Julianne Hough Abused As A Child: What Happened To The 'Safe Haven' Star When She Was In London?

By IScience Times Staff Reporter on January 3, 2013 1:25 AM EST

Julianne Hough
Julianne Hough (L) is starting to open up about the sexual and physical abuse she suffered as a child, saying: "I was a tormented little kid who had to put on this sexy façade because that was my job and my life." (Photo: Reuters)

"Dancing With The Stars" Julianne Hough was abused as a child both sexually and physically, she says in Cosmopolitan's February issue, due to hit newsstands on Jan. 8. Though Hough has moved on and found happiness with boyfriend Ryan Seacrest, haunting images from her past came back when she was filming the movie "Safe Haven," which depicts a tale of a girl who survives abuse from her ex-boyfriend.

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Looking at the bubbly blond who is always smiling it's hard to imagine that she suffered ongoing torment as a child. The shocking story begins in London when Hough was sent to the well-regarded Italia Conti Academy of Arts to study dance. Away from her parents who lived in Utah, she had less supervision, even though her brother, Derek, was with her.

"I was 10 years old looking like I was 28, being a very sensual dancer," she recalls.

"I was abused, mentally, physically, everything," she tells the magazine. "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 dancer has such a carefree demeanor few would have suspected she had such a dark past. On "Dancing With The Stars" and at red-carpet events, the 5-foot-4 stunner is known for her infectious smile and laugh. But when she was a child she had to create that facade, she says.

While Hough was filming one of the most difficult scenes in the movie with co-star Josh Duhamel she "went from bawling to containing to laughing to crying again. Josh was crying," she recalls. "I think it was the most therapeutic moment of my life." 

Yet the abuse was never discussed in previous interviews - including a cover story in Glamour's July 2012 issue. For much of the Glamour interview she jokes around, but at one point she references a difficult time in her life. "I'm a very anxious person. If I'm not working, I go crazy. I've been lucky in my career. But if I lost everything tomorrow-and had no money-I would somehow make it work," she says. "I have that survivor mentality because of a lot of stuff that went on in a previous life. I feel like I've had four lives."

Even with a survivor mentality, Hough has to feel conflicted about her image as a sex symbol - especially when she poses for suggestive photo shoots. In the June/July issue of Interview magazine she talks about the struggle to be taken seriously in Hollywood: "When [DWTS] first asked me to be on the show, I said no, because I wanted to act and to be taken seriously. And I thought that being on a reality show would hurt my credibility ... My biggest fear is that people think, 'Oh, just because she was on DWTS, she thinks she can act now.' But I've been acting my whole life, which people don't realize. I just haven't had the opportunities that I've had with my dancing." 

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