I’m A Survivor: 15 Celebrities Who Survived Child Abuse

March 9, 2015  |  
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We all come from somewhere. These celebrities who survived child abuse didn’t just thrive. They went on to share their stories to help others overcome their pasts.

Mary J. Blige

Mary J. Blige says that the sexual abuse she suffered at the hands of a family friend permanently changed her life:

“That thing followed me all my life. The shame of thinking my molestation was my fault – it led me to believe I wasn’t worth anything.”

But Mary said her music, her manager P. Diddy and her husband Kendu helped her find the strength that she needed to find her self esteem again.

Queen Latifah

Queen Latifah opened up to Essence magazine about her experience with sexual abuse at the hands of a teenage babysitter:

“He violated me. I never told anybody; I just buried it as deeply as I could and kept people at an arm’s distance.

I never really let a person get too close to me. I could have been married years ago, but I had a commitment issue.”

Drew Barrymore

Drew Barrymore suffered from abuse at the hands of her father John Barrymore. Drew says she was also introduced to drugs, alcohol and sex at an early age as a child star.

Christina Aguilera

Christina Aguilera has been famously estranged from her father because of the physical and emotional abuse she suffered as a young child.

Oprah Winfrey

Oprah has been outspoken about the sexual abuse she suffered as a child. And she’s used her story and empire to help many other victims of abuse heal from their pasts.

Marilyn Monroe

As a child of the foster care system, Marilyn Monroe suffered sexual abuse from the men in her life. Later, she became one of the first Hollywood celebrities to bring the dialogue about child abuse to the public.

Bill Clinton

Bill Clinton’s stepfather Roger Clinton struggled with alcoholism. But although Bill Clinton suffered abuse at his hands, he never spoke up about the troubles he had at home. Bill Clinton later said that it was like living two parallel lives.

Tyler Perry

Tyler Perry bravely opened up about the physical and sexual abuse he suffered as a child during an interview with Oprah Winfrey.

Rosie O’Donnell

Rosie O’Donnell has spoken out for herself and her other four siblings that were victims of emotional, physical and sexual abuse in their home.

Missy Elliott

Just one week after revealing her diagnosis with Graves’ Disease, Missy Elliott opened up to VH1’s Behind The Music about her abuse by her 16-year-old cousin when she was only eight years old.

Gabriel Byrne

Usual Suspects star Gabriel Byrne has come forward as one of many children abused by clergy members.

Carlos Santana

When Carlos Santana was a young boy in Mexico, an American man visited him “almost every other day” to bring him over the border, buy him food, clothes and toys — and abuse him.

Since that experience, Carlos has dedicated time and resources to help combat child abuse around the world.

Lee Daniels

Director Lee Daniels grew up with an abusive father. He says that one of the ways he healed from his past was by making Precious to shed light on the horrors of child abuse.

Roseanne Barr

Roseanne Barr has always been outspoken about the abuse she says she and her siblings suffered at the hands of her parents. Her parents have just-as-publicly denied the abuse.

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