Simone Biles was reluctant to follow her friends and colleagues' leads by publicly accusing Larry Nassar of sexual abuse because she did not want to be labeled and have her horrific ordeal overshadow her career.
In 2018, the 55-year-old former U.S.A Gymnastics and Michigan State University doctor was sentenced to 40 to 175 years in prison for sexually abusing dozens of young female gymnasts, including Biles, and "Fierce Five" members McKayla Maroney, Gabby Douglas, Aly Raisman, Jordyn Wieber, Madison Kocian and Kyla Ross, under the guise of medical treatment.
Biles, who won gold medals at the 2016 Summer Olympics, talked about her ordeal in an interview with Priyanka Chopra for her YouTube series If I Could Tell You Just One Thing, released on Wednesday.
When asked when she knew she was abused, the Olympic champion said, "There was a time I asked my friend and I called her and I asked her the definition of 'sexually abused,' because some of my other friends, they had had it worse than me," the 22-year-old athlete said. "She said, "If he did that and that, you've been sexually abused.' I kind of brushed it off, and I was like, 'No, I'm am not willing to put that out there for the world to see. They're not going to see Simone the gymnast. They're going to see Simone as a sexual abuse survivor.'"
"So I denied it and I buried it and I was very depressed," she said. "I like, never left my room. I was sleeping all the time and I told one of my lawyers, I said, 'I sleep all the time because it's the closest thing to death.'"
Biles said she told her mom about the abuse first.
"I had just read the story about my friend coming out and I was balling and I called my mom and then I told her," she said. "And we had like, detectives come and stuff like that and that was the moment when I realized...It wasn't easy. I feel like I'm a stronger woman today and I feel like telling my story has helped younger girls."
Biles revealed her past abuse publicly via social media, in January 2018. She wrote, "After hearing the brave stories of my friends and other survivors, I know that this horrific experience does not define me. I am much more than this. I am unique, smart, talented, motivated and passionate. I have promised myself that my story will be much greater than this and I promise all of you that I will never give up. I will compete with all of my heart and soul every time I step into the gym. I love this sport too much and I have never been a quitter. I won't let one man and the others that enabled him to steal my love and joy."
She later spoke about her ordeal and mental health on the Today show and on Good Morning America.
"I still go to therapy, and I'm on anxiety medicine now because I had a lot of ups and downs throughout the year and trying to figure out what was wrong," she said on GMA. "So, I go to therapy pretty regularly. It's not easy, but the people surrounding me are some of the best so it makes it a little easier."