Glenn Close had an uncommon experience growing up: her family was in a cult.
The “Fatal Attraction” star appeared on People TV to share her story with People editor-in-chief Jess Cagle.
Close explained that her father joined the Moral Re-Armament — a cult-like religious group founded in the 1930s by Rev. Frank Buchman — and moved the whole family to Switzerland to be a part of it.
The actress eventually got out of the cult at age 22 when she went off to study acting; her family also eventually left the group.
“Each of us had to go through that process of forgiveness,” Close, now 71, said. “It wasn’t easy for my parents to talk about, certainly my father. But I guess I’ve made my career figuring out the why’s of behaviour, and I did the same thing with my parents.”
The healing did take time, and Close said that she resented her father over the experience for a period of time.
“There came a point where I got very, very angry at my father and I wrote him this letter where I was absolutely honest with [him],” she recalled. “I said, ‘You don’t deserve to be called our father.’ I mean, it was so harsh. In fact, I read it to my mother and I read it to my siblings and I said, ‘I’m just going to send this to Dad,’ because he was a narcissist and he was brilliant, brilliant, but he definitely had a dollop of narcissism.”
Close also opened up about how her mother affected the relationship between father and daughter.
“I think in many ways my mom enabled him,” she explained. “She never developed her, where she was brilliant, to the point where she said to me, near the end of her life, ‘I feel like I haven’t achieved anything.’”
Looking back now, Close has an understanding of what her parents went through and the decisions they made.
“I’ve learned more and more about them and more about what their situation was and how vulnerable they were at certain times,” she said. “I think I really understand why they were so vulnerable to a group like that. Not knowing the devastation that it would cause their children.”