Actress Julianne Hough: ‘I Was Physically Abused as a Child’

NEW YORK | Wednesday, January 2nd, 2013 8:45pm EDT

In the cover story of the February issue of Cosmopolitan magazine, actress, dancer and singer Julianne Hough says she was abused as a child in London while studying at a prestigious dance academy.

Julianne Hough Child abuse Cosmopolitan February 2013 Cover 01

In the cover story of the February issue of Cosmopolitan magazine, actress, dancer and singer Julianne Hough says she was abused as a child in London while studying at a prestigious dance academy. Photo: Cosmopolitan

A good dancer makes it look easy. Julianne Hough, former “Dancing With The Stars” champ, certainly has that skill—storming Hollywood and scoring roles other actresses would kill for. But she also has a secret she’s finally ready to tell…

Many might envy the fairy-tale career of actress, singer and “Dancing With the Stars” champion Julianne Hough, but Ryan Seacrest’s girlfriend hasn’t always lived such a charmed life

Julianne Hough could relate to her character in the new film “Save Haven”, the upcoming film adaptation of Nicholas Sparks’ novel, in a very personal way.

The actress, 24, who plays a survivor of domestic abuse in the movie, reveals in the February issue of Cosmopolitan magazine that she was abused as a child.

When Julianne Hough was 10 years old, she lived in London, away from her parents in Utah, studying dance.

That’s when the abuse began, she says.

While attending the prestigious Italia Conti Academy of Arts, she says the adults around her took advantage of her being without parental supervision.

“I was a tormented little kid who had put on this sexy façade because that was my job and my life,” she said. “But my heart was the same, and I was this innocent little girl. I wanted so much love.”

The actress confessed about her childhood experience: “I was abused, mentally, physically, everything.”

She added: “I was 10 years old looking like I was 28, being a very sensual dancer.”

The actress, now 24, says the abuse became worse “when I started hitting puberty, when I started becoming a woman and stopped being a little girl.”

“You can kind of hear the quiver in my voice,” Hough tells Cosmo, acknowledging: “This is the farthest I’ve ever gotten into my London situation.

“I was told if I ever went back to the United States, three things were going to happen. One: I was going to amount to nothing. Two: I was going to work at Whataburger. And three: I was going to end up a slut. So, it was like, I can’t go back. I have to be this person.”

But Hough, who has been dating Ryan Seacrest for over two years, declined to give any other details on her painful experience. “I’m a very forgiving person, and I don’t want to hurt anybody,” she explains. “What’s past is past.”

But the painful emotions surfaced during filming of her latest movie, Safe Haven, opening Feb. 14.

Hough plays Katie, a young woman living in a small North Carolina town who falls in love with a man named Alex, played by Josh Duhamel. Hough’s character is reluctant to start the new romance because of a previous abusive relationship.

During one particularly difficult scene, she says, “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.”

Now a successful country-music singer with more films in the works, Hough is riding high as a Hollywood triple-threat.

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