She’s known for playing brash, vixen-type characters on shows like 90120 and Nip/Tuck, but AnnaLynne McCord says she wasn’t always so confident – in fact, the actress struggled with trauma as a child and even went through a dark and suicidal period as a young adult.
In a new essay for Cosmopolitan magazine, the star opens up for the first time about her difficult childhood and how she was sexual assaulted by a former friend as a teenager.
Raised in an "extremely religious and conservative family in Georgia," the 26-year-old actress – who was homeschooled by her mother and wasn't allowed to watch Harry Potter because "it had witches in it" — says that she and her sisters were made to suffer “painful and ritualistic” punishments at the hands of her parents.
“My parents believed in strict ‘discipline,’ as they called it — I would call it abuse,” she writes.
At 15, the blond beauty moved out of her parents home and signed on to a modeling agency in Miami, where she lived in a house with eight other models and entangled herself in a series of chaotic and “violently dramatic” relationships.
After confronting her parents over her traumatic childhood, AnnaLynne says she and her mother and father (pictured) are much closer now.
Then, when she was 18 and living in Los Angeles, she was sexually assaulted by someone she considered to be a friend. Afterwards, AnnaLynne says she “went dark.”
“Around this time, I landed a role on Nip/Tuck. My character, Eden, was confident, sexy, audacious. But privately, I was reeling,” she said, describing how she grew depressed and began harming herself in secret.
After confronting her attacker at a bar, where he boasted that she was in love with him to everyone they knew, the actress hit rock bottom.
"I had pills and water in hand and thought seriously about killing myself," she writes. "I didn't fear death — it felt like a solution."
With the help of therapists and her sister Angel by her side, AnnaLynne says she began recovering from the trauma and says she has spun her story into a positive and inspirational message for young women.
“Most of all, I have my message for women and girls: You have a voice. Don’t put yourself in a box. Don’t let the polite lies of society silence you. Honestly, I would endure everything all over again — it has led me to my own revolution.”