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Julianne Hough Reveals Childhood Abuse

Julianne Hough
Jason Merritt, Getty Images

Actress, dancer and country singer Julianne Hough may appear to have a charmed life, but in a new interview, she reveals that she is a survivor of childhood abuse.

While attending the Italia Conti Academy of Arts, “I was abused, mentally, physically, everything,” Hough tells Cosmopolitan magazine (quote via People).

She was 10 years old and living in London at the time, studying dance at the prestigious academy while her parents remained in Utah. “I was 10 years old looking like I was 28, being a very sensual dancer,” Hough recalls. “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.”

The 24-year-old performer adds that the abuse worsened when she hit puberty, but declines to name her abusers or provide any details. “I’m a very forgiving person, and I don’t want to hurt anybody,” she says. “What’s past is past.”

Still, she was forced to confront those old emotions head-on while filming her new movie, ‘Safe Haven.’ The film chronicles the relationship between a woman who survives an abusive ex-boyfriend and a widower, played by Josh Duhamel. Hough says that one particularly wrenching scene was especially hard to film.

“I went from bawling to containing to laughing to crying again,” she recalls. “Josh was crying. I think it was the most therapeutic moment of my life.”

‘Safe Haven’ opens on Feb. 14.

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