Glenn Close says 'cult' upbringing left her 'psychologically traumatized'

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Glenn Close is opening up about her past.

As a lauded actress in Hollywood, many know that the 74-year-old has been nominated for an Oscar eight times, but what’s somewhat less prevalent about the star is her upbringing in a movement called Moral Re-Armament (MRA), which has been described as cult-like.

“It’s astounding that something you go through at such a young stage in your life still has such a potential to be destructive,” the star said during an interview on Prince Harry and Oprah Winfrey’s new Apple TV+ series “The Me You Can’t See.”

“I think that’s childhood trauma, because of the devastation, emotional and psychological, of the cult,” she added, per Page Six. “… I am psychologically traumatized.”

Glenn Close said that she was raised in a cult-like setting that left her ‘psychologically traumatized.’
(AP Photo/Chris Pizzello, Pool)

Close said that her father William became involved in the movement when she was just a child and located their family to the MRA’s Switzerland headquarters. The family lived there for two years while William worked as a doctor in Africa.

Ultimately, the family would be involved with the organization for about 15 years.

“It was basically a cult. Everyone spouted the same things, and there’s a lot of rules, a lot of control,” recalled Close. “Because of how we were raised, anything you thought you’d do for yourself was considered selfish. We never went on any vacations or had any collective memories of stuff other than what we went through, which was really awful.”

She said that her upbringing had lasting effects on her, and even played a role in her relationships. Close has been married and divorced three times, and also shares a daughter, Annie, with a previous long-time partner.

“I have not been successful in my relationships and finding a permanent partner, and I’m sorry about that,” she explained. “I think it’s our natural state to be connected like that. I don’t think you ever change your trigger points, but at least you can be aware of them, and at least you can maybe avoid situations that might make you vulnerable, especially in relationships.”

She joked: “It’s probably why we all have our dogs!”

Glenn Close says she was discouraged from doing anything for herself for 15 years while involved with the Moral Re-Armament.  (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for HFA)

The actress did not elaborate on how she cut ties with the organization, but at 22, she turned away and went to William & Mary College in Virginia to study drama.

Close noted that she ended up in therapy to treat the issues brought on by her upbringing and that her family has suffered from mental health ailments – her sister Jessie has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder and her nephew suffers from schizophrenia.

“Jessie was always considered the wild one, the rebel, but when she came up to me one summer at my parents’ house in Wyoming, her kids were already in the car, and she came up to me and said, ‘I need help, I can’t stop thinking about killing myself,’ and for me it was a shock,” the “Hillbilly Elegy” star said. “She ended up in hospital. I took her there. She was finally at age 50 properly diagnosed with bipolar one with psychotic tendencies.”

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