Rapper Missy Elliot has opened up about her troubled childhood in a new TV special, revealing she grew up so poor her father had to beat her while she slept to keep mice off her.
The Work It hitmaker also bravely spoke about the sexual abuse she endured at the hands of a teenage cousin in the Behind The Music documentary, which debuted in America on Wednesday (29Jun11).
The Portsmouth, Virginia native admits she "didn't have much" growing up, but the poverty her family faced made her keen to success.
She recalls, "I remember having mice in the house and my father taking some newspaper and beating me because mice was running on me while I was asleep."
Her mum Patricia Elliot adds, "We didn't have running water... We were going in a pot that sat by her bed, because we didn't have a bathroom."
But poverty wasn't the only problem Elliot faced as a child - she was molested by her 16-year-old cousin from the time she was eight.
She recalls, "Each day he wanted me to come to the house after school. It became sexual, which, for me at eight years old, I had no clue what that was, but I knew something was wrong.
"Being molested... it don't disappear. You remember it as if it was yesterday."
The rapper explains the abuse took place over the course of a year but she didn't tell anyone.