Julianne Hough Admits to Being Abused as a Child

The 24-year-old Safe Haven star opens up about her troubled childhood: "I was abused mentally, physically, everything."

For Julianne Hough, the subject of abuse in her new movie Safe Haven hit particularly close to home. The 24-year-old Dancing with the Stars alum has revealed that she was subject to a variety of different kinds of abuse when she was attending Italia Conti Academy of Arts as a child.

"I was abused mentally, physically, everything," she says in the February issue of Cosmopolitan. "I was 10 years old looking like I was 28, being a very sensual dancer."

Her parents sent her off to the prestigious school when she was a child, and Hough reveals that the adults around her started to take advantage of her when she hit puberty. However, the actress refuses to reveal who her abusers were now. "What's past is past," she says -- though it's clear the abuse left an impact on her.

"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. I wanted so much love," says the actress, who's currently in a relationship with Ryan Seacrest. She adds that things got worse "when I started hitting puberty, when I started becoming a woman and stopped being a little girl."

In Safe Haven, Hough plays a woman who created a new identity for herself to hide from her abusive husband. Her character finds new love in a kind-hearted widower played by Josh Duhamel. Many of the scenes in the film are very emotional -- and both actors were affected.

"I went from bawling to containing to laughing to crying again," Hough remembers. "Josh was crying. I think it was the most therapeutic moment of my life."

Save Haven is based on the Nicolas Sparks novel of the same name. It is due in theaters on Feb. 14.

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