‘Can’t Buy Me Love’ Star Amanda Peterson Was Raped at 15, Family Says (Video)

“After that, she became more defensive, less trusting … some of the sparkle was gone,” parents say of the actress who was found dead at age 43 in July

The family of Amanda Peterson, the “Can’t Buy Me Love” actress who died in July, claim that she was raped at age 15.

Peterson was found dead at age 43 in her Colorado home on July 5. Her family had speculated that sleep apnea was responsible but the Weld County coroner’s office confirmed earlier this month that she died from an overdose caused by “accidental acute morphine toxicity.”

Her parents have now revealed that a sexual assault three decades ago — around the time that she was cast in the hit Patrick Dempsey romantic comedy — changed their daughter forever.

“After that she became more defensive, less trusting,” father James Peterson said in an episode of “The Doctors” that aired Monday. “Some of the sparkle was gone.”

“She just felt so ashamed,” her mother, Sylvia, said. “She didn’t want people to know. I think it affected her forever.”

Her parents said they didn’t find out about the assault until two years after the incident, but Amanda didn’t want to press charges and instead said she wanted to get therapy.

Peterson later fell into a long battle with substance abuse and was reportedly arrested four times over the past two decades in her hometown of Greeley, Colorado, most recently on a May 2012 DUI and drug paraphernalia charge.

Booking photos of the actress taken in 2000, 2003 and 2005 showed a significant departure from the fresh-faced beauty who played opposite Dempsey — and one photo even showed her with two black eyes.

“I think for her to carry the secret, this burden of the assault, must have just been overwhelming,” her sister Anne-Marie said on “The Doctors.”