Jenifer Lewis is Hollywood comedy royalty, but behind the laughs is a painful past. The Missouri native’s childhood is riddled with abuse, both verbal and physical. In an upcoming episode of TV One’s Uncensored, The Black Mother of Hollywood author shares the devastating moment she was molested by her town’s pastor.

Always seeking to be the center of attention coupled with her love for the performing arts, Lewis was a member of her church’s choir. Her choir group was given a chance to visit and perform at a neighboring church. Lewis’ pastor allowed her to ride with him to their performance.

During the ride, Lewis says he stopped the car, leaned over toward her, and began kissing her. She resisted, even pushing him off of her while he assaulted her. The experience was so harrowing that Lewis believes it’s the defining moment that her lifelong battles with mental illness and addiction began. Lewis openly speaks about living with bipolar disorder. 

Even more damaging is that Lewis says her faith was tested, so much so, that she did not believe in God for many years. For her, the pastor served as a symbol of what God in human form was, giving her conflicting views on faith and religion. 

Furthermore, Lewis’ relationship with her mother became estranged. She told her mother about the abuse but her mother refused to believe her. She says of the experience: “When he touched me inappropriately, he took my mother, God and my career. He insulted everything that I was, my entire foundation, for being alive.”

Lewis hopes her story helps other victims speak up about their abuse. 

Watch the clip below: 

Lewis’ episode of Uncensored airs October 11 at 10 p.m. ET

Photo provided by TV One