Kara DioGuardi, songwriter and former American Idol judge, reveals some dark episodes from her past in her new memoir, A Helluva High Note. In the book, out next week, she touches on multiple instances of sexual assault, beginning with an attack by a family friend when she was only 11.
The other instances occurred later in her life, as she was just beginning her career in the music industry. DioGuardi writes, the emphatic capitalization hers, “I DO NOT (DID NOT) SLEEP WITH ANYONE TO ADVANCE MY CAREER,” but that did not stop those she worked with from expecting her to. She describes a sexual phone call she received from an executive for “one of the major record companies,” as well as an incident in which she was date raped by “a fairly well-known producer [who] had seemingly taken an interest in [her] songwriting.” She then details a trip with a “well-known, hugely successful international artist” that was supposed to be an opportunity to write songs and prove her talent, but ended up a skeezy itinerary of activities that included “watching Russian porn, scavenging around the kitchen for food, leering at two strippers […] as they performed sex acts in the living room,” and for which she says she “could have sued Sony for millions of dollars.”
In A Helluva High Note, DioGuardi also opens up about her efforts to get pregnant and how the difficulty of conceiving in American Idol’s high-stress, long-hour work environment contributed to her decision to ask the show’s producers to release her from her contract last summer.