Allison Mack: How The Smallville Star Became A Sex Cult Leader

Smallville actress Alison Mack was prosecuted for her role in NXIVM and sentenced to three years in prison.

By Rick Gonzales | Updated

allison mack smallville

Actress Allison Mack had carved out a quite successful career before and after her popular stint on the hit series Smallville. But then came the bombshell. It was called Nxvim and it was not a TV series or feature film, it was real life. Allison Mack was one of the leaders in a sex cult.


Allison Mack

“I joined Nxivm first to find purpose,” Allison Mack said, sobbing, during her plea hearing in a Brooklyn federal court. “I was lost and I wanted to find a place, a community in which I would feel comfortable.”  This was Allison Mack’s justification for becoming a recruiter for NXIVM leader Keith Raniere.

NXIVM, by its own description, is a multi-level marketing company offering professional and personal development through what they call their “Executive Success Programs.”

The US government (and a new HBO documentary called The Vow) claims the reality of the situation is this: They are a cult, recruiting women as sex slaves for leader Raniere. Allison Mack was one of his top recruiters and one of the leaders of the organization under Raniere.

The US government and some of NXIVM’s ex-members allege that Raniere was a con man, that he stole money, branded women with his initials, used them as his sex slaves, and that he was able to keep these women in line with blackmail.

Raniere has now been found guilty on charges of racketeering and sex trafficking, and has been sentenced to 120 years in prison. So, what part did Allison Mack play in all this?

With Kristin Kreuk
Allison Mack and Kristin Kreuk

In 2006, way before Smallville came to an end, Allison Mack was introduced to NXIVM and eventually Keith Reniere. It was Mack’s Smallville co-star Kristin Kreuk, who actually brought her to this meeting.  

At the time Allison Mack joined, the courses set up by Nxivm were said to help eliminate psychological and emotional barriers and she saw it as a way to enhance both her acting abilities and relationships. But as one former Nxivm employee said per the New York Times, “One of the insidious things that the cult does is it breaks everyone down where you’re only focused on your flaws.” And it took to Mack.

Allison Mack jumped in with both feet, not looking back. As her former friend Frank Martorana recalls, “She just went from being an amazing, wonderful friend to being someone who was brainwashed, and I didn’t know how to get her back.”

Allison Mack sex cult recruiter

He never did get her back as Allison Mack fell deeper and deeper into the Nxivm organization. Her role also morphed as she became a recruiter and leader within Raniere’s inner circle.

Allison would go on to found Jness, a woman’s group under the Nxivm umbrella. It was Mack who invented the branding idea, marking the women as his. Allison helped create DOS, a secret society within Nxivm, where the recruited women were “slaves” who were overseen by “masters” while also sometimes being ordered to have sex with Raniere.

Mack and her now wife (and former Battlestar Galactica actress) Nicki Clyne worked on Dos together and were the top masters in the group. In a recent interview, Nicki Clyne claims the group was not sexual in nature, however accusations from the US government (which admittedly do not appear to have much evidence behind them) say otherwise.

Allison Mack in The Vow

As a recruiter, Allison Mack and her slaves would find women pitching their organization as a means towards female empowerment. They would then work them until they fit Raniere’s want and desire (some claim they weren’t allowed to meet Keith unless they lost a certain amount of weight), then kept them in line by way of the threat to release the “collateral” that had been collected.

Allison Mack, Nicki Clyne, and Kristin Kreuk were not the only celebrities linked to Nxivm. Sarah Edmondson (Stargate SG-1), Nicki Clyne (Battlestar Galactica), Bonnie Piesse (Star Wars) and Grace Park (Battlestar Galactica and Hawaii Five-O) have also been linked to the group.


Since the days that he played the young Lex Luthor on Smallville, Michael Rosenbaum has built a reputation as an interviewer on his podcast Inside of You. On a 2021 episode of the show, Rosenbaum shared a story about Allison Mack with guest Sarah Edmondson (The Vow). Rosenbaum said he didn’t recall the year — only that it occurred after the conclusion of Smallville — when Mack and two acquaintances stopped by his house.

Rosenbaum describes Allison Mack at the as being “a different person” and walking into his home “like she owned” his home. He said that, without asking permission, Mack and her two friends — whose names Rosenbaum didn’t know — went into his kitchen and began preparing food. Rosenbaum said when he questioned them about what they were doing, the man with Mack got hostile and he eventually threw them out. You can hear his retelling below.


Young Allison Mack

Allison Mack had it going on. She had everything a young actress would need to start a successful career in Hollywood. Her initial role came as a seven-year-old in the “comedy” Police Academy 6: City Under Siege.

As a young girl, she moved on to many various projects such as I Know My First Name is Steven and Empty Nest, as well as TV movies like Shangri-La Plaza, The Perfect Bride, Living a Lie, A Private Matter, and A Message From Holly. She had a recurring role in the TV series Evening Shade and for the next few years, she continued to find herself working on more TV movies and TV series.

The first time Allison Mack settled in for longer than an episode or movie was for the TV series Hiller and Diller, where she played Richard Lewis’ daughter. Unfortunately, it only lasted but one season, though it did give her a look at what life is like on her own series.

Mack then found herself on another short-lived series called Opposite Sex, which starred a very young Milo Ventimiglia and a pre-Captain America Chris Evans. This all put Allison Mack in line for the series that made her name.



The character Allison Mack played on the superhero show Smallville was an original created solely for the series. You won’t find her Chloe Sullivan in the comics before Smallville, but her character was so popular, she did eventually appear in the comics after.

Allison Mack’s Sullivan began as one of Clark Kent’s (Tom Welling) best friends, eventually falling in love with him. Even though Clark never returned those feelings, the two remained best friends throughout the duration of the series. It was a series that lasted ten seasons, Mack appeared as a regular in the first nine, recurring in the tenth and final season.

Allison Mack as Chloe

During her time on Smallville, Allison Mack appeared in a couple of Smallville spin-offs revolving around her character. One was called Smallville: Chloe Chronicles, which was an eight-episode TV series short. The other was called Smallville: Vengeance Chronicles, which lasted six episodes. These mini-series followed Sullivan as she continued her research around the Wall of Weird findings.

With Allison Mack a household name, she branched out as Smallville came to an end. She was in the mini-series Reise, then tried her hand at a few more TV series such as Wilfred, The Following, American Odyssey, and finally Lost in Oz. And then, as they say, life finally caught up to her.


This now ominous photo was one of the last Allison Mack posted on social media before her sex cult secret came out…

This was the last photo Mack posted of just herself before going to jail. It’s hard to tell if she’s really all that happy, behind the eyes…

This sordid tale continues with no immediate end in sight for Allison Mack. Even though both parties (Raniere and Mack) have been found guilty, Alison Mack made a plea to get out of jail. Her lawyers requested she receive no prison time.

Some of Mack’s co-conspirators in the “cult” were sentenced to six-years in prison. NXIVM’s founder Keith Raniere has been sentenced to 120 years. six years in prison seems more likely for Allison than the 120 Raniere. Allison Mack’s wife, Nicki Clyne, has not been charged at all.

Ultimately, Alison Mack received a sentencing of three years in prison for her role in the cult. Three years of probation were added as well. She also has to perform 1,000 hours of community service and pay a $20,000 fine. As of this writing, she a little more than a year into her sentence.

HBO has produced a nine-part documentary called The Vow, which chronicles the rise and fall of Nxivm. It details how this sex cult came to be, how they operated, and all the players involved. That includes Allison Mack who will now, forever, be known as one of the leaders of a blackmail sex cult and not the actress who once played Clark Kent’s best friend.

Fighting back against the narrative being pushed by HBO’s documentary, Allison’s wife Nicki and other DOS members have put together this website where they detail their perception of events and what their experiences were as members of DOS.


Allison Mack was released from prison in July 2023 and she is now on parole. It is unclear what the future holds for this former star though a return to Hollywood feels impossible at this point.

There is still a civil lawsuit pending against Allison Mack.