With bullying and its tragic consequences making headlines, international singing sensation Susan Boyle has disclosed her own personal story.
Boyle – the 49-year-old Scottish superstar who shocked the world when she unleashed a soaring rendition of I Dreamed a Dream on ‘Britain’s Got Talent’ in 2008 – talked with Oprah Winfrey Tuesday about the bullying she endured as a homely schoolgirl.
Oprah raised the subject on her show because Boyle writes about the bullying in her new memoir, Susan Boyle: The Woman I was Born to Be. [Book excerpt here.] Boyle also has a new CD on the way, titled “The Gift.” She performed one of the songs – Crowded House’s Don’t Dream It’s Over – before sitting down for an interview with Oprah. [Watch her performance here.]
“Let’s talk a bit about some of the things that you reveal [in the book],” Oprah probed gently. “You were bullied as a child . . . not only just bullied, but severely taunted. Do you remember some of the things people used to say to you or call you?”
“Not just name-calling,” Boyle answered haltingly in her heavy Scottish accent, “you know, burning my clothes with a cigarette, stuff like that, and [trying] to trip me up.”
“Burning your clothes with a cigarette,” Oprah said.
“Which was really, I don’t know, it wasn’t really human,” Boyle said. “I was being hit around the head, stuff like that. . . . That is physical. The more hurtful is the psychological – the psychological is name-calling, really repeated name calling,” she said, unable to utter the names the bullies called her, though Oprah tried mightily to get her to do so.
“What kinds of things would they call you, Susan?” Oprah asked.
“They’re not very nice,” Boyle said quietly.
Oprah asked how Boyle felt about being taunted and burned with cigarettes.
“Made me feel as if nobody loved me,” Boyle said. “I didn’t really matter, I was just a target.”
Oprah then gave Boyle some advice on how to get back at her childhood tormentors. “You know what you should do? You should send them your autographed CD with a note that says, ‘How ya like me now?’ ”
“Nice idea!” Boyle said, adding that today she feels more “like a princess, and I feel loved for the first time in my life.”