Julianne Hough, who plays a domestic abuse survivor in the upcoming film Safe Haven, recently opened up about her own abuse when she was a child dancer in London.
The 24-year-old actress, dancer, and singer revealed to Cosmopolitan that she had been sexualized at the young age of 10 years old after she moved from Utah to England to attend the Italia Conti Academy of Arts. She said the adults took advantage of her since she was away from her parents.
“I was 10 years old looking like I was 28, being a very sensual dancer,” Hough said. “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.”
Hough also said that she was abused in practically every way possible as a child, but she didn’t detail the abuse or say who her abuser was.
“I’m a very forgiving person, and I don’t want to hurt anybody. What’s past is past,” she said.
When she hit puberty, the abuse got worse, and her abuser threatened her by telling her she would never amount to anything if she went back to the US. Her abuser also told her that she would “work at Whataburger” and “end up a slut.” With that in her head, Hough stayed in London, never revealing to her parents what was going on.
“I’d rather take the pressure on myself,” she said. “To this day, I don’t want to be a burden … I was perfect – perfect to a fault.”
She was finally able to leave after she attended a concert in 15 at which one of her idols sang about being free. She left London two days after the concert and never came back.
The memories of the abuse stayed with her, however, but her new film gave her an unexpected cathartic release.
While shooting a difficult scene inSafe Haven, Hough said, “I went from bawling to containing to laughing to crying again. Josh [Duhamel] was crying. I think it was the most therapeutic moment of my life.”