In next month's Cosmopolitan cover story, Julianne opens up about her painful past, sharing that at 10 years old, she was abused while studying dance in London.
"I was abused -- mentally, physically, everything," the now-24-year-old star tells the magazine.
Julianne quickly realized the Italia Conti Academy of Arts was a far cry from her life in Utah with her Mormon-practicing family. At the dance school, she says that adults made her act and dress more provocatively.
"I was 10 years old looking like I was 28, being a very sensual dancer," she recalls. "I was a tormented little kid who had to put on this sexy facade because that was my job and my life. But my heart was the same, and I was this innocent little girl. I wanted so much love."
Julianne says the abuse didn't get any better as she entered her teen years.
"It got worse when I started hitting puberty, when I started becoming a woman and stopped being a little girl," she explains.
The mental abuse included brainwashing, as Julianne remembers people telling her she'd never make it back at home.
"I was told 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," she says. "So, it was like, 'I can't go back. I have to be this person.'"
The former "Dancing With the Stars" pro declined to go into further detail on the topic. "I'm a very forgiving person, and I don't want to hurt anybody," she says. "What's past is past."
The painful memories she has of her school days helped the actress relate to her character in the upcoming movie, "Safe Haven." Julianne plays a woman trying to escape from her abusive husband and finds refuge in a kind man, played by Josh Duhamel.
During a difficult scene to film, she recalls, "I went from bawling to containing to laughing to crying again. Josh was crying. I think it was the most therapeutic moment of my life."
"Safe Haven" premieres Feb. 14. Cosmo, featuring the blond beauty on its cover, will be on stands Jan. 8.
Watch Julianne Hough Perform 'Any Way You Want It'