The star, 55, says she moved to Hollywood at age 20 and fell in with an unnamed couple that put her on a diet “nobody can adhere to.”
The mysterious pair, who Michelle described as “kind of personal trainers,” adhered to breatharianism, a type of ideology that believes practitioners can give up food and water and live off of sunlight and air.
CLICK ON THE IMAGE FOR GALLERY
As well as controlling her diet, the couple also brainwashed the impressionable young actress into giving them enormous amounts of money.
"I wasn't living with them but I was there a lot and they were always telling me I needed to come more. I had to pay for all the time I was there, so it was financially very draining."
Michelle says she was eventually "saved" when she was introduced to her first husband, actor Peter Horton. She was helping him research sects for his film Split Image by speaking to ex cult members called Moonies – followers of Rev. Sun Myung Moon's Unification Church – when she says she realized she was in one herself.
"We were talking with an ex-Moonie and he was describing the psychological manipulation and I just clicked,” she said.
Michelle, a staunch vegan, is now married to director David E. Kelley and has twochildren: Claudia, 20, and John, 19.