Former UK 'X Factor' Star Lucy Spraggan Says She Was Raped During Production of the Talent Show

Lucy Spraggan
Karwai Tang/WireImage

She was a rising star on the UK 'X Factor' before she disappeared from the show in 2012.

In 2012, Lucy Spraggan was a 20-year-old breakout star on the British version of the X Factor. Then, out of nowhere, she was gone. For years and years, people wondered why a star contestant on a show that's produced hitmakers -- like One Direction -- would vanish without so much as an explanation.

Now, for the first time, Spraggan's revealing the reason why she dropped out of the singing competition, telling The Guardian that she was raped by a hotel employee after a night out celebrating a friend and fellow contestant's 25th birthday.

Spraggan, 31, said she passed out drunk at the open-bar shindig that was also attended by X Factor crew members, one of whom escorted Spraggan back to the hotel. Once at the hotel, a hotel employee offered to help get her to her room.

"As they left, the [hotel] porter flipped the security latch on her door to prevent it locking behind them," The Guardian writes. "Some time later, [Spraggan's friend who was celebrating his 25th birthday] checked in on an unconscious Spraggan and made sure that her door was locked when he left. His decision meant that when the porter later returned to Spraggan's room in order to attack her, he had to use a traceable keycard."

Spraggan said she woke up the next day confused but fully aware that she had been raped, though she struggled to process the traumatic event.

"So I put my clothes on and went into autopilot," she said.

She went to police and filed a report. The hotel employee was ultimately arrested and later sentenced to 10 years in prison. At the time of the trial, Spraggan remained anonymous and was only identified as a "television star."

Just a few days after the attacked, Spraggan says she bowed out of the talent show because she was unwell due to the side-effects of Pep -- or post-exposure prophylaxis -- a drug that, if taken within 72 hours of exposure, prevents HIV. Spraggan, whose new memoir, Process: Finding My Way Through, hits bookstores July 20, also revealed she contemplated suicide after she was "sequestered in a room on the 11th floor" of a London hotel.

"That evening, I had to relentlessly shake away the constant pull to go towards the balcony doors," Spraggan writes in her book, via The Guardian. "'All of this could go away so quickly,' I thought."

Spraggan, who in her early 20s used to run in the same gig circles with another British singer named Ed Sheeran, is now signed to Simon Cowell's music publishing company. Cowell, who in 2012 was a judge on America's Got Talent, told the newspaper that what happened to Spraggan was "horrific and heartbreaking." 

"When I was given the opportunity to speak to Lucy, I was able to personally tell her how sorry I was about everything she has been through," Cowell told The Guardian. "Although we met under tragic circumstances, a genuine friendship and a mutual respect has developed between us. Lucy is one of the most authentic, talented and brave people I have ever met. I have always supported her wish to tell her story as well as her efforts to bring about positive change."