Chrissy Metz is opening up like never before in her new book, This Is Me: Loving the Person You Are Today.
In her memoir, the This Is Us star shares some rather painful moments from her childhood, including stories of growing up in poverty and the alleged emotional and physical abuse she endured from her stepfather she calls Trigger.
On Wednesday, ET spoke with Metz's stepfather exclusively regarding the allegations about him in the book. "None of it’s true," he says. "I love her very much just like I always have and I treat her just like she’s one of mine. I want the best for her."
In an excerpt from her memoir, via People, the 37-year-old actress writes that at the age of eight, her father up and left their family, leaving Metz's mother, Denise, to raise three kids. She says her mom later had another child, Morgana, with another man, and eventually settled down with Metz's stepfather.
"My mom married Trigger at the courthouse. Soon she was pregnant again, with another girl, Abigail. Trigger loved his two biological children, and was even welcoming to Morgana. Me, not so much," she recalls, noting that her mother was "always at work" and didn't see how she was allegedly being treated. "My body seemed to offend him, but he couldn’t help but stare, especially when I was eating. He joked about putting a lock on the refrigerator. We had lived with a lack of food for so long that when it was there, I felt like I had to eat it before it disappeared. Food was my only happiness."
Metz writes that she started to hide her overeating. "I’d get up in the middle of the night and eat. I’d sneak food to eat in the bathroom. Cookies, chips. Things I could eat as fast as possible to avoid detection,” she remembers. “Things that would give me the brief bliss of numbness.”
As for her stepfather, Metz claims that the emotional abuse turned physical. “I don’t remember why Trigger hit me the first time. He never punched my face. Just my body, the thing that offended him so much," she writes. "He shoved me, slapped me, punched my arm. He would hit me if he thought I looked at him wrong. I remember being on the kitchen floor after he knocked me over, and I was begging to know what I did. He just shoved me hard with his foot.”
Metz further alleges that her stepfather's mistreatment of her only escalated. "When I was 14, Trigger began weighing me,” she recounts. “He’d get the scale from the bathroom and clang it hard on the kitchen floor. ‘Well, get on the damn thing!’ Trigger would yell. ‘This is what you need to know.’"
She continues, "He sat in a chair next to the scale as I got on. ‘Good God almighty!’ he yelled every single time. The number then was about 140 or 130. Most of my friends weighed about ninety pounds. ‘Why are you getting fatter?’ he demanded. I look at pictures of me from that time, and I would be so fine with being that size now. But I thought I was gigantic."
Metz goes on to write that the alleged physical abuse became even worse. "One time he hit me, and I looked right in his face. 'If I had a gun,' I thought, 'I would shoot you.'"
After all this, Metz says she still had mixed feelings about her stepfather. "Afterward, I was so upset with myself. How could I think that about this person I loved so much? Because I really did love him," she explains. "This man did more for me than my father ever did. He was smart, and I was allowed to quietly join him in watching the Ken Burns Civil War documentaries on television. I clung to [these points of connection] because I needed to figure out why this person could do right by me as a provider, but be unable to love me.”
Metz says now that she's an adult, she and her stepfather are in a good place. "We have a relationship now,” she writes. “I do love him and I do care about him.”
As for her rough upbringing, Metz notes, "We all go through stuff. But I truly believe that everything that happened to me, happened for me. [I’ve learned] some beautiful lessons."
Metz is probably having one of her best years ever thanks to the success of her NBC show, This Is Us, which recently wrapped its second second.
As for Metz's memoir, This Is Me will be released on March 27.
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