Was Mena Suvari sexually abused as minor? Actor recalls 'weird' experience with Kevin Spacey

Suvari said shared that once the allegations against Kevin Spacey surfaced, she immediately thought of 'that day' on the set of 'American Beauty'


                            Was Mena Suvari sexually abused as minor? Actor recalls 'weird' experience with Kevin Spacey
Mena Suvari at the premiere of 'It Chapter Two' in 2019 (Photo by Jon Kopaloff/Getty Images)

'American Beauty' actress Mena Suvari has opened up about her 'weird and unusual' experience with actor Kevin Spacey, on the sets of the Oscar-winning film 'American Beauty'. The actress, who was 19-year-old at the time, portrayed the role of high school student Angela Hayes. Kevin Spacey essayed the role of Lester Burnham, the father of Hayes' best friend Jane (Thora Birch),  who was completely infatuated with Hayes. 

While preparing for one of the intimate scenes in the Sam Mendes movie, Spacey reportedly brought Suvari into a room and laid "on the bed very close to one another". Spacey, who was 42 at the time gently held the 19-year-old Suvari for a while, to prepare for the scene. "He was sort of gently holding me. It was very peaceful but weird and unusual," Suvari shared with People on July 21, 2021. Nearly twenty years after the release of 'American Beauty', Kevin Spacey was accused of sexual harassment and assault by several men. Star Trek actor Antony Rapp, among others, alleged that Spacey sexually abused him when he was only 14 years old. 

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Kevin Spacey after winning the Best Actor Oscar for 'American Beauty' (Photo by David McNew)

 

Was Mena Suvari sexually abused?

At 42, Mena Suvari has released her book 'The Great Peace: A Memoir', where she spoke about the incident with Kevin Spacey. The actress had also spoken out about the sexual assault allegations against Spacey, adding "my heart goes out to anyone who suffers abuse". Suvari also shared that once the allegations against Spacey surfaced, she immediately thought of "that day" on the set of 'American Beauty'. 

Suvari is a survivor of sexual abuse herself, as she shared her traumatic ordeal of surviving rape at the age of 12. She writes that she was raped by a friend of her older brother as his home. "Part of me died that day. He used me, had fun with me and then disposed of me. He called me a wh*re. I never got to have a healthy expression of [sex]. My choice was lost. And that, compiled with already not feeling seen and heard, established a concept that I would have of myself. That that was my value,” Suvari wrote. 

Lester Burnham (Kevin Spacey) and Angela (Mena Suvari) in a scene from 'American Beauty' (Getty Images)

At the age of 15, Suvari moved to Los Angeles, trying to make heads into the acting industry. At that time, her manager pushed her into a sexual relationship while she felt she did not have a choice to say no. With her mother having moved out and her father being mentally and physically ill, her family had fallen apart at that time. The traumatic experiences, one after another, led a young Suvari down a dark path of drug addiction. 

In her memoir, she recalls living a "double life" as she channeled her negative emotions and struggles into her acting roles. "Every time I would go on a set. Every time I was interviewed, I was acting the whole time. It was another role for me to play. That I was okay," she shared, adding that her role in 'American Beauty' was a "beautiful experience."

Suvari published her memoir just months after she welcomed a child in April 2021 with her third husband Mike Hope. "This is my truth. This is my voice. I was so tired of fighting and hiding my whole life. I hope I can help someone else see their value. If I can lessen the pain for someone else, then I want to do it, because I didn’t have that person," she writes about the book. 

Mena Suvari will be spotted next in a biographical drama about former president Ronald Reagan. 

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