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Mena Suvari reveals she battled a meth addiction while trying to cope with sexual abuse trauma

Mena Suvari was a rising star in the late ’90s, but behind her success, she was quietly struggling with years of repeated sexual abuse, toxic relationships, and an addiction to meth. 

The 42-year-old actress candidly wrote about her tumultuous adolescence and the loss of her childhood in her new memoir, The Great Peace, recalling how she was raped when she was 12 years old and then turned to drugs to cope.

‘I took drugs to numb myself from the pain,’ she wrote, according to USA Today. ‘Alcohol. Pot. Coke. Crystal meth. Acid. Ecstasy. Mushrooms. Mescaline. It was my way of detaching from the hell of my existence — and surviving.’ 

Candid: Mena Suvari, 42, has opened up about her addiction to meth as a teen actress in her new memoir, The Great Peace, which was published on Tuesday 

Trauma: Suvari (pictured in 1999) said she was raped by her brother's friend at age 12 and was repeatedly sexually abused. She turned to drugs to help cope with the pain

Trauma: Suvari (pictured in 1999) said she was raped by her brother’s friend at age 12 and was repeatedly sexually abused. She turned to drugs to help cope with the pain 

Suvari explained that after her family moved to Charleston, South Carolina, her middle brother’s friend, KJ, started taking an interest in her, despite being him being three years older and in high school. 

‘No one stopped him from being alone with me in my bedroom. No one cautioned me. No one inquired when he became more my friend than my brother’s. No one asked what we talked about or what we did together all day,’ she wrote. ‘I was always left to my own devices.’

The America Beauty star said KJ wrote her love letters, called her daily, and would often come to her house to see her, giving her the attention she desperately craved. 

She detailed how KJ first coerced her to kiss him, making her doubt her hesitation and insisting she was ready. This became a pattern as he further pushed her sexual boundaries.  

Suvari said that one month before her 13th birthday, she and KJ were making out in his living room when he pulled out a condom. She was adamant that she didn’t want to lose her virginity, and he put it away, saying: ‘Okay.’ 

Looking back: The actress (pictured in 1998) recalled snorting lines in the school bathroom during breaks and how her 'entire back broke out in acne' because of the meth

Looking back: The actress (pictured in 1998) recalled snorting lines in the school bathroom during breaks and how her ‘entire back broke out in acne’ because of the meth

Secret: Despite her addiction, Mena (pictured in 2000) said she managed to keep her grades up and pursue her acting career without anyone the wiser

Secret: Despite her addiction, Mena (pictured in 2000) said she managed to keep her grades up and pursue her acting career without anyone the wiser

After, he convinced her to follow him up to the secluded guest room above the garage. He brought out the condom again, but this time he ignored her pleas to stop. 

‘I saw him put on the condom and felt my heart sink into a dark abyss. And just like at the dining table back home, my voice disappeared,’ she wrote. ‘No matter how many times I said, “No, I don’t want to do that,” and implored him not to do it, he didn’t hear me. 

‘I shut my eyes, and when I opened them again, KJ was climbing off me and walking into the bathroom to take off the condom. I turned onto my side, face away from him, and cried. So deeply. So full of shame and fear. So broken.’

Suvari said she convinced herself that KJ loved her and everything was ‘normal.’

‘I never was all right again, because in that moment I became what I believed I had allowed to happen to me,’ she wrote. 

KJ continued to take her up to the guest room for sex, which likely triggered her first bladder infection.

Looking back, she wondered how her life might have been different if the doctor asked her if she was having sex and if she was okay with it. Instead, she was given a prescription to treat the infection and birth control pills — without talking to her about what taking them meant. 

Abuse: Suvari said the entire time she was filming American Beauty (pictured with Kevin Spacey) she was submitting to her abusive boyfriend Tyler's 'demands for kinky threesomes'

Abuse: Suvari said the entire time she was filming American Beauty (pictured with Kevin Spacey) she was submitting to her abusive boyfriend Tyler’s ‘demands for kinky threesomes’

Hard to handle: Suvari (pictured in 2002) said she was 'ready every single day to be rescued,' but 'it never happened'

Hard to handle: Suvari (pictured in 2002) said she was ‘ready every single day to be rescued,’ but ‘it never happened’

Suvari expected KJ to do something special for her 13th birthday, but he didn’t even attempt to see her. When she saw him the next day on Valentine’s Day, he gave her a CD and then broke up with her. 

She said KJ bragged about having sex with her, claiming he dumped her because he was ‘bored.’ He also shamed her, calling her a ‘whore.’ While she was at an all-girls school at the time, her brother knew what KJ telling people and didn’t know what to think. 

After she was raped, she got drunk for the first time and then turned to drugs to cope with the shame and worthlessness she felt.   

Suvari was still a teen when she moved to Hollywood, where she said she was taken advantage of again by a predatory manager in his mid-30s who had sex with her when she was 16. 

As a student in Burbank, California, she was addicted to meth and spent her days getting high. 

‘The hours I was at school were spent thinking about getting out of school and doing some lines,’ she wrote in a book excerpt published by Cosmopolitan. 

Family: Suvari married her third husband, Michael Hope, in October 2018. She found out she was pregnant with her son, Christopher, after she finished writing her memoir

Family: Suvari married her third husband, Michael Hope, in October 2018. She found out she was pregnant with her son, Christopher, after she finished writing her memoir

Love: Suvari welcomed her son, Christopher, in April. She told ABC News that she is glad she didn't commit suicide and 'held on for him'

Love: Suvari welcomed her son, Christopher, in April. She told ABC News that she is glad she didn’t commit suicide and ‘held on for him’

‘I stayed up until late at night, slept a couple hours, then repeated the day. Before long I was pulling out my small gold lacquered butterfly embossed compact mirror and snorting a line in the school bathroom during a break.’

Suvari said the meth made her ‘hyper-aware’ but also paranoid. The drug abuse eventually started to take a physical toll on her.  

‘My entire back broke out in acne. I’d always had perfect skin. I knew it was the meth,’ she wrote. ‘And just like before with the birth control offered in exchange for no questions asked, I was given antibiotics to make it ‘”away.”‘

Despite her addiction, she said she managed to keep her grades up and pursue her acting career without anyone the wiser.  

Memories: Suvari said she felt compelled to write her memoir after going through an old bin and finding a suicide note she didn't remember writing

Memories: Suvari said she felt compelled to write her memoir after going through an old bin and finding a suicide note she didn’t remember writing

‘I stayed out as much as I could. And stayed high as much as I could,’ she wrote. ‘I still did everything asked of me. Schoolwork. Auditions. Sex. Only I had to know how f**ked up I was getting every day. 

‘I thought I could, and should, suffer in silence. This was obviously my fate. I prayed someone would throw me a lifeline. I was ready every single day to be rescued. It never happened.’

At 17, she entered an abusive relationship with a man named Tyler, a 26-year-old lighting engineer she met at a rave. She recalled how she moved in with him, saying he verbally abused her and coerced her to have threesomes with women he brought home. 

It was Tyler who convinced her to stop abusing meth, so she smoked marijuana instead, another attempt to dull her suffering. 

To the outside world, Suvari was the picture of success. She became a breakout star after her breakout roles in the raunchy teen comedy American Pie and the Oscar-winning film American Beauty, which both came out in 1999. 

‘The whole time I worked on “American Beauty” I was grinding on empty: working to perfect my part, submitting to Tyler’s demands for kinky threesomes at least three or four times a week, and pretending in both cases that everything was okay. Except it wasn’t,’ she wrote.  

It would take years for her to leave Tyler, and she would continue to struggle with painful memories, drugs, financial hardships, and failed marriages. She credited acting with giving her a purpose and saving her life.  

Suvari married her third husband, Michael Hope, in October 2018. She found out she was pregnant with her son, Christopher, after she finished writing her memoir. Her baby boy was born in April of this year. 

She explained in her author’s note that she felt compelled to write about her life after going through an old bin filled with her teenage keepsakes and finding a suicide note she didn’t remember writing. 

‘If I had done that [committed suicide] … I wouldn’t be where I’m at and [Christopher] wouldn’t be here,’ she told ABC News. ‘So I’m glad I held on. I held on for him.’

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk