9 Celebrities Who Have Spoken Out About Abusive Relationships

Press Association

Today more and more women are coming forward to share their personal experience with domestic abuse. Female celebrities aren’t exempt from the problem, but more often than not, abusers are able to bounce back in their careers. We’ve seen males involved in either the sports, film or music industry get away unscathed after a domestic violence scandal and it’s quite shocking. Celebrities are merely a small fraction of the population, but there’s a long list of stars who’ve either been abused or are the abuser which means, outside of Hollywood, the list only grows on a much bigger scale. The issue is rampant in society so it’s important to shed some light on the subject and spread awareness. Here’s a list of 9 female celebrities who have spoken out about their abusive relationships in the hopes of helping other women:

9. Halle Berry

Like many victims of domestic violence, Halle Berry has chosen to use her experience to help other women. In 2015 she attended a benefit for domestic violence prevention and intervention and spoke about how she not only grew up in a household with domestic violence, but she herself has also been a victim of abuse. “I saw my mother battered and beaten many years of my life and I felt helpless…I have an understanding, a knowing. I feel like I have something that I can impart to these women. It seems like I’ve overcome it, but I really haven’t. In the quiet of my mind, I still struggle,” she said. In 1996, Berry revealed to People magazine that she was abused by a former boyfriend. She said she was hit so hard her eardrum was punctured. She’s never mentioned her abuser by name, but it’s been presumed in the past that her ex-husband, David Justice, was the culprit. Justice, however, has adamantly denied these claims and stated it was a former Hollywood boyfriend who she dated prior to him. When she made the comments back in the 90’s people assumed it was Justice, but Berry has never actually identified the man and some speculate it could also have been Wesley Snipes.

Chelsea Lauren/Variety/REX

Chelsea Lauren/Variety/REX

8. Amber Heard

Just this past summer fans were shocked to hear that Johnny Depp and Amber Heard were divorcing. Not only that, but Heard claimed that Depp physically abused her throughout their relationship and she even went as far as filing a restraining order. Their divorce was recently settled and she dismissed the allegations of abuse, but fans aren’t convinced they are entirely not true. Throughout the legal proceedings this summer she was adamant that Depp had assaulted her on multiple occasions and even cited a particular incident when he allegedly threw a cellphone at her, hitting her cheek and eye. Despite a photo released by Heard, the police found no evidence of assault. Back in April, Heard said, “I live in fear that Johnny will return to (our house) unannounced to terrorize me, physically, and emotionally.” She described him as having a short fuse and scary temper fueled by drugs and alcohol. After months of back and forth between the two, they settled out of court last week and Amber dismissed her domestic violence case against him. It has been reported that she will received a hefty settlement from Depp of around $7 million which she claims will all be donated to charity.

EPA/JUSTIN LANE

EPA/JUSTIN LANE

7. Tina Turner

Tina Turner and her then-husband, Ike Turner, were one of the hottest musical duos in the ’60s and ’70s. They got married in 1962 while he was still technically married to his first wife, Lorraine Taylor. The abuse began shortly after. In her memoir, I, Tina, Tina said the first time Ike physically abused her was when she told him she was considering leaving their group. He allegedly grabbed a shoe stretcher and hit her on the head. In an interview with Oprah, Tina revisited the subject and said, “Later he’d hit me in the ribs, and then always try to give me a black eye. He wanted his abuse to be seen. That was the shameful part…When I look back on that time now, it was just hell. So why didn’t I walk out? I had nowhere to go. I didn’t have money–and neither did my mother…Another night we had a fight in the dressing room, and when I went onstage, my face was swollen. I think my nose was broken because blood was gushing into my mouth when I sang. Before, I’d been able to hide under makeup.” She left Ike once and for all after a violent argument on the way to a concert in 1976 and in 1978 their divorce was finalized. Ike has also spoken about the abuse and admitted to hitting Tina on many different occasions. “Yeah I hit her, but I didn’t hit her more than the average guy beats his wife…If she says I abused her, maybe I did.” He also wrote in his memoir, Taking Back My Name, “Sure, I’ve slapped Tina…There have been times when I punched her to the ground without thinking. But I have never beat her.”

AGF s.r.l. / Rex Features

AGF s.r.l. / Rex Features

6. Robin Givens

Actress and activist Robin Givens was married to Mike Tyson from 1988 to 1989. She has been open about the abuse she suffered during their brief marriage and used her experience to spread awareness and help other women. In a penned Op-ed for Time Magazine, Givens recalled a particularly frightening incident. “I remember being dragged down a hallway in a hotel in the Bahamas on a night I thought I was really going to die. Today there would have been cameras in that hall. Someone would know. I would be believed. Now the story gets to tell itself.” She also wrote about inspiring other women to have the courage to leave. “I only left my marriage when I felt like I was going to die physically or die emotionally. It’s just amazing what becomes your normal. One day you wake up with a knife at your throat. Another day, your shoes are all torn up. But I did leave and I didn’t take one dime from my husband. I left my house, and I even left my underwear. I just wanted my life. I was very confident that I could make my way on my own. And I did,” she wrote.

Broadimage/REX

Broadimage/REX

5. Mariah Carey

During an interview with Larry King on Larry King Live, Mariah Carey shocked everyone when she revealed she was once in an emotionally and mentally abusive relationship. “I just think you get into a situation, and you feel locked in — if your situation is similar to one of the situations I’ve been in, which I won’t harp on. For me, to really get out, it was difficult because there was a connection that was not only a marriage but a business thing, where the person was in control of my life,” she said. She didn’t reveal the name of her abuser during the interview, but many speculate that she was referring to her former husband and label boss, Tommy Mottola. The two married in 1993, but it was short lived as they divorced five years later. Prior to this particular interview she had alluded that her marriage to Mottola ended because he was extremely controlling. She said she sympathized with fellow singer, Rihanna, who was also going through her own experience with abuse at the time, and very aloofly alluded to her own situation when she said: “I wasn’t really allowed out of the house, so I can’t imagine what she went through…just certain things that also make me identify with ‘Precious,’ the movie.”

Kristin Callahan/Everett Collection

Kristin Callahan/Everett Collection

4. Amy Schumer

This comedian turned actress is the most recent celebrity to come forward about her experience with domestic abuse. In her new book, The Girl With the Lower Back Tattoo, Schumer gets super candid about her past relationships and it’s not what we’d expect from this funny gal. She wrote that her ex-boyfriend by the name of Dan was physically and emotionally abusive towards her. “I thought it was the love of my life for a long time but I allowed him to hurt me in ways that I still don’t understand. Dan and I would go to happy hours and get drunk, and then he’d get mad and shove me a little. Sometimes from the shove, I’d trip over something and fall, and get hurt,” she said. Schumer said he would always apologize afterwards and called her bruises “accidents.” His most violent outburst happened when he pushed her onto the hood of a parked car which caused her to bang her head and elbow. “I was screaming for him to stop, when he grabbed a butcher knife from a drawer. And that’s when I was sure he was going to kill me. It may sound cliche, but I saw my life flash before my eyes,” she wrote. Schumer was able to end the relationship a few months after this incident, “I’m a strong-a– woman, not someone most people picture when they think ‘abused woman.’ It can happen to anyone. You’re not alone if it’s happening to you, and you’re not exempt if it hasn’t happened to you.”

Elizabeth Goodenough/Everett Collection

Elizabeth Goodenough/Everett Collection

3. Michel’le

Singer Michel’le was in a relationship with the R&B singer and now-billionaire producer, Dr. Dre, from 1990 to 1996. She has been extremely candid about their relationship and the abuse she suffered while she was with him. During an interview with Vlad she recounted the first time she experienced abuse at the hands of her former fiancee. “When he gave me my very first black eye, we laid in the bed and cried. He was crying and I was crying because I was in shock, hurt and in pain. I don’t know why he was crying, but he said, ‘I’m really sorry.’ That was the only time he ever said he was really sorry. And he said, ‘I’ll never hit you in that eye again, okay?'” Michel’le wasn’t his only victim. Dre was also accused of assaulting journalist Dee Barnes in a nightclub in 1991. He pleaded no contest to the charge and the case was settled outside of court. During the press tour for his newest movie, Straight Outta Compton, Dre confronted the allegations of abuse head-on and said, “I made some f-cking horrible mistakes in my life. I would say all the allegations aren’t true — some of them are. Those are some of the things that I would like to take back…But I paid for those mistakes, and there’s no way in hell that I will ever make another mistake like that again.” She continues to hold Dre responsible for his actions, despite his blanket apology to all the women he’s hurt in the past. “I don’t want this new generation to think that its ok. I’ve never stopped talking about it. That’s what’s so funny about this coming up now,” she said.

 Rob Latour / Rex Features

Rob Latour / Rex Features

2. Tamar Braxton

Before her marriage to Vincent Herbert in 2008, Tamar Braxton was in an abusive relationship with an unnamed boyfriend. During an interview on her daytime talk show, The Real, she divulged personal details about her experience and said she was beat down mentally and physically. “God really saved me from myself, because I was with the wrong person, and when I was with the wrong person, it made me feel bad about who I was and that’s why I said I would date so many people at this moment. He made me feel so bad about having dreams, having goals…and my dreams and goals was not the same as his. And because of that he used to beat me down, mentally and physically. It was just a really hard time for me,” she said. She continued on and encouraged young viewers to “get to know you” before getting into a relationship. “The only reason why he got away with it then was because I didn’t know who I was. I could not make the right decisions for myself because I didn’t know where to go,” she said. Lately, Braxton and Herbert have been the subject of tabloid rumors revolving around the state of their marriage and claims of abuse. She has denied all of these allegations.

Rob Latour/Variety/REX/Shutterstock

Rob Latour/Variety/REX/Shutterstock

1. Rihanna

The world was shocked when the photo of Rihanna’s blackened and swollen face surfaced in the media. Chris Brown was accused of beating, choking and biting Rihanna during a fight in his car on February 8, 2009. The world was even more shocked when Rihanna got back together with Brown in 2012, but their reconciliation was short lived. She admitted she thought she could change him and felt extremely protective of him. She believed people didn’t understand him, but she finally realized, “if you put up with it, maybe you are agreeing that you [deserve] this, and that’s when I finally had to say, ‘Uh-oh, I was stuipd thinking I was built for this.’ Sometimes you just have to walk away.” Brown basically got off unscathed when he entered a guilty plea deal. He was sentenced to five years probation and ordered to perform six months of community service — a small price to pay. At first she kept quiet on the subject, but she’s since opened up and shared her feelings on what it’s like to be a victim of domestic violence. In an interview with Vanity Fair she said: “I just never understood that, like how the victim gets punished over and over. It’s in the past, and I don’t want to say, ‘Get over it,’ because it’s a very serious thing that is still relevant; it’s still real. A lot of women, a lot of young girls, are still going through it. A lot of young boys too. It’s not a subject to sweep under the rug, so I can’t just dismiss it like it wasn’t anything, or I don’t take it seriously. But for me, and anyone who’s been victim of domestic abuse, nobody wants to even remember it.”

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Press Association

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