Vince Gill stunned music industry bosses during an afternoon performance in Nashville, Tennessee on Tuesday (06Feb18), when he revealed he had been sexually abused as a child.
The country music favourite and new Eagles member was playing for executives at the Universal Music Group luncheon at the Ryman Auditorium when he got serious and started applauding the musicians who are bravely coming forward with their stories of abuse.
He then offered up his own, revealing he was the victim of a junior high school gym teacher.
“I was in seventh grade, and a young, dumb kid,” Gill recalled. “I had a gym teacher that acted inappropriately towards me and was trying to do things that I didn’t know what the hell was going on.
“I was just fortunate that I got up and I ran. I just jumped up and I ran. I don’t know why. I don’t think I ever told anybody my whole life. Even what’s been going on has been giving me a little bit of courage to speak up, too.”
He was referring to the #MeToo and Times Up anti-harassment movements that have sprung in recent months following exposes detailing movie mogul Harvey Weinstein’s alleged sexual misconduct.
Gill then performed Forever Changed, a song he had never played live before, that was inspired by his experience and by all the stories of sexual abuse, and told the executives it took him years to pluck up the courage to record the track.
Vince dedicated the song, which chronicles the story of a sexual assault from a female perspective, to the victims of assault, singing: “Too afraid to tell someone/You might as well have used a gun/She cries to Jesus to ease the pain/Because of you she’s forever changed.”