California - MOL - Actress Michelle Pfeiffer has revealed she joined a cult that believed you can live without food or water. In a candid interview, the Dangerous Liaisons star describes being put on a diet 'nobody can adhere to' and psychologically manipulated by a 'very controlling couple' when she first reached Hollywood aged 20. She was taught to be a 'breatharian' - someone who supposedly gets all their nourishment from the sun, with no need to eat or drink.

And, despite struggling to earn a living, she was forced to pay for their guidance. Now, 35 years later, she describes being 'saved' by her first husband, actor Peter Horton. He landed a role in a film about the Moonies shortly after they met - an account of Rev Moon Sun-myung's Unification Church. As the young couple researched the notorious cult, 'it clicked'. 'I realised I was in one,' Pfeiffer, 55, told Stella Magazine. 'They were very controlling. '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.'

Pfeiffer, who was married to Horton from 1981-1988, described the couple leading the cult as personal trainers who prescribed vegetarianism, metaphysics and weight-training. Now a Hollywood heavyweight and married to Ally McBeal creator David Kelley, 57, she balks at her naivety.

She told the magazine: 'It was very extreme. There were various levels that I did try to reach.' The mother-of-two, who now proudly describes herself as a 'strict vegan', says she finally feels settled. She met her husband in the midst of adopting as a single mother - their oldest child Claudia Rose, now 20. They also have a biological son, John Henry, 19. And with family life settled, her career is on an equally steady path.

She is currently promoting her latest film, The Family, with Robert De Niro and Glee star Diana Agron. The trio play an Italian mob family who relocate to France under a witness protection programme. The stars have been on the European circuit promoting their film, which was released in the US on September 13 and continues to show in some cinemas across the country.