'AGT' Star Jackie Evancho Pens Emotional Note About Child Star Past and the Men Who 'Wanted to Hurt' Her
By Jennifer Drysdale
Donald Kravitz/Getty Images
Jackie Evancho is feeling reflective.
The classical singer rose to fame when she was just 10 years old, as a contestant on season five of America's Got Talent in 2010. She's now 18 years old, competing on AGT: The Champions, and opening up about how childhood stardom shaped the young woman she is today.
In an emotional note posted to Facebook on Wednesday, Evancho said she wanted to continue the "healing process" and insisted that she no longer has the "fear to stay silent." She recalled experiencing "dangers of being in the spotlight," like the "men out there who wanted to hurt me." "Some even went to the extreme of claiming they were priests and other disarming occupations to gain trust and easy access backstage," Evancho wrote. "But clearly their intentions weren’t so pure."
The singer didn't elaborate on the ill-intentioned men, but said her family lived in fear of stalkers, while she also experienced isolation in school and on the road.
"Growing up that way wasn’t easy," she said, though praised her parents for being "smart" about every decision they made for her. "Through the years I have developed some flaws and battled some demons, from being sheltered from aspects of a 'normal' child’s life. I am extremely awkward and shy around those my age. I trust absolutely no one unless they are family or have passed through years of my life without hurting me in some way."
"There is also a sadness in me from growing up basically alone. My mother wasn’t well when we traveled together, she would sleep a lot because otherwise she would be hurting and nauseous and I wanted my mom to feel better so I never complained," Evancho continued. "That meant that at 5 p.m. in the afternoon, she would go to bed for the night and I’d be alone in a hotel room without anything to do. Needless to say the cabin fever drove me to tears. I love my mom so much and she only has my best interest at heart but I understood battling chronic illness is totally debilitating."
Regardless of her childhood, Evancho said that there's "a lot that I'm thankful for and would never change." "All these things were terrible as a child, and yet I’m still here performing and loving it. A lot of people may ask 'Why?' and I say it’s my path, my dream, and my passion, with a fire inside of me when I perform," she expressed. "I’ve learned that there is a lot about the world that is sad. That’s just life, but there are also many beautiful parts of life that I cherish and focus on."
"I’m now 18 and responsible for my own life -- a young adult. I now live in New York where I can focus more on work and also live in a creative environment -- I want to learn and grow. I like making my own decisions, and while listening to the people close to me, I'm ultimately steering my own ship," she concluded her Facebook post. "My love for music is profound -- it’s what drives me and transforms me. I've learned and been through so much, but this is my journey and I look forward to a bright future for the next phase of my life."