November 17th, 2011
01:45 PM ET

Vince Gill: Near victim of sex abuse as preteen

Millions of fans know Vince Gill as a country music superstar and 20-time Grammy winner, but the sexual abuse scandal involving Penn State has the artist reflecting on an incident from his past: He was a near-victim of sexual abuse as a preteen.

The 54-year-old singer-songwriter made the revelation to CNN and "Showbiz Tonight" before a show at The Troubadour in West Hollywood, California - a venue he last played 35 years ago as a fledgling artist. Gill was sharing stories about his new album, "Guitar Slinger," when talk turned to Penn State.

"It conjured up something that happened in my past when I was about that age, as a 12-year-old kid starting 7th grade," he confided. "There was unfortunately a gym teacher at our school that wound up being the same kind of thing...and there were some advances made towards me that were very awkward."

Gill says "nothing happened," but continues that when "it started to get weird, I had either the good fortune or the good luck to jump and run. I jumped up and ran. But I was so young I didn't know what to do, I didn't know much about sexuality, didn't know anything about all that stuff."

Gill believes the tools for handling such incidents are better now than when he was young.

"I grew up in the '60s. We didn't know about therapy, we didn't know about inappropriateness, we didn't know any of that stuff. We just figured it out in the sandlot, fought it out on the playground, or whatever the hell you did. And I turned out fine, I don't need therapy, I'm not nuts."

Gill concedes he was lucky.

"Nothing happened, but it could have been a lot worse and my situation could have been a lot different. But there's just no telling how often this goes on and nobody knows."

He says keeping an open dialogue between parents and children is key.

"I have a 10-year-old kid now, so it's all of a sudden red flag, red flag, red flag, red flag. I just want to go to her and say, 'Please! Tell me anything that makes you feel awkward or weird that anybody says or does.'"

While he's careful not to jump to any conclusions in the Penn State case, the father of three daughters says anyone who takes advantage of children is "just beyond evil."

"There are a lot of people unfortunately preying on kids," he says, "and it doesn't get any sicker than that."


soundoff (22 Responses)
  1. drew

    I enjoy penis in my armpits. And chewing on foreskin. YUM.

    June 26, 2012 at 2:02 am | Report abuse |
  2. Rachel

    This story shocked me a little when I first read this. It reminded me when I found myself in a similar situation when I was 11, I thankfully got the good sense to run, like Vince was smart to do, but it sure was scary. I agree with his comments 150%.

    November 19, 2011 at 5:48 pm | Report abuse |
  3. lee

    Tom S., the situation you described presents real difficulties. Trust issues are one of the things that children have to deal with after being molested by adults. It's going to be hard for counselors to earn their trust and to break down the walls that they have built around them. It's going to be a long process. Hopefully they could overcome it because it's going to affect how they form relationships with others.

    November 18, 2011 at 12:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tom S. in Tn.

      I'm 55 today, and it's never overcome. The psych industry has done far more devastation than the original perp. And sadly, the industry refuses to validate what one of theirs did to me, and if I mention it, I'm debased as mentally ill.
      Word of caution: know exactly who you or your juvenile kids are behind closed doors with, even if they claim credentials.
      Tom S. in tn.

      November 23, 2011 at 8:34 am | Report abuse |
  4. lee

    What kids should learn about Vince's story is this: If you are feeling weird, awkward, funny, uneasy or uncomfortable around someone, stay away from that person. If he is touching you or making advances towards you in a way that makes you feel uncomfortable, do not be alone with that person. Take care of yourself and do not give your full trust on older people just because they are your teacher, coach, school official, priest, minister, etc.

    November 18, 2011 at 3:43 am | Report abuse |
    • Tom S. in Tn.

      But lee, what if a second perp was a social worker you were sent to for counseling as a teen, for treatment of phobias that resulted from childhood molestation?
      Who treats those victims?

      November 18, 2011 at 7:38 am | Report abuse |
  5. alabama gal

    Yeah ! Smack em ! When I have kids Im gonna do the responsible thing and teach em to mind. Im gonna say You Better Straighten Up or I Might Get Out The Smackin hand ! If you smack em every once in a while it teaches em to mind. Mr Spock wrote about that. Smack em.

    November 17, 2011 at 4:10 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Missy

    I think the point Vince was trying to make is that it can happen to anybody. If you have kids, communication is the key. They need to know all about the dangers in this world. They also need to know that if somebody does something to you that makes you uncomfortable, that you will believe them over anyone else. Also, if you see something you feel is abuse, report it to the authorites. Too many people turn a blind eye to all sorts of abuse. Do the responsible thing!

    November 17, 2011 at 3:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ddgdfg

      thanks @AliveAir thanks mann!, imma go buy one,.. do you know any with a huge dnicoust?, and how much is it now?, i mean this year.. considering that you made this video 2 years ago..

      March 14, 2012 at 11:20 am | Report abuse |
  7. alecia

    My children are cats. If anyone tried to touch them they would get scratched mighty bad. They usually try to scratch me and I have raised them since birth. They are feroceous. RAAAAAR.

    November 17, 2011 at 3:25 pm | Report abuse |
  8. yeah

    I wondered if it was a joke too. It was a pretty funny story.

    November 17, 2011 at 3:21 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Barb

    It doesn't matter – if one person reads his story and is helped – that's all that matters.

    November 17, 2011 at 3:20 pm | Report abuse |
  10. A real survivor

    Seriously??? You felt it necessary to run an article on someone who WASN'T a victim? Why? Nothing happened to him – why did they solicit his "story"? Of course he doesn't need therapy or any help healing. This is ridiculous and an insult to those of us who survived, fought through the healing process, and are living out our lives as strong survivors. It's also an insult to those who are still on the healing journey at various points and those who have yet to find a voice for their pain. What a joke.

    November 17, 2011 at 2:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bamagal 58

      I didn't take it that way. I think it just came up in the interview about Penn State and it brought up that memory for him. I think he was just trying to reiterate the need for parent's to be on guard. I'm a survivor myself and started teaching my children about being touched in a way that made them feel uncomfortable at age 3 or 4. I pray you continue to heal, it's a long journey.

      November 17, 2011 at 11:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • Pointless

      Really? Almost? Trying to resurrect a finished career with this article.

      November 18, 2011 at 3:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • Lori

      To the people making light of this situation and making crude comments, you are sick.

      As for Vince, he isn't the type to say something like this for attention. And his career is FAR from over! He is a genuinely talented and caring man (who by the way has 4 daughters, not 3) and I am positive he is speaking out because he wants people to know how common this problem is and that we need to teach our kids what to look out for.

      November 19, 2011 at 11:25 am | Report abuse |
  11. space b4 ?

    That is beyond evil. If any1 messed with any of the kids in my family they would not have 2 worry about prison ! *if u know what I mean ?*

    November 17, 2011 at 2:36 pm | Report abuse |
  12. taylor

    Vince Gill... I will find you....

    November 17, 2011 at 2:31 pm | Report abuse |
  13. tracie

    I don't know what he's complaining about. That sounded hot.

    November 17, 2011 at 2:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • ladydi

      tracie – sounds like you dibble with little children.......

      November 17, 2011 at 4:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bamagal 58

      Tracie, Your remark is very disturbing. I hope you will get counseling to clear up that fog in your head. It is not hot to be molested by someone when you are a child. I should know; I was not fortunate enough to get away; and it follows you the rest of your life. I pray you don't have any little children around you; you are a scary person.

      November 17, 2011 at 11:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • Deb

      To even joke about something like this is sick.

      November 18, 2011 at 10:57 am | Report abuse |

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