Glenn Close breaks down describing ‘cult’ childhood as she shares impact on relationships

Prince Harry stars in The Me You Can't See trailer

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Actress Glenn Close was reduced to tears as she spoke candidly about her upbringing. The actress, famed for playing Cruella de Vil, said her upbringing had a “devastating” impact on her adult life.

Glenn, 74, grew up in the wealthy area of Greenwich, Connecticut, USA.

However, aged just seven, her family left their comfortable home life and became involved with the Moral Re-Armament (RMA), where they stayed for 15 years.

The movement that was founded in 1938 is said to have dictated almost every aspect of its follower’s lifestyles including the items of clothing that were worn and what its followers were allowed to say.

Now, Glenn has spoken of the painful ordeal that she endured during those years.

Speaking on Prince Harry and Oprah Winfrey’s new AppleTV+ documentary The Me You Can’t See, Glenn opened up about this.

She said: “I was in this group called MRA and it was basically a cult, everyone spouted the same things and there’s a lot of rules, a lot of control.

“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.”

Going on to discuss how her upbringing affected her mental health, the actress added: “We were so broken up it’s astounding that something you go through at such a young stage in your life still has such a potential to be destructive.

“I think that’s childhood trauma, because of the devastation, emotional and psychological, of the cult.”

The actress has been married three times, to Cabot Wade between 1969 and 1971, James Marlas between 1984 to 1987 and David Evans Shaw from 2006 through till 2015.

Recalling her marriages, she explained: “I have not been successful in my relationships and finding a permanent partner and I’m sorry about that.

“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.

“It’s probably why we all have our dogs.”

Glenn, who had been sent to live in Switzerland at the group’s headquarters alongside her siblings, managed to leave the group aged 22 and sought professional therapy.

Outside of playing Cruella, Glenn is known for her extensive career on screen.

Some of her most acclaimed roles have included appearing in Fatal Attraction and Dangerous Liaisons.

More recent films include Albert Nobbs, The Wife and Hillbilly Elegy.

She has also received three Primetime Emmy Awards, three Tony Awards, and three Golden Globe Awards.

Glenn has been nominated eight times for an Academy Award but has not won yet.

If you or someone you know has been affected by this story, Samaritans (116 123) operates a 24-hour service available every day of the year.

Alternatively, you can find more information on the Samaritans website here.

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