Julianne Hough says she was abused when she was a young dancer training and working abroad as a 10-year-old.
“While I was in London, I was abused, mentally, physically, everything,” she told Cosmopolitan magazine, which features the former “Dancing with the Stars” pro on its February 2013 cover.
Following the divorce of her parents when she was 10, Julianne headed overseas to join older brother Derek, who was studying dance at London’s prestigious Italia Conti Academy of the Arts.
Julianne joined Derek as a fellow student at the school. However, she does not specifically indicate any abuse happened at the academy.
Yet the actress, who stars in the new film, “Safe Haven,” which follows the story of a woman who endures abuse and finds a way to move on – with a character played by Josh Duhamel – said she was sexualized before she was even a preteen.
“I was 10 years old looking like I was 28, being a very sensual dancer,” she told the mag. “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.”
The dancer-turned-actress said things got worse, “when I started hitting puberty, when I started becoming a woman and stopped being a little girl.”
She did not disclose what happened when she was in London, and said she has moved on.
“I’m a very forgiving person, and I don’t want to hurt anybody. What’s past is past,” she said.
Julianne said she has intentionally avoided discussing what happened in great detail.
“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,” she said.
But she did discuss some of what happened when she improvised on the set of “Safe Haven,” alongside Josh.
Cosmopolitan reported she did it after the two undressed, and got into a bed – under the direction of Lasse Hallstrom — as the cameras were rolling.
“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,” she added.
Following the publication of Julianne’s new interview with Cosmopolitan, a spokesperson for the Italia Conti Academy issued the following statement to Access Hollywood:
“Julianne was an exceptionally popular and talented pupil at the Academy and we totally refute any allegations that she was subject to abuse during her time with us,” the statement noted.
“It is no secret that during her studies she also spent a considerable amount of time training and successfully completing the ballroom and Latin dance world - which we had nothing to do with. We feel this article has been extremely badly worded and if re-read, you will see that although it mentions our name, it does not say that any abuse took place here,” the statement continued. “I feel sure Julianne would herself be horrified to learn that she had caused her old school any embarrassment or harmed its good name. As she herself said in an article in The Stage Newspaper of 19th June 2008: ‘I absolutely loved Italia Conti and can’t say a bad word about the place’. ‘It was a safe place.’”