updated 01/03/2013 AT 1:55 PM ET
•originally published 01/03/2013 AT 2:15 PM ET
Since revealing for the first time that she was abused mentally and physically as a child, Julianne Hough is now opening up about the toll it took on her as a 10-year-old dance student away from home.
“I’ve been through certain things that have sucked the life out of me … and just the light about me was gone,” the former Dancing with the Stars pro tells Entertainment Tonight in a new interview. “I was just a dark person.”
While twirling around the ballroom and winning mirror-ball trophies, fans wouldn’t have guessed that Hough, now 24, was hiding a secret. “A lot of people got to know me through Dancing with the Stars and don’t really know about my past before that, which I don’t talk about much,” she says.
That included her time at the prestigious Italia Conti Academy of Arts in London, where she told Cosmo recently, “I was a tormented little kid who had to put on this sexy façade because that was my job and my life.”