Julianne Hough’s claims of childhood abuse have angered her host family

Last week, Julianne Hough revealed in a new interview with Cosmopolitan Magazine that she had been abused as a child. Julianne plays an abuse victim in her new movie, Safe Haven, which is out in the US on February 14. She seemed to think it was the right time to tell her story, and it rang true. At the age of 10, Julianne went with her older brother, fellow DWTS alum Derek Hough, from her home in Utah, to London to train as a dancer with the Ballas family. (The parents of DWTS professional Mark Ballas.) Hough told Cosmopolitan that “While I was in London, I was abused, mentally, physically, everything.” She declined to name her abuser, but claimed that he told her “if I ever went back to the United States, three things were going to happen. One: I was going to amount to nothing. Two: I was going to work at Whataburger. And three: I was going to end up a slut.” Whataburger is an American burger chain, so some people believed that she was giving a hint as to her abuser’s identity, without naming him outright.

Star Magazine [via Radar] has a new story claiming that Corky Ballas, Mark Ballas’ father, is outraged that Julianne claimed that she was abused while under his care. Here’s their story:

Mark’s father Corky and his ex-wife Shirley “are livid with Julianne over suggestions that she was abused in the U.K. under their care,” a source close to the Ballas family told Star. “At Corky’s own expense, he took Julianne into his home and turned her into a world-class dancer.

“Now, he feels like he has been ambushed.”

The Footloose beauty, a source said, interpreted Corky’s encouragement as abuse, and wound up leaving England prematurely.

“At the end of her time in London, they were barely speaking,” the source said. “One thing’s for sure — she really opened a can of worms.

“The Ballas family and the Houghs are up in arms.”

The full story is in the new issue of Star, on newsstands Thursday.

[From Radar Online]

Here’s what gets me about this story. If it’s true that Star has a source close to Corky Ballas, that’s a weak argument that Julianne “interpreted Corky’s encouragement as abuse.” The phrasing bothers me, as does the claim that Corky “took Julianne into his home and turned her into a world-class dancer.” He didn’t turn her into “a world class dancer,” she worked hard and achieved that while being coached by him. This story is bothersome on many levels, and I believe Julianne. She surely put a lot of thought into it before she decided to reveal what happened to her, and she didn’t name names.

Julianne Hough and Ryan Seacrest are shown out with her parents in Beverly Hills on 12-22-12. Credit: CPR/Miguel/FameFlynet Pictures. She’s also shown at the Carosel of Hope ball on 10-20-12. Credit: WENN.com. We’ll have People’s Choice Awards photos of her shortly!

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49 Responses to “Julianne Hough’s claims of childhood abuse have angered her host family”

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  1. valleymiss says:

    I never interpreted the ‘Whataburger’ line to mean that the threats came from an American. I always assumed that Julianna was using a type of “shorthand” to just explain that basically, she was told that she’d be stuck in a “dumb” job with no future if she didn’t do as she was told. She could have just as easily said ‘McDonald’s’ or ‘flipping burgers’ and we all would have known what she meant.

    I think the Ballas guy is just trying to get some attention (and now he’s making himself look like a guilty party.)

  2. sasa says:

    Why not blame those who need to be blamed? The parents who sent their 10 and 12 (?) year old children overseas to become world class dancers in a completely foreign environment. After raising them in a strict Mormon upbringing no less! I see THAT as abuse.

    • bella says:

      It is the parents’ responsibility to keep their children safe.
      Whatever happened to her is on THEM.

  3. HadleyB says:

    I guess I am the only one to think this chick will do anything to get attention and make it in Hollywood?

    She pretty, has a hot body but .. there is something missing in her thats preventing her from making her a great actress and its not Ryans money or connections.

    No one wants to see her on screen, and it seems like its always something new with her to bring her to our attention. I don’t believe her, she should just give up and be happy as Ryans wealthy beard and enjoy his money!

    • Em says:

      I don’t want to dismiss her claims outright but it is curious timing considering she’s trying to drum up publicity for a movie.

      On the ‘encouragement’ subject, I did competitive gymnastics from about 3 through college. One of my coaches was very vocal about when I trained like crap or when I put on weight. I never took is as abuse because I personally needed that kind of motivation. It helped me perform better. Corky Ballas may have tried to do that with Julianne. I’m not excusing him by any means (if he is her alleged abuser); if Julianne reacted negatively to his methods or coaching, he should have piped down.

      • EmmaStoneWannabe says:

        I find your argument a bit weak; just because you “need” to be pushed, doe not negate that it could simultaneously be a form of abuse. I am not saying you were brainwashed, but it is possible for people to be talked into performing a certain way and they don’t see it as abuse because of how they were raised or trained to think. So, it could still be abusive. “You need to drop a few pounds if your want to get to the next level.” I find a comment like that to me motivating while abusive.

    • Tiffany says:

      She has made comments about something horrible happening to her as a kid that should never happen to a child. Her story has been consistent and I believe her.

      • Tiffany says:

        It was Glamour magazine summer 2012:
        ““When I was little . . . some stuff happened [to someone close to me] . . . I guess what you could say that what happened to her should never happen to anybody. . . When I went off to London, stuff like that happened to me.”

  4. Harpreet says:

    I cannot believe she is Taylor Swift’s age, only 23!

  5. Lupe says:

    Are we praising her for not wanting to name names? That is her decision, and I feel like we should respect her if she doesn’t want to start a sh*tstorm after she’s probably worked through her feelings about the situation personally over the years, but doesn’t acting like it’s the classy thing to do to keep your abuser’s name a secret discourage other abuse victims from coming forward? I’m not being rhetorical here, I really am wondering other people’s opinions on this, because I’m confused as to how I feel about it.

    • Evelyn says:

      I didn’t think about that, but that’s a very good point. In an interview she said something along the lines of “I don’t want to name names and upset people” and I think that’s a really dangerous message to send to young girl AND boys that the feelings of your abuser are more important than your own. There’s already such a stigma attached to being abused, people should be encouraged to name names and stand up for yourself, even if it is really horrifying

      • Ok says:

        You can’t name names if you are in the public eye and don’t want a slander it libel suit against you, especially if you have assets you need to hold onto.

        I believe there is a statute of limitations on sexual abuse. I think in Wisconsin it it 7 years. Not sure about other states. Not sure about other types of abuse.

        What bothers me is that she and her brother were living with th Ballas’ for years. And she was saying that she had physical, psychological abuse and she implies that there was sexual abuse.

        Essentially is she implying that Corky was sexually abusing her?

  6. elvee says:

    It rings true to me, too. The whole “you’ll never amount to anything without me” is something I’ve seen with abusers in both personal and professional situations. And his recent comment kind of sounds like it’s from the same person who made the Whataburger remark. (And wouldn’t an American, regardless of region, be more likely say McDonalds, Wendy’s or Burger King?) He should have just put a corky in it and stayed silent.

  7. Alli says:

    I’m an adult survivor of childhood sexual abuse. I successfully repressed it until five years ago and after working it out on my own for a handful of years, I’m just starting to go to therapy. I can say that if I ever was talking to a news publication about my abuse, I would not name the abuser either. It was 20+ years ago and a lot of healing has gone on since then, and revealing the name to the media and all the scrutiny for both parties that would result, is totally unnecessary and would probably make me regress in my healing. Her story rings true to me. Very sorry Julianne, and I’m inspired that you spoke out about it at all. I know how it feels and I wish you the best in dealing and healing.

    • Evelyn says:

      Alli, I’m very sorry to hear that but I’m happy for you that you’re dealing with it. I just have one question, and I hope it’s not too personal, but I’ve always been curious. When you repress something like that, do you always have a feeling it happened? Or do you have no idea, and how do you remember? I just watched the machinist and I’ve been wondering a lot of suppression of memories

      • Alli says:

        I had an idea. I can think of a few times where the memory popped in my head, and was gone just as quickly, like I still couldn’t comprehend so it vanished. I feel like this happened in high stress times. And there were a few songs that I was particularly drawn to that were about abuse. And my fascination with detective stuff I’m sure had something to do with it — the bad guy getting caught.

      • Alli says:

        The remembering came when I went to see a therapist because a guy I was dating cheated on me. My mantra was “I refused to be a victim.” She had me do the write him an angry letter exercise. When I finally did, a few paragraphs in I went on a rant about he abused my trust, happiness, loyalty, etc. and just kept writing abused and abuse and out of nowhere I broke down sobbing and the memories were all there. I have no idea where they were for 20 years. From a psychological standpoint it is rather fascinating! From a how much has this shaped my life without me knowing for 20 years standpoint, it’s more infuriating.

      • Alli says:

        The remembering came when I went to see a therapist because a guy I was dating cheated on me. My mantra was “I refused to be a victim.” She had me do the write him an angry letter exercise. When I finally did, a few paragraphs in I went on a rant about he abused my trust, happiness, loyalty, etc. and just kept writing abused and abuse and out of nowhere I broke down sobbing and the memories were all there. I have no idea where they were for 20 years. From a psychological standpoint it is rather fascinating!

  8. vixenella says:

    She looks so much older to me than 23. She looks and sounds much older.

    • MW says:

      You should see her without makeup. She looks about 14. And that’s not a put-down, just a fact. I really like Julianne. She is a talented, multi-faceted girl!

  9. mln76 says:

    I used to work with a woman who always said that a guilty person will out themselves even if names aren’t named. Fact is he sounds like an abuser in his denial.

    • Tiffany says:

      You have to keep in mind this is from Star magazine. They make up quotes all the time, he might not have said anything. If this is his quote, I agree with you. But I think a big grain of salt is needed considering the source. His DWTS connection probably made him a target for tabloids.

    • Lee says:

      That’s the weirdest part – Julianne didn’t name her abuser and it could have easily been assumed that it was someone outside the Ballas family. Even when I started reading this article, I figured he was going to be upset by the implication that they didn’t do enough to protect her at the time. But by saying that Julianne misinterpreted his encouragement, they’ve basically just outed Corky as the abuser. WTF.

      • taksi says:

        Actually when I first heard of it, the first thought was that it might be Corky Ballas since he was her coach and host parent. Who knows if it was him or not but I don’t think his defensiveness is an indication of guilt.

  10. MG says:

    I’m bothered by this whole thing. I don’t get why she decided to say something at all especially when she said…I’m not going to name names, I’m a forgiving person…obviously the connection would be made as to whom she was referring. Was that her intention? Celebrities share too much, save it for your shrink and family. Especially if you’re going to be vague about it…meaning it’s not as if she shared her story to stop the abuser from doing it to anyone else because she wouldn’t name him/her. It just bugs me, I feel like she said it for attention.

    • MW says:

      This bugs me too. If it was coming from anyone else but Julianne Hough, I’d be skeptical. She genuinely seems to be a decent, grounded person, normally. I cannot see her throwing the Ballas family under the bus for no good reason, especially since her bro, Derek, and Mark Ballas are still really tight, and these revelations could really wreck a lifetime friendship, if they were only said to add interest to her new new movie. I hope she is being 100% truthful.

    • mystified says:

      Couldn’t agree more. Also if you claim to have been abused yet you refuse to give names or specifics aren’t you putting everyone you’ve ever known under a cloud of suspicion? Is this fair to innocent acquaintances?

      I don’t get it. Either out someone as a way to warn others even if there is a statute of limitations for actual prosecution or keep your mouth shut and spare your acquaintances the injustice of being suspects.

  11. Thiajoka says:

    I’m going to be completely superficial here and just say that I love those boots she is wearing in the picture with Ryan Seacrest.

    • Claudia says:

      I want to be superficial too, and say that I love her outfit (grandpa cardigan, the loose black shirt, the black fabric hat and shades) but dislike the shoes. With the outfit anyway.

  12. Jag says:

    I expected to come into this post and read that the host family was angered because someone else abused her while in their care. (Like how my father reacted when he found out I had been sexually abused by a friend of the family when I was 5 or 6 years old. He was livid.) Instead, I read a quote that makes me think that Corky was the one doing the abusing. If he didn’t abuse her, why even mention anything other than he supports her and wishes her healing? He’s trying to deny what he did already, imo. I feel for her and hope she continues to get through all of the trauma.

    • Pandy says:

      Sorry for your abuse Jag. Corky isn’t quoted in this article – a family friend is. He hasn’t confessed to anything.

    • MW says:

      Wow, I never thought of it that way. The first thing I thought was “I wonder how the Ballas family is going to react to this?”. After what you said, if it wasn’t Corkey, or Shirley, you are right. A statement from them at this point saying they had no idea, or wishing her well, would have been better. Now Julianne’s gonna have to clarify, or say nothing, which will make it look like she means the Ballases, whether it was actually them or not. I hope she gave her brother’s friendship with Mark a lot of thought before she opened this can of worms. And no, I am not insinuating Derek is “gay”, if that’s what someone may be thinking.

  13. cranky_chica says:

    The use of Whataburger is an interesting and vivid detail. In South Texas (Whataburger is headquartered in Corpus Christi) and in Houston, you’ll find more Whataburgers than McDonalds.

    So if Julianne was told she’d be lucky to find a job at Whataburger flipping burgers, I’d say her abuser was from Texas.

    Wonder who she had in her life that was from Texas?

    Details, the answer always lies in the details, something liars seem to forget.

    • MSMLNP says:

      The Ballas’ have Texas ties…they have a dance studio in San Antonio.

      I had never heard about Whataburger until I moved to Texas a few months ago…and agree it is way more prevalent here than McD or BK.

      The Whataburger line alone makes it look like the Ballas’ to me.

  14. Pandy says:

    I don’t think she should have said what she did and not name names. She didn’t say sexual abuse but she alludes to it. Also, Corky is not directly quoted above so he isn’t “confessing” to anything. Will be interesting to see how Mark/Derek interact on DWTS this season. What a slap in the face to his family. They have always seemed to be friends, naturally, if raised and trained together. This is also a slur on Corky and Shirley’s school – so she needs to clarify what she said. Don’t bring it up if you don’t want to answer questions about it. Dummy.

  15. MW says:

    Then again, after all is said and done, it is Star Mag. Why would they have a the big insider connection, of all news sources?

  16. CAM says:

    When i first read about her abuse i never thought the Ballas family had anything to do with it, until now. Seriously, they hear someone they took care of talk about being abused and their first reaction is anger? And they go as far as to put the blame on her? Why? to me that just looks suspicious, it may be that someone in that family is guilty after all.

  17. Axis2ClusterB says:

    Has anything been said by Derek or Mark? I’ve read interviews from the both of them stating that all of the kids were raised as siblings during this time, and I’d be interested in seeing their perspective. Not that I think that Julianne is being less than truthful, but I would be interested in the perception of her peers.

  18. Genevieve says:

    1. I LOVE THAT BLUE DRESS!!! I want it for my wedding dress but in white!!!
    2. I believe her. And when I first heard about this I didn’t assume that the Ballas family had anything to do with it, I assumed it was a trainer. But NOW, thank you for outting yourself Corky Ballas as being the @$$hole.

    • DGO says:

      If Corky abused her, why did she have him manage her website? Why did she ask him to get her a job on DWTS?

  19. mar says:

    she used to be so much prettier, not aging well

  20. DGO says:

    I don’t believe her. She’s talked about this before and changed her story. First her abuser was allegedly Shirley and the abuse was having to do dishes while the boys took out garbage. She’ll do anything (like fake date a gay guy)for attention.

    • Pandy says:

      Really? that’s pretty sad to have come out with nasty allegations like this then. I loved her dancing on DWTS and think she’s credible in her zit commercials – otherwise, think she should thank Ryan for the rest of her success.

  21. Isa says:

    I assumed it was one of her trainers or teachers. This just seems weird now.

  22. Julie says:

    Anyone else thinks she looks like Beyonce in the 1st pic? I know they normally look NOTHING alike but with those sunglasses and her facial expression I did a double take. I almost thought Beyonce was cheating on Jay Z w Ryan Seacrest! Lol.