Simone Biles is one of several USA gymnasts who experienced sexual abuse at the hands of former USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar. Although Biles accused her former doctor of the abuse, she has remained relatively quiet about her personal experience. In a recent YouTube special, Biles broke her silence and opened up about the dark time she faced after the abuse.
During a conversation with Priyanka Chopra for the actor’s new YouTube special,"If I Could Tell You Just One Thing," the 22-year-old gold medalist said she relies on therapy to help her get past the trauma.
“I’m still going through things in everyday life, things that I have to go to therapy for,” she said.
Biles explained she was in denial of the abuse when it first happened and did not come to terms with the assault until she spoke with a friend about the definition of sexual abuse.
“There was a time I asked my friend, and I called her and I asked her the definition of ‘sexually abused.’ Because, you know, some of my other friends, they had had it worse than me. And they’re like, ‘No if he did that’ — and I told her. She said, ‘If he did that and that, you’ve been sexually abused,’” she told Chopra.
She then revealed how her depression kept her bedridden.
“I was like, ‘No, I’m not willing to put that out there for the world to see. They’re not gonna see me as Simone the gymnast, they’re gonna see Simone as the sexual abuse survivor.’ And so I denied it, and I buried it,” she continued.
“I was very depressed, I, like, never left my room. I was sleeping all the time and I told like one of my lawyers, ‘I sleep all the time because it’s the closest thing to death.’ ”
“I had just read the story about my friend coming out and I was bawling and I called my mom and then I told her,” she added. “We had detectives come and stuff like that. That was the moment I realized …”
After several gymnasts came out and accused Nassar of sexual abuse, Biles shared a letter to Twitter saying she too was a survivor.
“I too am one of the many survivors that was sexually abused by Larry Nassar,” Biles said in the January 2018 letter. “Please believe me when I say it was a lot harder to first speak those words out loud than it is now to put them on paper. There are many reasons that I have been reluctant to share my story, but I know now it is not my fault.”
Biles’ Olympic teammates Aly Raisman and Gabby Douglas are among the over 150 women and girls who came forward to accuse Nassar of abuse.
In 2018, Nassar was sentenced to more than 175 years in prison on several charges of sexual assault and child pornography.
(Photo: Nathan Congleton/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)