For those 12 intervening years, Mr. Shepard says he was wracked with guilt, feeling as though the molestation was his fault. He also struggled with feelings that he was secretly gay and that it was his own unconscious yearnings that prompted the neighbor to molest him. Ellis, who has also been a victim of abuse, understood the feelings of guilt, as described by Shepard.
Like many sexual abuse survivors, Dax says he struggled with alcoholism and drug addiction for several years, until he fully embraced sobriety in 2004. By the time Shepard and Kristen Bell connected, the Parenthood actor had been sober and clean for three years. Even now, Shepard's mother, who serves as an advocate for children placed in foster care, looks out for Dax and keeps his past in mind, whenever something of interest is brought to her attention.
"She called me not too long ago and she said, 'You know, I was just at a seminar this weekend and I learned that if you've been molested, you only have a 20 percent chance of not being an addict,'" Shepard recounted. "And I was like, 'Hm, interesting,' because in my mind I just like to... have a great time. But when you hear a statistic like that, I'm like, 'Oh no, I was going to be an addict, period.'"
[Image by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images]