Billie Eilish Opens Up About Being Abused When She Was Younger

by Christina Marfice
Mike Marsland/WireImage/Getty

In her British Vogue cover story, Billie Eilish opened up about the abuse she’s experienced — and mentioned in her music

Sometimes it’s hard to remember that Billie Eilish is only 19 years old. The singer is a multiple Grammy winner, and just released her second studio album. She’s a huge global superstar, but she’s also a teenager, and barely a legal adult. She’s still learning about the world around her — and herself, which she opened up about in her new cover interview with British Vogue.

One of the most heartbreaking parts of the interview is when Eilish opened up about the abuse she experienced when she was younger, and how it took some growing up to recognize and process the fact that what she went through was, in fact, abuse. In particular, she talks about her new single, “Your Power,” which she describes as an “Open letter to people who take advantage – mostly men.”

In her interview, Eilish said it took growing a little bit older to develop the perspective from which she wrote the song.

“I used to not understand why age mattered. And, of course, you feel like that when you’re young, because you’re the oldest you’ve ever been. You feel like you’re so mature and you know everything,” she said. But that expectation of knowing everything when you’re young creates opportunities for young people to be exploited, she added. “People forget that you can grow up and realise shit was f**ked up when you were younger.”

Eilish later opened up even more about growing up and coming to some uncomfortable realizations about her past.

“You can always be taken advantage of,” she said. “That’s a big problem in the world of domestic abuse or statutory rape – girls that were very confident and strong-willed finding themselves in situations where they’re like, ‘Oh my god, I’m the victim here?’ It’s so embarrassing and humiliating and demoralizing to be in that position of thinking you know so much and then you realize, I’m being abused right now.”

Eilish said that she was abused when she was much younger, and she’s chosen not to name her abuser, other than to say the person is not part of the music industry. She also addressed criticism she thinks will come her way (even though it very much shouldn’t, and she doesn’t deserve to be criticized for this).

“‘You’re going to complain about being taken advantage of as a minor, but then you’re going to show your boobs?’ Yes I am, motherfucker! I’m going to because there’s no excuse.”

If you or someone you know has experienced sexual assault, you can call the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE. You can also search your local center here.