Los Angeles-based couple, but she did reveal that the two were, and may still be, personal trainers.

The Family arrives in cinemas in the UK on 22 November.

Michelle Pfeiffer
Pfeiffer was promoting her new film in the discussion as well