“Supergirl” star Melissa Benoist posted a 14-minute video on her Instagram Wednesday sharing she is a survivor of domestic violence.
The “Glee” alum went on to tell how she had gotten into a partnership with a man who abused her throughout their relationship, initially mentally and emotionally, then physically.
"The abuse was not violent at first," she said. "At first it reared its head at me under guise of common dysfunction, coming from his insecurity and depression.”
Benoist, 31, went on to describe how her abuser would get jealous if she was around other men, going so far as to change her clothes before they went out and getting upset if she had to do romantic scenes on-set.
“Work in general was a touchy subject,” Benoist said. “He didn’t want me ever kissing or even having flirtatious scenes with men, which was very hard for me to avoid, so I began turning down auditions, job offers, test deals, and friendships because I didn’t want to hurt him.”
She said five months into their relationship, he threw a smoothie at her face. She said she’d rushed to clean up the mess before it damaged the couch, not registering she had just been abused. Benoist said she didn’t tell anyone, even as the violence escalated.
“The memories feel like they took place on a different planet where I was breathing different air and witnessing a macabre secret could never tell anyone I had ever seen,” she said. “The stark truth is I learned what it felt like to be pinned down and slapped repeatedly, punched so hard the wind was knocked out of me, dragged by my hair across pavement, head-butted, pinched till my skin broke, shoved into a wall so hard the drywall broke, choked.”
In the video, Benoist did not name her alleged abuser, though one story she recounted in the video was very similar to one she told during an appearance on the “The Tonight Show” in March of 2016 when she was still married to her former “Glee” co-star, Blake Jenner.
In the Instagram video Wednesday, she recounted a time her partner threw his iPhone at her face, tearing her iris, nearly rupturing her eyeball and breaking her nose. She said her left eye swelled shut, she had a fat lip and was slated to be on camera the next morning for re-shoots on a film she was starring in.
“We made up a flimsy story together,” Benoist said in her video. “I had tripped and fallen on the stairs of our deck, and hit my face on a potted plant.”
She said she went on to lie to police to protect her partner, she said, but something had changed.
“This is an injury that’s never going to heal. My vision is never going to be the same,” she said Wednesday in the video. “Emotionally after that, I was done.”
Benoist said afterward, when a friend came to visit her at work and point-blank asked if she was a victim of domestic violence, she said yes and began the long process of leaving and healing.
“None of this is salacious news,” Benoist said in the video. “It was my reality. It taught me what love is and isn’t, and the strength I am capable of.”
She said she had chosen to speak out in support of other women impacted by intimate partner violence.
“If you are enduring what I went through and you see this, maybe you will find this tiny straw that will break the camel’s back,” she said Wednesday. “Or at least, you might begin to think of your freedom. In which case, I am here, I am with you, and you can and deserve to live a violence-free life.”
Benoist is now married to her "Supergirl" co-star, Chris Wood, who she wed earlier this year.