Sinead O'Connor Says She Was Abused By Mother


Sinead O’Connor says she suffered years of physical and sexual abuse at the hands of her mother.

“She ran a torture chamber,” O’Connor said in an interview that aired Tuesday on Dr. Phil. “She was a person who took delight, with a smile, in hurting you.

O'Connor painted a disturbing picture of her childhood with mother Marie. "Whenever she beats me, which is daily, she makes me take my clothes off. I have to lie on the floor. I have to open my arms and legs. I have to let her attack my abdomen. She wants to burst my womb. She wants to stop me from being a female."

The Grammy winner added: "She used to make me say over and over ‘I am nothing. I am nothing’ or else she’d beat me."

O'Connor said her mom was sick and depraved. “She was not well. She was very, very, very, not well. I would say she was possessed, although I’m not sure I believe in such things.

"Either she was just a sadist and a pedophile or she was possessed by the devil."

O'Connor declined to speak on behalf of her siblings, but implied they also suffered at the hands of their mom. 

Their parents separated when she was 8 years old, and she ran away from her mother's home when she was 13. When she was 19, her mother died in a car crash. Asked what she loved about her mother, the singer said: “That she’s dead.”

The singer told Dr. Phil she was also raped "several times" by strangers between the ages of 3 and 12. She adopted a masculine look because "it was dangerous to be pretty.

"I kept getting raped or molested everywhere I went," she recalled. "I did not want to dress like a girl."

O'Connor said she told her story through her music, beginning with her 1987 single "Troy."

O'Connor said she forgave her mother and had "a great relationship" with her from the age of 14 until 16. "One day I did ask her 'Why did you do what you did to us?' and she said 'I never did anything. What are you talking about?' And I was furious."

Despite it all, O'Connor said she misses her mother, forgives her, and "can't wait to see her again."

The 50-year-old Irish star sparked concerns when she posted a desperate plea for help on Facebook last month. O’Connor said “I lost my mind” after having a “radical hysterectomy” two years ago.

She said she attempted to kill herself eight times in one year.

O’Connor explained: “I was told to leave the hospital two days after that with Tylenol and no hormone replacements, and no guidance of what might happen to me. I was flung into surgical menopause and I became suicidal, I was a basket case.”

The singer said she felt like an imposter at the peak of her career, in part because she was best known for "Nothing Compares 2U," a song that was written by Prince.

Asked about her now-infamous ripping up of a photo of the Pope during her SNL performance, O'Connor said the photo had been on her mother's bedroom wall all her life. "I was genuinely very angry about what the Church was doing," she said. "I had planned it for a couple of weeks. It was fantastic."

O'Connor said she has changed her name to Magda Davitt and wants to try for a comeback.

“Sinead O'Connor's gone, that person's dead.”

She said her strength is in performing live. "That’s what I’m born for. I am a very, very brilliant live performer and I love it.”

Dr. Phil surprised O’Connor by telling her that Canadian composer-producer David Foster agreed to work with her on new music. According to a message Dr. Phil shared, Foster called O’Connor “a major talent.”