A beautiful and talented dancer, singer, choreographer and now actress, Julianne Hough has what most would call the dream life.
But it hasn’t always been that way.
On news stands Jan. 8, Hough is featured in the new Cosmopolitan magazine talking about her struggles with abuse while living in London at age 10.
“I was abused, mentally, physically, everything,” she says. “I was a tormented little kid who had to put on this sexy facade 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 describes living away from her parents to study at the prestigious Italia Conti Academy of Arts with her brother Derek. That’s where the abuse began.
“I’ve been through certain things that have sucked the life out of me,” she told Entertainment Tonight, “and just the light about me was gone.”
It breaks my heart to hear stories like this, which seem all too common in the entertainment business. I can’t imagine what her parents went through, seeing potential in their child and sending her away to have amazing opportunities and finding out she was in a terrible situation.
Hough isn’t the only child who was sent away by her parents for better training. Young Gabby Douglas, Olympic gold medalist and all-around champion at last year’s Olympics, also traveled miles from home to live with another family, the Partons, so she could train with Liang Chow who coached Olympian Shawn Johnson to win both a world championship and gold medal. But that story had a much happier outcome, and Douglas still refers to Travis and Missy Parton as her “second parents.”
It’s so hard to let our children go, and I think the struggle about the right timing, the right place, and the right situation will always be one fought by parents as they lay down at night. And how you can ever really be sure of their safety and well-being is another worry.
But Hough says “what’s past is past” and has forgiven her abusers. She says her role as Katie in the new movie “Safe Haven” based on the novel by Nicholas Sparks has helped her heal.
“Being Katie, I relate a lot to her,” Hough tells ET. “The fact that she had been in one situation that just sucked the life out of her, and it was a bad situation, and she needed to change and move on and kind of find her own again. And through that you find love and everything.”
There was one particular scene where 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.”
“Safe Haven” opens Valentines Day.
What are your feelings on sending your precious ones out into the wicked world? When does opportunity take precedence over comfort and stability — or should it ever?