In an exclusive interview with Cosmopolitan, Julianne Hough claimed that she was frequently abused as a child in London while studying at a prestigious dance academy and was promised by abusers that she would “amount to nothing” if she ever spoke out.
Hough, 24, who appeared on the February cover of Cosmo, said she aspired to be a professional dancer, like members of her Mormon family growing up in South Jordan, Utah. When a spot opened, she joined London's prestigious Italia Conti Academy of the Arts with her brother when she was 10-years-old, right after her parents divorced. Hough won a five-year scholarship to the academy and was set for stardom, but said she was abused along the way.
“I was abused, mentally, physically, everything,” she told Cosmo. “I was 10 years old looking like I was 28, being a very sensual dancer. 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.”
Hough didn’t describe exactly what happened but said she was warned never to speak about her alleged abuse.
"This is the farthest I've ever gotten into my London situation," she told Cosmo. "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."
Hough, who has won “Dancing With the Stars” twice, said she decided to finally open about her alleged abuse following her latest role in “Safe Haven.” Hough plays Katie, who lives in a small North Carolina town and was abused in a previous relationship, forcing her to halt a romance with Alex, who is played by Josh Duhamel.
Hough said that for her, the role was close to home.
“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 said.
Hough's boyfriend is Ryan Seacrest, whom she talked about, like watching “Ted” in bed during Hurricane Sandy.
"We couldn't work," Hough said. "We just got to stay in our bed and in our pajamas—until the power cut out."