NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Tracy Lindsey Melchior has played some pretty dramatic characters in her roles on popular daytime dramas “Sunset Beach,” “The Young and the Restless,” “The Bold and the Beautiful” and “One Life to Live,” but her real life story tells a tale that even Hollywood writers could not create.

Before she was Kristen, Kelly, Tess or Veronica, the popular daytime actress was just Tracy, who as a child experienced severe poverty, abandonment and emotional trauma when she was almost raped at the age of 12. Her quest for love and her pursuit to replace the emptiness inside by becoming Hollywood’s next “perfect 10” caused her to break all of God’s Ten Commandments before she turned 25.

In the Broadman & Holman book, “Breaking the Perfect 10,” Melchior shares her story of pain, struggle, success and ultimate triumph as she discovered God’s grace and forgiveness and a new life in Christ.

“Once upon a time I was an actress who lived in a superficial world in Tinsel Town,” Melchior writes in the book’s introduction. “Today I am an actress who lives in a supernatural world in God’s kingdom. I didn’t find peace and happiness in Hollywood, but ... I found God there.”

Melchior’s parents divorced when she was young, and she and her sisters were left with their grandparents because neither parent wanted the responsibility. But soon a consistent, inconsistent, pattern developed and the children were frequently moved from house to house, sometimes staying with their mother, sometimes with their father, and sometimes separated and living with various relatives.

After their mother remarried, she brought Melchior and her sister home with her but instead of letting them live with her and her new husband, she rented a small house an hour away and the two young girls, ages 10 and 12 at the time, were on their own. It was during this time, with no adult presence in the house, that a neighborhood boy tried to rape her. Only the sound of someone coming stopped the act from occurring.

After several years of rejection from those she loved most, Melchior turned to what the world offered for happiness. She learned how to manipulate men through her beauty and she discovered the power that beauty provided. As a teenager, she enjoyed acting in school plays and, as a young adult, she pursued acting with a focused determination.

Melchior’s first big break came when an agent agreed to represent her and she was cast for the lead part in an Old Spice commercial. Several commercials later, her onscreen life was excelling but off-screen her life was floundering with troubled relationships. She became pregnant and had an abortion. She committed adultery after marrying someone she really didn’t love. After her husband was injured in a skiing accident and developed a personality disorder, her marriage ended soon after he revealed knowing about her affair. Life couldn’t get much worse and soon, she started reaching out to God for some answers.

Throughout the book, Melchior describes her destructive path with clear and detailed honesty, ending with the grace she finally discovered and the hope she received through a relationship with Jesus Christ.

Unlike the soaps, Melchior’s story has a happy ending. She married her husband Rob in 1999 and they now live near Los Angles with their 4-year-old son, Kyle. No longer with a current role on daytime television, Melchior continues to audition while enjoying being a mom and telling young girls her story in the hopes of encouraging them to walk with God.

“When God called me to write this book, I wanted to run and hide, but my obedience has required me to remove my mask ... in front of you so that our heavenly Father can be glorified,” Melchior writes. “That a life where the person broke every commandment before she was 25 can be redeemed, is truly a miracle in itself. It is a testimony ... that your life can be redeemed too.”

© 2006 Southern Baptist Convention, Baptist Press.  All rights reserved.  Used with permission.