Kara DioGuardi Reveals Childhood Molestation, Date Rape

Former American Idol judge opens up in new memoir about the darker sides of her personal and professional lives

By Marc Malkin Apr 19, 2011 12:32 AMTags
Kara DioGuardiFrederick M. Brown/Getty Images

Kara DioGuardi may be one of the most successful people in the music business, but life hasn't always sounded so sweet for the former American Idol judge.

In her new memoir (out April 26), A Helluva High Note, DioGuardi reveals that, among other things, she was molested as a child and was date-raped by a well-known music producer...

DioGuardi, whose new show Platinum Hit premieres on Bravo on May 30, reveals that she was repeatedly molested when she was just 11 years old by a family friend's son who was in his late teens. "On one particular day, he took me into the back shed of his house and put his hands all over my breasts and vagina," she writes. "I remember freezing and not knowing what to do."

By 2000, DioGuardi's career started to take off. It was about that time she says that a "fairly known producer" date-raped her after having what she thought was a friendly dinner. "[W]ithin a few hours, he was on top of me, pumping, sweating, and speaking to me in Spanish, not a word of which I could understand," she writes.

She repeatedly told him to stop, but didn't try to fight him because she was too scared he'd become violent. She never told anyone about the horrific incident because she feared he would ruin her career.

A few years later, DioGuardi found herself sexually harassed by a "hugely successful artist." She was invited to a three-day songwriting trip. But instead of working, she writes, "the trip's activities consisted of watching Russian porn, scavenging around the kitchen for food [and] leering at two strippers...as they performed sex acts in the living room."

DioGuardi says she continued to work with the artist because, she writes, "I wasn't gonna let this bastard deter me from doing the job." She eventually walked away after he chased her around the basement of his suburban home and forced her hand on his privates.

DioGuardi also opens up about her difficulties getting pregnant during her final season of American Idol. After learning on the Internet that her job was on shaky ground because Ellen DeGeneres was leaving the show, DioGuardi asked producers to let her out of her contract. "I wanted a child and there was no way I could get pregnant under the stress of eighteen-hour work days and live TV," she writes, adding, "I had undergone three unsuccessful rounds of IVF during Season 9."

"Leaving was painful and there will always be a part of me that wanted to stay," she writes. "But my desire to be in control of my destiny was larger than my need to be a household name."