Derek Hough had a gun held to his head by bullies when he was younger.

The 'Dancing with the Stars' professional feared for his life when his fellow aggressive students threatened to shoot him through the head when he was at school.

Speaking about the on-going abuse he received at the time, he said: ''Bullying can be physical, verbal or emotional. Words and threats are just as painful as fists, especially with social media these days.

''For those of you who don't know, I was actually bullied as a young boy on one occasion. They would tie my ankles up with a very rough rope and hang me in a tree upside down, spit on me and call me names, even hold a gun to my head. Coming from a family of hunters, I assumed the gun was real. I didn't tell anybody -- my parents or teachers or friends or sisters.''

The 29-year-old hunk turned to dance to help him block out the distressing ordeal he endured at school.

He explained as he collected his award at the Gay Lesbian and Straight Education Network Gala yesterday (17.10.14): ''Dance became my GLSEN. It became my safe place, the place where I could grow and flourish and find those answers. I know now that the worst thing you can do is suffer in silence.''