A religious group says Rose McGowan's remarks regarding her childhood experiences in what many have dubbed a "cult" are "suspect at best and at times absurd."
The 38-year-old star of the series "Charmed" and the new "Conan The Barbarian" film was born in Italy and raised in a commune run by the Children of God, which was once investigated following allegations of prostitution, polygamy and sexual abuse.
The actress, who moved with her family to the United States as a child, recently told People magazine that her father smuggled her and several of her siblings out of the group out of fear she would be abused sexually. She also said members were permitted to engage in polygamy and that one member of the group harmed her physically.
In the late 1970s, the organization reorganized itself and has changed its name to The Family International. The group says it considers child abuse of any kind a crime and a "sin in the eyes of God."
"Rose McGowan's stories are suspect at best and at times absurd, seemingly based on wild speculations and imperfect childhood memories, crafted for the sake of sensational publicity," the group said in a statement to OnTheRedCarpet.com on Thursday, August 25, citing what it implied are conflicting reports about the timeline of her childhood and arrival in the United States.
"The usage of the label 'cult' in reference to the Family International (TFI) by the media is pejorative and discriminatory," the group added.
Years after moving with her family to the United States, McGowan emancipated herself at age 15 and relocated to Los Angeles to pursue acting. She nabbed her breakout role on the WB drama series "Charmed" in 2001, replacing cast member Shannen Doherty.
"At 13, when I was a runaway, I was taken in by the most amazing drag queens in Portland, Oregon," McGowan told The Advocate earlier this month. "We didn't always know where our next meal was coming from, but there was so much camaraderie and love," she said. "Not to mention, those girls could paint a face, and I learned how because of them."
McGowan is also known for her unique, sometimes flashy clothing style and high-profile relationships. She was engaged to shock rocker Marilyn Manson for more than two years before they split in 2001. She later dated Ahmet Zappa, son of the late singer Frank Zappa, and was engaged to Robert Rodriguez, who directed her in the 2007 action-horror flicks "Planet Terror" and "Grindhouse."
McGowan's "chosen lifestyle, whether among drag queens or rock stars" has no "relation to the Christian values embraced by TFI and her peers who remain in TFI, who are devoted to humanitarian and charitable work in over 90 countries," The Family International's statement said.
McGowan can currently be seen in the film "Conan the Barbarian," a remake of a 1982 Arnold Schwarzenegger fantasy film, McGowan plays the villain Marique, a witch and the daughter of an evil warlord. Jason Momoa portrays the title character, who seeks revenge for the destruction of his tribe. He previously starred on the show "Stargate: Atlantis" and plays Khal Drogo on the HBO fantasy series "Game of Thrones."
(See photos from the "Conan the Barbarian" premiere). The film was released on August 19. Check out a trailer below.