Bethany Joy Lenz Reveals Her New Memoir Cover — And Names the 'Cult' Where She Spent a Decade

The former 'One Tree Hill' star is speaking out about her trauma in 'Dinner for Vampires'

<p>Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic</p> Bethany Joy Lenz


Bethany Joy Lenz

Bethany Joy Lenz has revealed the cover of her new memoir and, for the first time, names the “abusive, high-demand group (aka cult)”  in which she spent a decade of her life.

Her new memoir, Dinner for Vampires, will detail the actress, singer-songwriter and former One Tree Hill star's life — including her years in a cult and associated “spiritual abuse," Lenz, 42, told PEOPLE when she first announced the book. She adds she has done “lots of therapy” over nearly a decade since, to help her heal.

As an only child, Lenz always craved belonging, according to the book's description. She found a safe haven in a Bible study group with other industry members, but it "soon morphed into something more sinister—a slowly woven web of manipulation, abuse and fear under the guise of a church covenant called The Big House Family," per the publisher.

<p>courtesy amazon</p> 'Dinner For Vampires' by Bethany Joy Lenz

courtesy amazon

'Dinner For Vampires' by Bethany Joy Lenz

As she got deeper and deeper into the group, Lenz relocated to the Family's Pacific Northwest compound, where the publisher says a “domineering minister” persuaded her to marry one of his sons. She describes how she lost millions of her TV income, as well as her autonomy.

Related: 'One Tree Hill' Star Bethany Joy Lenz Says She Has 'a Lot to Tell' After 10-Year Experience in a 'Cult'

The process has been challenging for Lenz, but not because of the writing. “I’m a writer at heart, so turning a phrase is easy for me,” she told PEOPLE. “Exploring the memories, and really facing them, can be challenging — but I’m doing it."

"Recovery looks different for everyone, depending on your experience of trauma," she explains of what it's been like emerging from the group's membership. “I had to start from a baseline of my personal understanding of God and the experiences I had had. And then there was a lot of going back to who I was before and remembering that, and then acknowledging that there was so much I just didn’t know.”

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In addition to working on her book, the actress and singer-songwriter has also been focused on her new music since moving to Nashville last summer. After playing the kind-hearted Haley James Scott for nine seasons on the popular CW coming-of-age drama, she also works on the nostalgia-fueled Drama Queens podcast with former costars Sophia Bush and Hilarie Burton.

Related: 'One Tree Hill' Alums Have a Mini Reunion at Bethany Joy Lenz's Holiday Party — See Who Was There!

Much like the book, Lenz was initially nervous about the podcast, which launched in 2021 and was “incepted as a memoir of everything that we had been through.” But opening up to listeners has ultimately proven worthwhile.

“It’s been really valuable,” she says. “I’ve arrived at the conclusion that the hard things are meant to be shared, not hidden. They can be helpful and healing.”

Dinner for Vampires will be released by Simon & Schuster on Oct. 22, 2024, and is available for preorder now, wherever books are sold.

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