In the new film Safe Haven, Julianne Hough plays a victim of abuse. And if the role resonated especially strongly with the blond beauty, it's because her character's story hit particularly close to home.
The Dancing With the Stars alum reveals that she, too, was a victim of abuse as a child when she began chasing her dream to be a dancer, and she opened up to Cosmopolitan about the emotional scars it's left behind.
In the magazine's latest issue, the 24-year-old explains how, at the wee age of 10, she hightailed it from Utah to London in order to follow brother Derek Hough to a prestigious dance academy.
"I was 10 years old looking like I was 28, being a very sensual dancer," she recalls about her time at the school, where she won a five-year scholarship.
There, she says, she suffered at the hands of adults who were supposed to look out for her. "While I was in London, I was abused—mentally, physically, everything," she explains.
Still, the hoofer proved to be a focused and determined pro even at a young age, as she struggled to keep her head held high amid the painful circumstances.
"I was a tormented little kid who had to put on this sexy façade because that was my job and my life," she says. "But my heart was the same, and I was this innocent little girl. I wanted so much love."
Although Hough declines to name her tormenters, she does offer, "I'm a very forgiving person, and I don't want to hurt anybody. What's past is past."
With her role in Safe Haven, it looks like Hough has found away to channel those struggles into a story that others might hopefully be able to learn from.