Revisiting footage and diaries from her youth unlocked "so many of these painful experiences," Frye tells TooFab.
While many know Soleil Moon Frye as the carefree character she played on TV, Punky Brewster, the actress herself has been through some tough moments in her 44 years.
In her new documentary "Kid '90" -- created from her massive personal collection of home movies, diaries, old answering machine messages and photographs from her youth -- Frye opens up about an instance of sexual assault in detail.
In one diary entry from when she was 17 or 18, Frye wrote that a man she was dating "thrust himself in me" after she said she was not ready to have sex. She pushed him off and he left the room, before asking her, "How does it feel not to be a virgin anymore?" Soleil said he also wondered whether she would say he had raped her. Frye said she would not, never told her family what happened and simply "locked it away" until now.
The documentary also includes an audio confrontation between Frye and another man where she wonders how she blacked out after drinking ginger ale. While she only recalls the man trying to kiss her, he calls her the aggressor and swears nothing happened. She later came to believe someone slipped GHB into her drink.
When asked whether she knew that diary entry about her assault would come up when she decided to look back at her past, Frye told TooFab that, no, she did not.
"I had bits and pieces of memories, but I really hadn't been looking back on those experiences -- and it wasn't just one experience, there was multiple experiences that I'm still wrapping my head around," she explained. "And unlocking the tapes and finding these moments where these different experiences have happened that were so painful and then the diaries ... it was unlocking so many of these painful experiences."
"So, in unlocking the joy and the bliss and the love, it was also confronting some of those parts of my life that I had just locked away," she continued. "For me, it wasn't about the whos and the whats of it. It was really about the forgiveness of the little girl that in some way was holding onto this and felt like she had to lock it up forever."
While she hopes her openness leads to important conversations about consent for those watching at home, Frye said revisiting her past trauma for the documentary also informed conversations with her own children. She's mom to four kids, whose ages range from 4-15.
"They have been such inspirations to me throughout this. They did research for me on the doc and one of them filmed many parts of it," she said of her children.
"They were truly a part of the whole experience and it did open up conversations for us to be able to talk openly," she continued. "I can only speak from my experiences, but for me with my kids, I really wanted to be able to have honest lines of communication and hope that in some way this can show them who their mom was and how it relates to them and their lives and hopefully to connect to others."
"My hope is that when people watch this documentary that they're watching it through the lens of their own lives and not just through my life," she added.
In the doc, she goes on to describe how Charlie Sheen was her first consensual sexual experience, writing that's when she lost her virginity. "He was my first, who would have known?" she wrote in a journal entry. "It's been the most strange and incredible day ever. I don't truly know how to explain my feelings, he's somebody I've had a crush on for years. He's someone who intrigues me and excites me."
Frye told TooFab she initially went into the documentary just wondering "if things had happened the way I remembered them" -- and she had no idea she was also "opening Pandora's box."
"It was only about four years ago ... that I started unlocking the vault," she added. "And I didn't intend for the documentary to be about me. I really was so focused on making it about everybody but me. And then it ultimately became very much a coming of age story of the teen me and adult me."
"Kid '90" is on Hulu now.
The National Sexual Assault Telephone Hotline -- 800.656.HOPE (4673) -- provides free, 24/7 support for those in need.