As a famous Bollywood actress she landed roles in a host of jaw-dropping films with runaway plotlines.
But no script has more twists and turns than Sofia Hayat’s own life story, which saw her go from a rebellious party animal to a devout nun – before finding her calling as a millionaire spiritual healer.
Despite her success, in 2018 she claims she came close to losing her £3million London home after the man she thought she loved allegedly tried to fraudulently sign over her house to his ex-wife.
After spending £150,000 on lavish holidays and gifts for her partner, Sofia claims to have discovered he had been siphoning money from her business in a sordid plot with his ex-wife.
Sofia says he admitted his crimes under the influence of ayahuasca, a South American hallucinogenic tea, which he allegedly partook in during a spiritual retreat to South America.
She claims he stole her passport, birth certificate and the deeds to her home, hid away household items he said Sofia had ‘lost’ – and had even been secretly adding fat to Sofia’s morning smoothie’s in a bid to worsen her health.
Now 47, Sofia, who lives in Battersea, works as a high-profile healer and spiritual guru and told FEMAIL her ordeal has taught her a valuable life lesson.
Sofia Hayat, 47, accused her former partner of plotting to fraudulently sign over her £3million London house to his ex-wife – discovering alleged crimes during an ayahuasca ceremony
Sofia, pictured at a movie premiere in 2015, was a Bollywood actress before she became a spiritual healer
‘I feel good because I know that it was one of my lessons’, she said. ‘I believe in past lives I believe I have made his mistake many times. I needed to grow up, I needed to learn never to get into a relationship with someone who is not worthy of who you are today.’
Growing up in Rochester, Kent, Sofia belonged to a strict Muslim household – but says she struggled to cope with her ‘very repressive’ childhood.
‘I questioned everything’, she said. ‘I was covered up most of the time, until I went to university. My parents were very strict but I still grew up with music and my first love was always music.’
After taking a year out from her science degree, Sofia decided to change her university course to pursue her love of music – a move which caused her to lose contact with her family.
Now 47, Sofia, who lives in Battersea, works as a high-profile healer and spiritual guru and told FEMAIL her ordeal has taught her a valuable life lesson
As an aspiring actress and singer, Sofia spent her early 20s rebelling against her strict upbringing in London’s vibrant party scene.
‘I had sex, drugs rock and roll – you name it’, she said.
‘I thought it was freedom but it was rebellion. Rebellion is never freedom and it’s probably putting you into more of a prison, I built this identity, built on a rebellion from my upbringing’.
At the age of 23 Sofia met her first husband, a City banker, through a friend in Chelsea.
‘He was very wealthy’, she said. ‘He would buy really expensive stuff. Money was never an object, but unfortunately he was the Wolf of Wall Street.’
After 12 years together, the pair divorced in 2012.
Still working as an actress, Sofia first heard about ayahuasca from a friend who had taken the hallucinogenic and travelled to South America for the first time in 2014.
After taking the drug for the first time, Sofia had a spiritual awakening, deciding she no longer wanted to be associated with her identity as an actress and instead
‘All of my psychic ability woke up’, she said. ‘All of my past lives woke up and that’s when I stopped all the acting work and travelled the world going to ancient temples and pyramids. I went from India to Egypt to Mecca, and then the healing started.’
The celebrity-loved drug that creates a ‘waking-dream’ state: What is
Made from vines and leaves in the Amazon jungle, the psychedelic brew is popular with celebrities including Sting and Lindsay Lohan.
The drug, often used as a traditional spiritual medicine, contains dimethyltryptamine (DMT), a hallucinogenic drug that is illegal in the UK.
It is used both socially and as a ceremonial spiritual medicine among the indigenous peoples of the Amazon basin.
Research in November 2019 found that ayahuasca distorts brain waves to create a vivid ‘waking-dream’ state.
Research fellow Dr Robin Carhart-Harris, head of the Centre for Psychedelic Research at Imperial College, said: ‘DMT is a particularly intriguing psychedelic.
‘The visual vividness and depth of immersion produced by high-doses of the substance seems to be on a scale above what is reported with more widely studied psychedelics such as psilocybin or “magic mushrooms”.’
The research team infused 13 volunteers with DMT, after fitting them with electroencephalogram (EEG) caps to detect the brain’s electrical activity before, during and after their trip.
They found the ‘peak psychedelic experience’ lasted around ten minutes and affected the volunteers’ alpha and theta brain waves.
At the age of 41, Sofia – who had previously been on FHM list of sexiest women – decided she wanted to leave the world of showbiz behind to become a celibate spiritual nun.
‘My body didn’t want to have sex any more’, she said. ‘I wore a white habit. It was liberating. ‘I didn’t have to get up and think about “I have to see this person today, what will I wear”. I didn’t dye my hair, it was freedom. ‘
After 18-months in as a nun, Sofia decided to leave the nunnery to pursue a six-month relationship with a personal trainer she had previously met through social media.
Soon after the pair got together, Sofia met the alleged scammer, who was 15 years her junior at 28, after he sent her a message on Facebook asking if he could attend the meditation group she held at her Kensington home.
He quickly began to pursue Sofia, sending her chocolates, flowers, crystals and perfumes several times a week while showering her with compliments about how much h respected her spiritually.
Sofia never assumed the young man was interested in her sexually and so developed a friendship with the alleged conman where she would regularly open up about her relationship problems.
She described him as ‘very charming, always very well dressed. He always wore a waist coat and a suit and was very well groomed.’
He told Sofia he was an architect who had designed grand staircases ar palaces in Paris and Dubai, Saudi Arabia, however he was unable to work in the UK and so made money selling perfumes in Selfridges.
The pair were in Sofia’s temple one day when she discovered her boyfriend had cancelled their dinner reservations just an hour before they were set to arrive.
With the deposit for the meal already paid, Sofia asked the alleged conman if he’d like to come along in her boyfriend’s place.
‘He was very charming’, said Sofia. ‘We sank a couple of bottles of Dom Perignon, and he probably spent a grand on champagne. He got a driver to take me back to my home.
After sharing a kiss, Sofia sent him home.
The alleged conman travelled to Romania to see his son, and when he returned arrived at Sofia’s house, armed with a gold necklace as a gift, Sofia had broken up with her previous boyfriend.
‘I looked at him and said “I want you to move in with me”, said Sofia. ‘He moved in the next day and we hadn’t even had sex this point.
‘I was head over heels, the guy would shower me with gifts and charm and was always saying the right thing. It was really romantic and I kind of allowed myself to go with the flow of this romance.’
Three weeks after the pair moved in together, they underwent a ‘sacred union’ marriage gifting her partner a £20,000 Cartier ring before paying for a ceremony in Battersea Park which cost £70,000.
‘I didn’t want to be married under any religious constitution, she said. ‘We asked a friend of ours to conduct a spiritual ceremony in Battersea Park, it was stunning, she said.
‘It was really beautiful. Six white horses, I had a marquee in the park for the after party, a jazz band and a harp player, a string quartet, champagne – everything.’
Former Bollywood actress Sofia is pictured on the red carpet of the The Asian Awards in central London in 2019
None of the fraudster’s friends or family attended, with the alleged conman claiming he wasn’t speaking with his dad over money disputes and that he didn’t have any friends in England.
The couple were together for 12 months before Sofia discovered her partner’s secret, and despite funding his lifestyle from the outset, says they had a ‘great romance’ for a while.
He had initially paid for his lavish lifestyle with money left to him following his mother’s death, and became irate when Sofia asked him to help around the house in exchange for her money.
‘I didn’t begrudge it but I did expect him to pull his weight’, she said. ‘So I said at one point “Look I want you to clean the house once a week, I can get rid of the cleaner and that can make up for the holidays I’m paying for”.
Their average holiday would cost £10,000, with Sofia once hiring an entire 100-person tourist boat so she and her partner could swim with dolphins in private.
Sofia first began to suspect something was wrong when she found suspicious texts to a colleague on his phone, telling the male employee that he was ‘sad he couldn’t see him’.
‘It was just a bit weird, that was the first thing’, said Sofia. I made a habit of looking through his phone whenever I could’.
At the age of 41, Sofia – who had previously been on FHM list of sexiest women – decided she wanted to leave the world of showbiz behind to become a celibate spiritual nun
While snooping through his phone, Sofia was baffled after discovering a text to the colleague talking about selling two Rolex’s – none of which he owned.
‘I didn’t want to believe he was selling my jewellery, I’d given him the combination to my safe I trusted him that much’, she said.
After texting the number pretending to be her partner’s secretary, she asked the colleague to send a picture of the pieces up for sale, and was devastated to see her partner was selling two of her own watches.
‘That’s when I kind of broke down, she said. ‘I was taking my dogs for a walk, I just broke down on the street and didn’t know what to do, after all the money I’d spent on him. I kind of believed him until the point I saw those images.’
Sofia immediately kicked him out of the house, but a week later had a change of heart, believing her partner may have been in some financial trouble she didn’t know about.
She decided to hear what he had to say and arranged a meeting at her home, supported by some of her friends.
‘He stood up and said “I know i’ve hurt Sofia I really love her and I just want to say in front of all of you I will never hurt her again but I needed the money for something but I will never do it this way again”.
The alleged scammer claimed to have stolen money to pay for lawyers, because his ex-wife was trying to seek custody of their son.
A concerned Sofia not only took her partner back, but offered to pay thousands for the alleged scammer to seek advice from a ‘lawyer’ in Romania – who she even spoke to on the phone.
Sofia Hayat ‘Legend’ film premiere, London, Britain – 03 Sep 2015
‘I’d actually met the lawyer with the boy’, she explained. ‘Prior to us breaking up I’d gone to Romania, met the lawyer, the son, the lawyer’s family. We all went for dinner, his wife and children, he was saying “He is in a lot of trouble, it’s going to be very expensive’.
Soon after taking her partner back, the pair travelled to South America on holiday, where they decided to undergo an ayahuasca ceremony.
In the middle of the ceremony – while under the influence of the psychoactive brew – Sofia asked him to tell the truth about what had happened.
‘He said “I’m stealing money from your business, I’m taking money from your safe. Me and my ex-wife are planning to steal your house. I’ve taken the deeds of your house from the safe and i’ve hidden them in a black bag at the back of my cupboard.’
After admitting to Sofia that he was still in love with his ex-wife, Sofia finished with him for good, storming out of the ceremony and quickly booking a separate flight back to London.
While her partner tried to contact Sofia after the ceremony, claiming what he’d said under the influence of ayahuasca had not been true, she was adamant he was stealing from her.
While clearing out his possessions back in London, Sofia discovered a bag hidden in one of the wardrobes containing the deeds to her house, her passport and her birth certificate.
‘I think the plan was for his ex-wife, who also has dark hair, to pretend she was me and sign over the property to him’, she said.
Sofia also discovered her partner had stashed way three pairs of her socks which he had previously claimed she had lost while insisting “You are becoming forgetful Sofia, you are very forgetful”.
‘He was playing with my head, he was trying to make me think I had an issue with my head’, she said.
Shortly after he left, Sofia had her bloodwork taken and discovered her triglyceride levels were alarmingly high, despite the spiritual guru maintaining an extremely healthy lifestyle.
Sofia Hayat ‘The Danish Girl’ film premiere, London, Britain – 08 Dec 2015
‘Basically he’d been making me these protein shakes which he had been loading up with fat’, claimed Sofia.
While Sofia does not know how much money her partner allegedly siphoned from her business, the only valuable he left with was the £20,000 ring she purchased for their ‘wedding’.
On June 28th, 2018, Sofia reported the theft to police, but the investigation was closed a month later.
Sofia claims that after being arrested for an unrelated theft in Covent Garden, the alleged conman fled the country and remains in Romania.
‘I wasn’t sad’, said Sofia. ‘There were no tears. I felt like I learned my lesson, he was the end of all the lessons I had to learn. I was done with people taking advantage of me.
‘I’m no longer scared and the aftermath was really me asking “Have you learned your lesson?” I have. I feel proud of myself, I felt like I’d grown – like all my lifetimes have finally grown up’ .
Sofia Hayat’s new album ‘Wisdom of The Mother’ is available from iTunes, Amazon and Spotify