Sinead O’Connor is facing her inner demons and her painful past. The 50-year-old musical icon sat down with Dr. Phil during Tuesday’s season premiere of his show to discuss her recent struggles.
One topic that kept coming up with Sinead’s troubled relationship with her late mother, Marie, who passed away when the singer was 16. The Irish native says her mother physically and sexually abused her as a child, going into graphic detail about the claims with Dr. Phil.
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“It would not be fair of me to discuss what she did to my siblings so I have to only discuss what she did to me,” Sinead said. “She ran a torture chamber. It was a torture chamber. She was a person who took delight, would smile in hurting you.”
Sinead tells Dr. Phil that the alleged abuse started from when she was a very young child.
“My earliest memory, she’s telling me I shouldn’t have been born. She didn’t want me. She didn’t want girls. She wanted me to be a boy,” the “Fire on Babylon” singer said. “She dresses me like a boy, she chops my hair off. Whenever she beats me, which is daily, I’m naked. She makes me take my clothes off. I have to lie on the floor. I have to open my arms and legs. I have to let her attack my abdomen. She wants to burst my womb. She wants to destroy my reproductive system. She wants to stop me from being a female.”
Noting that her mother would “invent reasons” to beat her, Sinead tried to understand where the alleged desire to hurt came from.
“She was not well,” she said. “She was really very, very, very not well. I would say she was possessed, although, I’m not sure I believe in such things. So either she was just a sadist and a pedophile or she was possessed by the devil.”
When she was 8 years old, Sinead’s parents divorced, and she says her mother got upset that the kids were sad when their father left. As punishment, Sinead claimed she made them live outside in the shed for several months. The abuse finally stopped when Sinead got older, according to the singer.
“I got to be the same size as her, and she stopped hitting me,” she recalled. “We developed a very good relationship between the age of 14 and the age of 16 and a half. We had a great relationship because she was blown away that I forgave her.”
She revealed that she did confront her mother about the abuse, but Sinead says she never confessed to it.
“One day I did ask her, ‘Why did you do what you did to us?’ And she said, ‘I never did anything, what are you talking about?’ And I was furious with her, raging,” she said. “I didn’t talk to her for about nine months. The next thing I hear, she’s dead in a car crash.”
Sinead said that the loss of their mother left the entire family with unfinished business, adding, “Nothing could ever be fixed again and will never be fixed again. It was very kind of God to take her. Her life was hell. You wouldn’t want to be her. I was relieved for her, relieved for me, but devastated at the loss of her. She was my best friend.”
The singer and outspoken activist also revealed what inspired her to keep her hair short – a look she has maintained throughout most of her career.
“When I had long hair, she’d introduce us as her pretty daughter and her ugly daughter. And that’s why I chopped my hair off. I didn’t want to be pretty,” she said, adding, “It was dangerous to be pretty too, because I kept getting raped and molested everywhere I went.”
Sinead also addressed her disturbing Facebook video, which she posted from her hotel room in New Jersey last month, in which she talked about being suicidal.
MORE: Sinead O'Connor Talks Alleged Physical and Sexual Abuse by Her Mother in Heartbreaking Interview With Dr. Phil
“I hoped in my kidney stone madness that my family would see it and go, ‘Oh my god, we didn’t realize it was that bad. We’ll go get her,’” she said.
But her family did not come for her, Sinead noted, adding that she doesn’t fault them for.
“It’s not easy for families of mentally ill people. We can be difficult,” she said.
Instead, Dr. Phil reached out and got the singer into a treatment facility. ET’s Kevin Frazier recently spoke with the TV personality about his desire to help. Watch the exclusive interview below: