With her blonde and bubbly personality, you would never suspect Julianne Hough has a dark, tragic past. But in the February issue of Cosmopolitan she reveals a horrifying history of abuse that started when she was 10 years old.
She told the magazine that while her parents were back home in Utah, she went away to London to study dance at the prestigious Italia Conti Academy of Arts, and that's where it started. "I was abused, mentally, physically, everything," she said.
She went on to say:
I was 10 years old looking like I was 28, being a very sensual dancer. I was a tormented little kid who had to put on this sexy façade because that was my job and my life. But my heart was the same, and I was this innocent little girl. I wanted so much love.
It's heartbreaking and terrifying to me as the mother of a young girl to hear her story. I can't imagine letting my daughter go to London alone when she's 10, but the fact is it can happen anywhere. It also reaffirms every gut reaction I have when I watch shows like Toddlers& Tiaras in which young girls are sexualized way too young.
And, of course, Hough isn't the first star to drop such a bombshell. From AnnaLynne McCord, who in September revealed that she was a victim of sexual abuse, to Ashley Judd and Maria Menounos, there are have been a number of celebrities who have stepped forward to tell their stories. It happens too often.
Hough made the revelation as her film Safe Haven in which she plays a domestic abuse survivor is set to open February 14. She said while it was painful to relive some of the emotions she experienced as a child, it also helped her in a way. Of one scene she said, "I went from bawling to containing to laughing to crying again. Josh was crying. I think it was the most therapeutic moment of my life."
Overall, I think she's brave for coming forward like this, and I'm impressed that she's been able to thrive in life as she has despite what happened. But I also can't help but feeling a little disappointed that she never went after the person or persons that did this to her too.
Instead she said: "I'm a very forgiving person, and I don't want to hurt anybody. What's past is past." Which is great on one hand, but I also worry about the message it sends to children who may be being abused now.
Are you surprised to learn that Julianne Hough was a victim of abuse?
Image via Cosmopolitan