American Beauty star Mena Suvari has revealed that she was raped when she was 12.
The actress, now 42, details the incident in her new memoir, The Great Peace: A Memoir.
Suvari writes that she was raped by one of her older brother’s friends at his home.
“Part of me died that day,” Suvari writes in the book, according to People magazine. “He used me, had fun with me and then disposed of me. He called me a wh*re. I never got to have a healthy expression of [sex]. My choice was lost. And that, compiled with already not feeling seen and heard, established a concept that I would have of myself. That that was my value.”
Suvari moved to Los Angeles when she was 15 to break into the acting industry. Her manager at the time, whom she considered a friend, pushed her for a sexual relationship and Suvari writes that she didn’t feel like she had a choice to say no.
“By this time my family had pretty much fallen apart,” Suvari writes. “My mother had moved out and wanted to find herself and my father [who was much older] was in decline mentally and physically. I didn’t feel like I had any other options or was worthy of a life that was any different.”
Suvari turned to drugs in an attempt to block out what was going on in her private life.
“I turned to any form of self-medicating I could find, just to get by,” she writes. “I was just trying to survive.”
In 1999, when Suvari was 19 years old, her acting career took off with roles in American Pie and American Beauty, the latter earning her a BAFTA nomination for Best Supporting Actress.
A year later she married Robert Brinkmann who was 17 years older than her. They divorced in 2005.
In 2010 she married concert promoter Simone Sestito but the pair split just over a year later and finalised their divorce in 2012.
Suvari married her third husband, Mike Hope, in 2018 and the couple welcomed their first child in April.
The actress, who will next be seen on the big screen in an upcoming biographical historical drama about former US president Ronald Reagan, says she decided to open up about her painful past in the book in the hope it can help others.
“This is my truth. This is my voice,” she writes. “I was so tired of fighting and hiding my whole life. I hope I can help someone else see their value. If I can lessen the pain for someone else, then I want to do it, because I didn’t have that person.”