Dan Snierson
June 11, 2009 AT 04:46 AM EDT
Queen Latifah reveals in the July issue of Essence magazine that she was sexually abused when she was a child by a teenager who was taking care of her. “He violated me,” she told the magazine. “I never told anybody; I just buried it as deeply as I could and kept people at an arm’s distance. I never really let a person get too close to me. I could have been married years ago, but I had a commitment issue.” Latifah, 39, eventually opened up to her parents, who had different reactions to the revelation, and sought therapy. “My mother felt terrible,” she recalls. “She was kind of a country girl, so she wasn’t up on how slick people could be. When I told my dad, he said nothing.”

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