In an emotional video for Mai's YouTube series "Hello Hunnay" the entertainment host opened up about the traumatic childhood experience that led to an 8-year rift with her mother, Olivia TuTram Mai, who was also featured in the video.
"We've talked before that we had a major falling out when I was about 16 until I was 24," Mai said. "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."
According to Mai, after her second brother was born, her mom was forced to take on a second job. Because of this, they sought out a family member to watch Mai after school.
"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 and became a really cool, iconic person in my life. This person was 16, 17 and I was nine."
Mai, who said she became "very close" to the unnamed family member, then recalled the disturbing abuse.
"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 said. "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. I was almost narrating it in my head."
"Every day the touching continued a little bit more," she continued. "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 -- still nine-years-old -- 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."
Although she was at first hesitant to tell her parents as they were struggling with money and needed a babysitter, Mai eventually confided in her mom at age 13, however, according to Mai, her mom just "didn't get it."
"I didn't realize what you were trying to say," Olivia said.
Mai emotionally recalled how the abuser became more aggressive. "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 said.
"When I don't believe it, I just let it go," Olivia said. "I never thought he would do that... I don't see anything bad about him."
Ultimately, Mai ran away from home at age 16 and moved to San Francisco. "I felt by myself," she said.
Almost nine years later, Mai and her mother finally reconnected and Mai was able to finally get Olivia to understand what had happened to her.
"I really listened to her every single detail," Olivia said. "I was really shocked. It was a real thing."
According to Olivia, she confronted Mai's alleged abuser, who begged her not to turn him in to the authorities. This was something Mai wasn't aware of until the video.
"I wish you told me that you went to his house. You never told me," Mai said through tears. "That before and that part is all I needed to know that you supported me and you defended me."
"That right there is all I needed to know," she continued. "That you believed me and you listened and that you would go and try and do something about it. I just needed your support. I feel like you just set something free inside of me because you believed me."
New episodes of "Hello Hunnay" with Jeannie Mai premiere every Thursday at 10 a.m. PST on YouTube and Facebook.