The actress and singer opened up to ET about her role on 'One Tree Hill' helped her navigate away from the clutches of a cult.
Bethany Joy Lenz is looking back at a dark time in her life and hoping to use her experiences to help guide others and to reclaim her own happiness.
Lenz recently say down with ET's Nischelle Turner to talk about revelations she made last month about how she spent a decade in an unnamed religious cult, and how she managed to finally leave the cult and recover from the emotional trauma.
Now, Lenz is working on her memoirs as part of her healing process, which she thinks might be able to shed light on the issue and help others stuck in similar predicaments.
"There are a lot of people that get caught up in things that are abusive and bad for them and we all have these weird pockets inside of us that are vacancies that are susceptible to something from an outside source that's gonna take advantage of us in some way," Lenz shared. "I think going through that, finding those places in me, and then being able to... put that on paper, and talk with other people who have been through that, [it's] been very cathartic and meaningful."
"I just really hope it helps somebody," she added. "I want to write about these experiences to help someone. I want to put it into songs. I want to have fun and get back all the moments that I feel like I lost in life."
Lenz first revealed her experiences with a cult in July, when she spoke about it during an episode of the Drama Queens podcast, telling co-hosts -- and her former One Tree Hill co-stars -- Sophia Bush and Hilarie Burton Morgan, "I was in a cult for 10 years. 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."
Last week, she got into more detail about the cult and how she got involved in an interview with Variety, where she explained how her One Tree Hill cast was fundamental in helping her realize the true nature of her situation.
Reflecting on the nature of cults, and her own experience in one, Lenz told ET, "I think control affects everyone in different ways, but there there are specific moments that I can call back to that are I remember feeling like, 'This is no longer just my relationship with God. Now, there is someone else in the mix.'" Namely, the leaders of the group who she says were using isolation and manipulation tactics to maintain authority over those who were a part of the cult.
"Those are the kinds of things I want to be able to write about and write succinctly and effectively about," she said. "So that's one of the reasons I've been working hard on [my book]."
"I want to heal, I want to move on, I want to use the things, the hard times that... I have been allowed to experience, and then move that forward into something else."
When it came to leaving the cult, Lenz said it had a lot to do with realizations she had during her time on the set of One Tree Hill, and others she had when she became a mom to her daughter, Maria, whom she shares with ex-husband Michael Galeotti.
"I think, at the end of the day, I had faith [in God] before I met the people in this group, and that's the thing that eventually led me back out," she shared. Lenz explained that, when it comes to getting indoctrinated into a cult or a radical group, it "really has nothing to do with your level of intelligence."
"It has to do with your emotional intelligence and the spaces in your life where you're susceptible to bad people doing bad things," she said. "So the strength has always been there [for me], it was just a little misplaced before."
She's now at a new crossroads in life where she feels comfortable and excited about exploring new avenues of self-expression and new creative passions.
"I grew up singing, writing songs, it was always the first love," she shared. "I pursued that and I also pursued acting at the same time, and did a lot of musical theater. [Then] my acting career took off."
"I followed the acting side, [but] then my life took a detour and I kind of came to a place where I had a child and I had to figure out how to raise her and what I was gonna do as a single mom, focused on her. Now she's 12 and she has a life of her own," Lenz said. "I kind of came to [the realization], I said, 'I miss singing so much. I miss songwriting, and I really wanna do this...' I just love music and I'm so happy."
Lenz is soon releasing a new single, "Strawberries," which she says is a song all about self-acceptance, embracing one's truth and finding joy.
"I've just been through a lot, and through a lot of ups and downs [now I'm at a] place where I can have some fun," she said, "and everything that I write doesn't have to be so serious or, you know, pensive."
"So much of my 20s was spent in [a bad place]. Now, I'm in a zone where I'm like, 'I just wanna have fun.'" She shared. "I'm writing [my book], I'm starting a newspaper, I'm like writing all the time. I feel like I'm in such a creative burst right now."
Lenz' upcoming single "Strawberries" will be available to stream on Aug. 18.