These days, Stacey Dash is known for stirring up controversy when it comes to her conservative political views.
But now, the former Clueless star and Fox News pundit is opening up about her excruciating personal pain for the first time, in her book There Goes My Social Life.
“Sometimes my past is extraordinarily heavy,” Dash, 49, tells PEOPLE exclusively. “That’s when I scream and cry until I feel like I can breathe again.”
Dash was just four years old, living in South Bronx, New York, when she was molested for the first time by a 16-year-old family acquaintance. At sixteen, she was offered a line of cocaine, and quickly fell into an all-consuming addiction.
“I couldn’t find happiness,” says Dash. “It got to a point where I didn’t even want to live anymore. The voice in my head was saying, ‘There’s nothing here for you.’”
Growing up in a culture of drugs and violence instilled in Dash many of her views on social welfare programs today.
Says the actress: “When you get stuff for free, you have no self-worth. When you have no self-worth, you become depressed, addicted and either abused or an abuser. This is what perpetuates the cycle of violence in inner cities. We don’t need free stuff. We need opportunities.”
“When I say there should not be a BET channel or a Black History Month, I’m saying we deserve more,” says Dash. “I just hope people understand that I’m not judging; I’m coming from experience.”
Click here to read more.
SOURCE: PEOPLE, Aili Nahas