These celebrities all went on to become world famous stars despite the devastating experience of being sexually abused as children. They really are true survivors.

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1. Billy Connolly

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In 2001 the world was shocked when comedian Billy Connolly revealed he’d been sexually abused as a child by his alcoholic father. Billy only confided in his wife – comedian and clinical psychologist Pamela Stephenson, after his father died in 1989. Speaking in 2013 Connolly stated: ‘Everybody wonders why people who are abused don’t rush off to the police or the authorities or an aunt or an uncle and tell them. But it just doesn’t happen because you feel you’ve taken part in it – so there is a deep guilt and shame involved and so you don’t tell people.’ Connolly went on to say he’d since forgiven his late father.

 

2. Teri Hatcher

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In 2006 the Desperate Housewives star revealed in a Vanity Fair interview that she had been sexually abused by her uncle Richard Hayes Stone when she was just 7 years old. Teri kept her ordeal a secret until 2002 when she discovered that Hayes Stone had abused others, including one victim who’d committed suicide as a result aged just 14. Teri then came forward to the police and Hayes Stone was jailed for 14 years. He died in prison of colon cancer in 2008 after serving just six years.

 

3. Oprah Winfrey

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In November 1986 Oprah Winfrey stunned the audience of a live show she was presenting about child sexual abuse by revealing that she too was a survivor, having been raped by a 19-year-old relative when she was just 9 years old. Winfrey stated the abuse by the relative – and others – went on until she was 14. Despite her deeply traumatic childhood, Oprah went on to be a chat show megastar and the world’s first black female billionaire.

 

4. Ozzy Osbourne

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In 2003 legendary Brummie rocker Ozzy Osbourne revealed he’d been repeatedly sexually molested when he was just 11 by two boys on his way home from school in Birmingham. The Black Sabbath star told the Daily Mirror: ‘Two boys used to wait for me. They would force me to drop my pants and all that s**t. They felt me and touched me and… it was terrible. I was afraid to tell my father or mother and it completely f***ed me up.’ Ozzy stated he’d since worked through his ordeal with a therapist.

 

5. Dolores O’Riordan

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The lead singer of Irish rock group The Cranberries admitted in 2013 that she’d been sexually abused from the age of 8 to 12 while growing up in Limerick by someone in ‘a position of trust’. The abuse had a devastating impact on Dolores, leading her to develop anorexia, and suffer severe depression. Her band The Cranberries rose to fame in 1993 with the hit single Linger.

 

6. Marilyn Monroe

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Marilyn’s childhood was a desperately unhappy one. Raised in a series of foster homes, Marilyn was abused in at least two of them. But Marilyn always dreamed of another life and longed for the glitz and glamour of Hollywood. Sadly her story didn’t have a happy ending, but to this day Marilyn is an inspiration to many including, most famously, Madonna.

 

7. Vanessa Williams

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The former Miss America, and star of Ugly Betty and Desperate Housewives revealed she had been sexually molested as a 10-year-old in her 2012 autobiography You Have No Idea. Perhaps most shocking was that the abuse was carried out by an 18-year-old woman. Vanessa has since stated: ‘Had that not happened in my life and had I had an opportunity to have a normal courtship with a boyfriend at 16 or whatever….there wouldn’t have been that shame that was always haunting me.’