Glenn Close Reveals She Spent Her Childhood in a Cult -- the Moral Re-Armament

"You basically weren't allowed to do anything," she said of her youth.

ByMICHAEL ROTHMAN
October 16, 2014, 1:23 PM
PHOTO: Glenn Close is pictured on Sept. 9, 2014 in New York City.
Glenn Close is pictured on Sept. 9, 2014 in New York City.
Mark Sagliocco/Getty Images

— -- Glenn Close is Hollywood Royalty, but the 67-year-old, Oscar-nominated actress reveals in the latest issue of The Hollywood Reporter that she's "kind of a recluse" and "wouldn't say I'm naturally social."

In fact, the "Damages" star and three-time Emmy Award winner opens up further about her childhood and growing up with her father, William Taliaferro Close.

The doctor worked for Congolese leader Mobutu Sese Seko and then had his family wrapped up in a religious cult called the Moral Re-Armament during her formative years. It all started at the age of 7.

"I wouldn't trust any of my instincts because [my beliefs] had all been dictated to me," she said of the cult.

The interview, which was conducted to highlight Close being back on Broadway in 'A Delicate Balance,' goes on to explain that the Moral Re-Armament began in the 1930's and was led by Rev. Frank Buchman. The cult began as anti-war, but as most do, it changed radically over the years.

"I haven't made a study of groups like these, but in order to have something like this coalesce, you have to have a leader," she said of the group. "You have to have a leader who has some sort of ability to bring people together, and that's interesting to me because my memory of the man who founded it was this wizened old man with little glasses and a hooked nose, in a wheelchair."

Close recalled her life before the cult living at her grandfather's Connecticut estate, but when her father joined MRA.

"You basically weren't allowed to do anything, or you were made to feel guilty about any unnatural desire," she said.

"If you talk to anybody who was in a group that basically dictates how you're supposed to live and what you're supposed to say and how you're supposed to feel, from the time you're 7 till the time you're 22, it has a profound impact on you," she continued. "It's something you have to [consciously overcome] because all of your trigger points are [wrong]."

When Close went off to college at the age of 22, the MRA and her past was still with her.

"I would have dreams because I didn't go to any psychiatrist or anything. I had these dreams, and they started with betrayal, a sense of betrayal, and then they developed into me being able to look at these people and say, 'You're wrong. You're wrong,'" she said. "And then the final incarnation of those dreams was my being able to calmly get up and walk away. And then I didn't have them anymore."

The "Albert Nobbs" star continued, "They knew that was it. I had nothing to do with them from that point. And I wouldn't have anything to do with them."

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