Michelle Pfeiffer was once part of a cult that encouraged its members not to eat food or drink water. The actress, 55, has revealed she joined a "very controlling" group that followed Breatharianism.

Followers of the practice believe food is unnecessary and sunlight can provide all the nourishment the body needs. The belief has attracted wide criticism and has been linked to a number of deaths.

Pfeiffer told Britain's Sunday Telegraph: "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."

The actress, who moved to Los Angeles at age 20, didn't realize she was in a cult until she helped her ex-husband actor, Peter Horton, research for his role in a movie based on the Moonies - a name given to followers of Rev Moon Sun-Myung's unification church.

She explained: "We were talking with an ex-Moonie and he was describing the psychological manipulation and it just clicked."

Pfieffer currently stars in "The Family" opposite Robert De Niro.