This post deals with sexual assault and might be triggering for some readers.
When Mena Suvari played the teenage temptress in American Beauty, writhing in rose petals, she was already addicted to crystal meth. She had turned to drugs after being raped as a child.
"I never was all right again," Suvari shares in her new memoir The Great Peace.
Suvari was in the spotlight from a young age. She started modelling when she was just seven, appearing in TV commercials. She told the Daily Mail in 2012 that working and travelling as a child made her "grow up quickly".
"But even so, I was enjoying what I was doing," she insisted.
When Suvari was 12, she was raped by her adult brother’s friend. She begged him to stop, but he ignored her.
"It feels strange when I experience second-guessing myself when I would like to choose the word 'rape'," she wrote in her memoir. "Because I didn’t end up in the hospital. I didn’t end up unconscious. But isn’t just that I said no enough?"
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Struggling to deal with her feelings of shame and worthlessness, she got drunk for the first time, and, after that, started dabbling in drugs to "numb myself from the pain".
"Alcohol. Pot. Coke. Crystal meth. Acid. Ecstasy. Mushrooms. Mescaline. It was my way of detaching from the hell of my existence – and surviving."
She was using drugs when she was in high school, sometimes even in the school toilets. At the same time, her career was starting to take off. She was signed to Wilhelmina Models, even though she knew there was no way she was "even going to make Kate Moss height", and her family moved to Los Angeles to give her more opportunities.
Suvari won roles in TV series including ER and Boy Meets World. But still using meth, she fell into a relationship with a guy she met at a rave, who was nine years older than her.