‘Black-ish’ Star Jenifer Lewis Recounts Painful Sexual Abuse She Experienced As a Child

Jenifer Lewis loves him as the sassy matriarch Dubh-ish. Her sass extends beyond the camera as she is a natural comedian. But just like many refugees, it has a history of pain. As a child, Lewis was sexually abused, which she says prompted mental health issues and addictions.

Jenifer Lewis
Jenifer Lewis | Timothy Norris / Getty Images

Jenifer Lewis remembers her minister bothering her

Lewis was always looking for stardom. The Hollywood Black Mother the author had a love of performing arts growing up and was fond of being the center of attention. As a child, Lewis was a member of her church choir. She often traveled to other churches to play. During one visit to another church, her minister let him ride to their performance.

Along the way, Lewis says he stopped the car, followed her, and kissed her. She stood up as he began to rub her breast. She says she pushed her off as he attacked her.

As a result, Lewis claims to have proved her faith. The experience was so horrific that she did not believe in God for several years. For Lewis, her minister was a symbol of what God was, giving his controversial views on religion and belief.

Jenifer Lewis
Jenifer Lewis | Gilles Mingasson through Getty Images

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In addition, her relationship with her mother ended. She told her mother about the abuse but her mother found it hard to believe because of the minister’s influence in their community. Lewis also admits that she will lose her passion for achievement.

Lewis talks about her TV experience Uncensored special: “When he touched me inappropriately, he took my mother, God and my career. He despised everything in me, my foundation, for survival. ”

Jenifer Lewis admits to fighting sexual slavery and bipolar disorder

The sexual abuse suffered by Lewis, she says, affected her mental health and the way she viewed sex. In the 1980s, while touring the Broadway tour, Lewis began to drink heavily and develop sexual slavery.

She describes the things she reminded her of, as reported by People. “Performance on Broadway was in a hurry,” she writes. “The praise coming over the footlights as a tsunami was moving slowly. The crash after the show, I assure you, is just as intense. Let’s just say that post show I had a sort of habit of sex serving as a nightcap. I had Cleopatra, Pam Grier, Marilyn Monroe, and Jezebel rolled into one. For me, nothing could extend the joy of standing as a great sex with an elegant man. ”

Jenifer Lewis
Jenifer Lewis | Kelsey McNeal / ABC through Getty Images JENIFER LEWIS

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Lewis says things got so bad that she enlisted the help of a physician, who diagnosed her with bipolar disorder. The diagnosis was a harsh pill to swallow as Lewis felt that the stigma attached to mental illness was too much for her. She went years without sticking to a medication schedule so she couldn’t let go of the symptoms and decided to take control.

“My answers were no longer so overwhelming,” she says after addressing her judgment. “Whatever the major issue or accident, I could say, ‘take it with you’ and move on. I was better at listening and being present and aware of the world around me. “

Lewis’ careers continue to thrive and she seeks to be an advocate for those who have suffered similar conditions and pain.

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