Michelle Pfeiffer is in trouble. Forget about the Atkins Diet, going gluten-free or the Master Cleanse, because there is a cult that forces you to subsist only on air. Yes, oxygen, the stuff that’s not really stuff and doesn’t taste like anything because it’s essentially not anything. And the breatharian cult can count at least one famous person as a former member, as Michelle Pfeiffer has revealed that she used to run around eating air with the best of them.
Back when the actress was just starting out in Hollywood, she became involved with a couple who adhered to breatharianism and put her on a strict diet that “nobody can adhere to.” That’s because breatharians believe they are able to live only on the energy from sunlight and do not need nourishment from food. The energy derived from the sunlight is called “prana,” a Sanskrit word that translates to “life air” or “life force.”
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“They worked with weights and put people on diets. Their thing was vegetarianism,” Pfeiffer explains. Wait, vegetarianism doesn’t sound so bad. I’d be pretty content living off of mushroom quesadillas and cheese plates if that meant fulfilling a larger purpose. Oh wait, that’s just phase one. A typical breatharian program converts members gradually: become a vegetarian, then a vegan, then move to raw foods, then fruits, then liquids and finally prana. Your end goal is to replace physical food with air and light.
“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,” Pfeiffer continues. “I had to pay for all the time I was there, so it was financially very draining. They believed that people in their highest state were breatharian.”
By “highest state,” do you mean “dead”? Because at least four people have died from practicing this insane lifestyle.
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Pfeiffer finally snapped to her senses when she met her first husband, Peter Horton, who helped free her from what I assume were the very feeble clutches of some really skinny people. Horton happened to be working on a film about the Moonies, followers of the Unification Church founded by Sun Myung Moon. While helping Horton research that cult and cults in general for his movie, Pfeiffer says she soon realized, “I was in one.”
“We were talking with an ex-Moonie and he was describing the psychological manipulation and I just clicked,” she recalls.
These situations always make me wonder why it doesn’t “just click” when they first tell you that you’re not allowed to eat food — that should have been a red flag right there. I guess she was young, impressionable and more vulnerable than the average postgrad, since she was also trying to become an actress in Hollywood. So we’ll let this one slide, Michelle. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go maul a bacon cheeseburger.