Jeannie Mai opened up about a traumatic experience from her childhood.
The Real co-host shared a sneak peek at her new YouTube series Hello Hunnay, in which she sat down with her mother Olivia TuTram Mai, revealing the pair were estranged for years after she was sexually abused by a male family member starting at the age of 9.
"We've talked before that we had a major falling out when I was about 16 until I was 24," Mai says in the clip. "I've never actually talked about that incident with my mom since then. We're talking for the first time about how that affected us."
The television personality then share the abuse started shortly after her second brother was born and her mother was forced to work a second job to pay the bills, PEOPLE first reported.
"We needed to find a babysitter, so we called upon a family member," she said. "He came over every single day and stayed with me after school."
Mai did not name her abuser, but said he was "16 or 17" at the time and became an "iconic person" who she looked up to in her life. The relationship, however, took a dark turn that changed her life.
"I just remember one day this person sitting very close to me, we were playing video games, and he started to touch my thigh," she told the camera.
She added she justified the touching by convincing herself there was no problem, since she was being touched by a member of her family.
"I was also just stunned because I had never been intimately touched like that so I couldn't tell if it was wrong, I just knew I was noticing it," she added.
Mai then explained how the touching got worse as the days went on, progressing to the man taking off her clothes, exposing himself to her and teaching her how to touch him.
"I remember him pulling me into that shower and it was the first time I have a seen a grown man and what he looked like," she said. "I remember him telling me to touch him in certain ways."
"This happened every day for a few weeks, and then it turned into months and I remember one year going by," she added. "I didn't say anything because I was afraid."
She added her abuser warned her her parents would be angry if she told them about what was going on. However, Mai eventually attempted to hint at her mom about the abuse when she was 13, but Olivia said she didn't understand what her daughter was trying to say.
When the abuse started to become more "aggressive" years later, Mai once again tried to reach out to her mother, but she didn't believe her.
"I began to get angry because now I'm telling my mom that he's taking off my clothes and you said, 'I don't believe you,'" she added.
"When I don't believe it, I just let it go," Olivia responded, also saying she could not imagine the man could be capable of abusing her daughter.
Mai and Olivia did not speak for almost nine years. The pair finally reconnected when Mai was able to convince her mom what she was saying was the truth.
"I really listened to her every single detail. I was really shocked. It was a real thing," Olivia said in the clip. "All I can say is I'm really sorry."
Olivia then revealed she confronted the man about the situation, who begged her not to turn him in for his abusive behavior. The mother and daughter then worked to rebuild their relationship, and chose to speak about it publicly to encourage others to seek help.0comments
"We hope that this can help you connect more with your mom, grow better and closer to your family and help your heal however you need to inside," Mai added in the clip
Hello Hunnay with Jeannie Mai streams new episodes Thursdays at 10 a.m. on YouTube and Facebook.