Former Disney star Jordan Pruitt said Monday that she was sexually abused for two years by an unnamed older man when she was a teenager.
The singer revealed on Facebook that at the same time she was contributing songs like “Outside Looking In” and “Jump to the Rhythm” to Disney movies such as Read It and Weep and Jump In! in 2006 and 2007, she was struggling personally.
Pruitt said that it began when she was 14 and on the set of her music video for “Jump to the Rhythm.” While she looked happy on the outside, Pruitt said, she actually felt trapped and that the man was already watching her every move.
“All I remember is the feeling of being totally isolated from the world,” she said. “This man had taken what was supposed to be one of the best experiences of my life, and gave me the worst memory of it. To this day, I won’t watch that video.”
“The first time I felt that he was inappropriate with me was on a day that I was recording for my first album,” said Pruitt, who toured with the Cheetah Girls, Demi Lovato and High School Musical: The Concert.
Pruitt recalled that she was told her record label wanted her to lose weight, so the man hired a personal trainer for her and began monitoring every inch of her body and every morsel in her diet, allegedly even withholding food until the recording was done for the day. After she’d lost 20 pounds, he told her that her “ass looked nice.”
“I do remember having a childish crush. This person was helping make ALL of my dreams come true, and thought I was so talented at every single thing I did,” Pruitt said. “I didn’t think anything was wrong until I felt this pit in my stomach. I KNEW something was wrong. Deep in the inner parts of my soul, I was trapped. At fifteen this person had brainwashed me into thinking that the things that were happening were ‘natural’ and ‘okay.’ For the record, while all of this was happening to me, he was engaged to be married. While I will spare you any of the mind-piercing details, I can honestly and unfortunately say that this man sexually abused me for almost two years of my life. I am a victim of child molestation because of him.”
Pruitt told a friend of hers that the man planned to end his engagement for her, and the friend told the singer’s parents. Her parents called the police, but Pruitt said she denied the relationship. She said that she’d been convinced by her abuser that she needed to be emancipated from her parents, who he said only wanted her “Disney Money.” He wanted her to stay with him.
“He made it so difficult [to cut ties with him] that I almost lost my record deal entirely,” Pruitt said. “Everyone at the label thought he was genuinely psychotic. At this point, I wasn’t even eating and could barely get out of bed. I remember very vividly staying in my room for two weeks straight and contemplating suicide every single day. And because I was meeting with lawyers pretty much every week of my life for almost a year, I ended up giving in and even throwing in an extra 50k. (Basically to f*** off) All of this going on, and NO ONE knowing about the darkness that was looming over my head. NO ONE knowing about the emotional and mental trauma I had endured…. and still endure today.”
Pruitt’s story does have a happy ending. These days, she said, she’s a happily married songwriter for publishing houses in Nashville who also works at a law firm. She’s patched things up with her parents, and she sometimes performs. (In 2012, Pruitt competed on The Voice.) Her therapist’s comment “Secrets make you sick” prompted her to share her story.
“I want everyone to know that through ANY horrible experience YOU are not over, and YOUR LIFE is not over. Even though I still deal with PTSD, depression, anxiety, panic attacks (sometimes daily), my LIFE is not his anymore,” Pruitt declared. “He can no longer take my everyday happiness away. At this moment in time, I couldn’t be happier that I am able to share this with you. Share this with my fans that unfortunately might have similar experiences. Esp people who have been in the Entertainment business. We are more alike than you thought.”
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