9:41 AM EST, January 3, 2013
Former Dancing With The Stars cutie Julianne Hough is revealing a dark secret. She says she was abused while she was a child.
Hough is opening up about her private anguish in the February issue of Cosmopolitan.
"I was abused, mentally, physically, everything" she told the magazine.
There is rare YouTube video of Hough as a child dancer. She performed with her brother Derek Hough, and Mark Ballas. All three would grow up to become famous on Dancing with the Stars.
They all attended London's prestigious Italia Conti Academy of Arts. In her Cosmopolitan interview, Hough never said the abuse took place at the school. She said adults around her at that time took advantage of the fact that her parents weren't around.
She said,"I was 10-years-old looking like I was 28, being a very sensual dancer."
Julianne did look awfully grown up as a little girl, wearing full makeup and a sports bra. You can see the moves that would one day launch her to stardom. She says the abuse turned her into an emotional wreck.
"I was a tormented little kid who had to put on this sexy facade because that was my job and my life” she said. She went on to say the abuse got worse “When I started hitting puberty, when I started becoming a woman and stopped being a little girl."
Now many are wondering whether Mark Ballas' father, Corky Ballas may have either known about the abuse or been the abuser. He trained Julianne as a child. But she won't say who abused her.
She said, "I'm a very forgiving person, and I don't want to hurt anybody. What's past is past."
A spokesman for the dance school in London told us in an email they were "horrified" to learn of Hough claims and said, "We totally refute any allegations that she was subject to abuse during her time with us."
They also pointed to a 2008 interview in which she told a dance publication, "I absolutely loved Italia Conti and can't say a bad word about the place. It was a safe place.”
Julianne, now 24, and dating American Idol host Ryan Seacrest, is a big movie star. She starred in the remake of Footloose, and in the new movie Safe Haven in which she plays a girl who survives an abusive relationship.
Looks like she has been able to turn all that childhood heartache into genuine success and happiness.