Michelle Pfeiffer has been in several Oscar-winning movies, but she was also in a real-life cult. The actress shockingly revealed to Stella magazine that she joined a breatharian cult when she first moved to Hollywood in the early ‘80s, but escaped with the help of ex-husband Peter Horton. Breatharians believe that people can live only on air and natural sunlight, forgoing food and water in the process. Four known people have died from attempting breatharian diets.
The actress told the magazine that a “very controlling” couple took advantage of her and introduced her to the breatharianism, providing her with “personal trainers” to adopt a diet that "nobody could adhere to" realistically. “They worked with weights and put people on diets. They believed that people in their highest state were breatharian,” she said. “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 time I was there, so it was financially very draining.”
Although Pfeiffer did not reveal how she escaped the breatharian cult, she credited Horton with helping her to realize that she was in a dangerous situation. At the time, he had been cast in a movie about Moonies, the nickname given to followers of Sun Myong Moon, who created the religious cult of South Korea in 1954.
Pfeiffer said that while helping Horton do research about the South Korean cult, 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.” Although the actress didn’t reveal when she left the breatharian group, it is assumed she did this before 1988, when she and Horton officially divorced.
But once she left the cult, Pfeiffer began to produce some of her finest work in Hollywood. She was nominated for two Academy Awards in the late ‘80s, receiving a Best Supporting Actress nomination for Dangerous Liaisons in 1988 and Best Actress nomination for The Fabulous Baker Boys in 1989. She received the Best Actress nomination once again in 1992 for the drama film Love Field.
Pfeiffer recently finished promoting the French release of her crime-comedy flick The Family, which ended up being a modest success stateside.