Jessica Alba, Jessica Simpson & Eva Mendes: We Were Bullied in Our Teens, Too

Stars including Jessica Alba, Jessica Simpson and Eva Mendes may be rich, famous and seemingly fearless today, but just like Tyler Clementi, these folks were teased and tormented when they were his age, too.

Playing a often-bullied geek onGlee comes easy to Chris Colfer, who tells PEOPLE he thought of himself as “a walking punching bag,” and was “teased everyday from elementary school until high school.”

Colfer, who is by no means grateful for being pushed around, says at least “it really taught me to be quick on my feet. Some of my witty comebacks are legendary.”

Similarly to Colfer, Gossip Girl‘s Michelle Trachtenberg has also been physically harassed. “This one girl threw me down a flight of stairs, fractured my ribs, punched and fractured my nose,” she told Complex magazine.

But as in the case of Clementi, not all bullying is physical. Simpson, too, was a victim of a different kind of taunting. “[People] would throw toilet paper at my house or throw eggs at my door,” she told UsMagazine. “They would also write things on the sidewalk in permanent marker. They really hated me.”

Adds Alba to the U.K.’s Daily Mirror, “I was bullied so badly my dad used to have to walk me into school so I didn’t get attacked. I’d eat my lunch in the nurse’s office so I didn’t have to sit with the other girls.”

But bullying doesn’t always go down without a fight. Several stars had the courage to stand up for themselves.

Amy Adams says she finally put an end to bullying, along with Eva Mendes, who tells PEOPLE, “When I finally stood up to my bully, that’s when things changed for me.”

Some celebrities are taking their negative teen experiences and turning them into a way to help others.

Demi Lovato is involved with PACER’s Teens Against Bullying organization. “People say sticks and stones may break your bones, but names can never hurt you, but that’s not true,” the Disney star wrote on PACER’s website. “Words can hurt. They hurt me. Things were said to me that I still haven’t forgotten.”

Brittany Snow, with the help of the Jed Foundation and MTV, started her own organization last week, in wake of the recent reported teen suicides. “When I was younger, I was bullied daily, and it led me to face other struggles,” the actress tells PEOPLE of her Love is Louder non-profit aimed at drawing attention to issues of bullying and depression. “I know what it’s like to feel alone and outcast.”

In the end, an important message stands about all of this: there’s light at the end of the tunnel. Ashley Tisdale tells PEOPLE, “I just hope, and I really want to stress to kids that after high school, it’s so much better.”

For more on bullying, see the new issue of PEOPLE on newsstands Friday, and our special week-long series with Anderson Cooper 360, airing on CNN nightly starting Oct. 4, along with a special PEOPLE-CNN-Cartoon Network Town Hall on Fri. Oct. 8 at 10 p.m.

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