Behind the Laughter: 'Chewbacca Mom' Pens Book About Her Struggles Before She Became Internet Sensation

Candace Payne reveals she was once sexually assaulted and was overcome by feelings of worthlessness.

Candace Payne, the Dallas housewife who became known as "Chewbacca mom” last year, is revealing the pain she endured before putting on the Star Wars mask in a new book.

After racking up a record 173 million views on Facebook, Payne is giving a glimpse into the life of the woman behind the mask in her new book, Laugh It Up!

Read: Exclusive Excerpt of 'Laugh It Up!'

It is surprising to learn that the woman who's brought so much joy has suffered through so much sorrow. She grew up poor and was even homeless as a child.

At one point, she says she lived in a van with her family. 

As a young adult, she wasn't known as the pretty one but more of the fun one. But inside, she was hiding feelings of worthlessness that were so overwhelming that she tried to kill herself with a pair of scissors. 

She's even revealing, like many women across the country, that she too was sexually assaulted.

“I thought, 'I’m going to get my first kiss from this kid,' but what happened was a situation of abuse instead," she said. "I remember thinking, 'Oh, so much shame — I brought this on myself.'"

Despite those hardships, the mom of two has clearly found joy today as the world-famous "Chewbacca Mom."

“There's not a day I don't walk in gratitude and I've got to be honest with you — that's the secret sauce to my joy,” she said. 

See here for an excerpt from Payne's book. Adapted from Laugh It Up by Candace Payne. Copyright © [2017 by Candace Payne.] Used by permission of Zondervan.