According to the Domestic Violence Research Center, one in four women have experienced physical violence by a partner, and 74 percent of Americans personally know someone who is or has been a victim of domestic violence.
These numbers are staggering and clearly demonstrate how many women — including many of Hollywood’s A-list stars — have fell victim to abuse. A handful of celebs have publicly shared their painful stories in efforts to help other women and we commend them for that.
Take a look at the celebs who have overcome domestic violence and had the courage to speak their truth.
1. La Toya Jackson
La Toya opens up about her abusive relationship with her manager and ex husband Jack Gordon in her reality series “Life With La Toya”. She revealed that ‘My spouse locked me in the closet … he would beat me.’ ‘I knew that one day, I would be able to escape and brush myself off. That is what this show is about. It’s an extension of that and living the life you want to live.’
R&B singer Michel’le revealed that she was beaten by producer Dr. Dre during the course of their 90′s relationship.
The domestic violence in the six year relationship (1990-1996) with Dre was apparently “very public” and she revealed she even had to have her black eyes covered in a few of her videos. She thought that it was part of a normal relationship and she saw the abuse as love.
3. Gabrielle Union
Actress Gabrielle Union has spoken publicly in the past about the attack she suffered while working the night shift at a shoe store in California when she was 19 years old. She tweeted about her own rape, saying, “Every victim/survivor of rape is unique, including how they THINK they’d like justice 2 be handed out … During my rape I tried 2 shoot my rapist, bt I missed. Over the yrs I realized tht killin my rapist would’ve added insult 2 injury.”
4. NeNe Leak
In her book “Never Make the Same Mistake Twice: Lessons on Love and Life Learned the Hard Way”, NeNe tackles her painful childhood, the abuse she suffered at the hands of a violent boyfriend, her struggle to support her firstborn son, and her path to true love, self-acceptance, and pride. Additionally she founded The Twisted Hearts Foundation, an advocacy project that aims to make people aware about the issue of domestic violence against women.
5. Mariah Carey
Mariah Carey talked about her abusive relationship with Tommy Mottola (1993-1998) during an interview with Larry King. “Abuse has several categories… emotionally, mentally, in other ways. It’s scary,” she said. “I just think you get into a situation and you feel locked in… For me to really get out of it was difficult because there was a connection that was not only a marriage, but a business where the person was in control of my life.”
6. Whitney Houston
The late Whitney Houston detailed her abusive marriage to Bobby Brown during a 2009 interview with Oprah Winfrey. “He slapped me, but he was on probation for traffic violations,” she said. “You can’t slap somebody if you’re on probation. It went to domestic violence court.”
7. K. Michelle
Although some people have doubted K. Michelle’s story, the reality star and singer stands by her truth.
“I had people send me hate, send me Tweets and do things to me, like I was the one who did it to myself,” she said. “I think a lot of women don’t tell their story, and men, just because you don’t know what people are going to say to you. And more and more, women are coming forward. And I think, if you go through that, you have to use it to help other people. You have to be strong.”
Today, she has a partnership with the Saving Our Daughters nonprofit.
8. Evelyn Lozada
Evelyn Lozada described her domestic dispute and divorce from former husband Chad Johnson as the darkest days of her life.
9. Tina Turner
Tina Turner first opened up about her story of brutal physical abuse by ex-husband Ike Turner in her memoir, I, Tina: My Own Story.
10. Robin Givens
Givens has been very vocal about her violent marriage to former heavyweight champion Mike Tyson.
11. Claudette Ortiz
“I noticed that I think happened with me at that time, your worth is broken down, so in some situations you don’t realize the avenues that you do have to get out,” The songstress said during an interview with Hello Beautiful. “In other situations its hard to get out. People view it as ‘oh girl you can get out of that situation’ but its not that easy. When you’re afraid and then there are not that many options especially with women who are involved. I didn’t have any children with him so, thank God. Women who have children with their abusers, it’s even harder, you don’t want to remove the children, its embarrassing to some women, and then sometimes people have their opinions on how you should be handling something. Most of the time its people who have never been in the situation.”
12. Halle Berry
“I saw my mother battered, and could not do anything to stop it – my father was tyrannical, lashing out at her for no reason. I felt the effects that had on our family — I’ve experienced what these women have gone through,” Berry said during a 2009 interview. “I never had to run to a shelter, but I did choose the wrong partners. Not always good men. Luckily, in recent years, I have been smart enough to hit the door when violence even becomes a possibility. That is something I will not tolerate.”
13. Tamar Braxton
Tamar admitted that she had “two boyfriends that like to beat up girlfriends” on “Braxton Family Values.” She’s gone on to say she has no regrets because those abusive relationships helped build her self-esteem and led to her marriage to Vince.
14. Kelly Rowland
In her song “Dirty Laundry”, Kelly Rowland revealed for the first time ever about an abusive relationship in her past. She talks about verbal abuse and her abusive boyfriend turning her against her mother and sister, saying “Nobody love you more than me. Not your mommma, not your Daddy and not B.”
Rihanna and her on-again, off-again boyfriend Chris Brown had a very public breakup and domestic violence dispute in 2009. He was 19 and she was 20.
16. Lisa Wu
Former “Real Housewives of Atlanta” star Lisa Wu spoke candidly about a violent relationship, most associate with ex-husband Keith Sweat. She said her mission was not to expose, but to show women that life can get better.
17. Jaslene Gonzalez
“America’s Next Top Model” winner Jaslene Gonzalez revealed her history with domestic violence on the reality show. She partnered with Liz Claiborne for the “Love Is Not Abuse” campaign, to inspire domestic violence victims to seek help.
18. Keke Wyatt
“R&B Divas” star Keke Wyatt left her first husband and road manager Rahmat Morton after years of abuse, and even a miscarriage. She is also known for stabbing her ex-husband in self-defense. She is now married to Michael Ford.
19. Christina Aguilera
Christina has admitted that her Army Sergeant father Fausto made life hell for her family and she used music as an escape from the trauma of her beatings.
She said: “I witnessed a lot of unpleasant things – a lot of pushing and shoving and fighting and quarrelling. Growing up I did not feel safe. Feeling powerless is the worst feeling in the world. I turned to singing as an outlet. The pain at home is where my love for music came from.”
20. Erica Mena
On her relationship with Fat Joe’s best friend Raoul, the father of her son & the video that exposed the demise of the relationship:
21. Cicely Tyson
Cicely Tyson married legendary jazz trumpeter Miles Davis on November 26, 1981, and they were married for three-and-a-half years. Davis’ physical and emotional abuse of Tyson has been a source of great frustration for many. And it was said that Miles also abused Francis Davis, a Broadway dancer who gave up her career to be with him.