'Supergirl' Star Melissa Benoist Reveals She Is a 'Survivor of Domestic Violence'
By Liz Calvario
Tommaso Boddi/Getty Images
Melissa Benoit is opening up like never before.
The Supergirl star took to her Instagram Story on Wednesday to share a 14-minute video in which she stated that she is "a survivor of domestic violence, or IPV, intimate partner violence." The actress never addressed specifically who she was talking about, only sharing that the man was younger than her as she recalled how they met and their tumultuous relationship. Claiming that her own past hindered her from knowing the signs of an unhealthy partnership, she says she went along with the abuse in hopes that she could save the relationship.
"The abuse was not violent at first," she explains. "At first it reared its head at me under guise of common dysfunction, coming from his insecurity and depression. He confided in me the tragedies that he had experienced, the injustices and the insecurities that he had been dealt. It was all very real and easy to sympathize."
Benoist, 31, was previously linked to photographer Nick Vorderman, 37. She announced her marriage to actor Blake Jenner, 27, in 2015 and filed for divorce in December 2016. The couple's divorce was finalized in 2017. Benoist is currently married to her Supergirl co-star Chris Wood, 31.
In the video, Benoist claims that her abuser would start getting jealous when she was around other men, tell her to change her clothes so that others wouldn't look at her and get upset when she would have to interact or have flirtatious scenes with a male co-worker.
"Work in general was a touchy subject," she shared. "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."
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'Supergirl' Star Melissa Benoist Is Divorcing Her Husband Blake Jenner
The actress then claimed that the first incident of physical violence occurred five months into their relationship when he allegedly threw a smoothie at her face. She never told anyone about it, as she didn't want it to happen again or admit that she was being abused.
"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 until my skin broke, shoved into a wall so hard the drywall broke, choked," she revealed, adding that she learned how to lock herself in rooms but quickly stopped because "the door was inevitably broken down" and she learned not to value property or "myself."
She then went on to describe the aftermath of the violent incidents, which included an apology from her partner and her laying in the bathtub while he regained his composure. At one point, she claims, she became violent in order to fight back. The breaking point came when he threw an iPhone at her face, allegedly tearing her iris to the point where it nearly ruptured her eyeball, broke her nose and gave her a fat lip.
"This was too far and I couldn't flush this story down with the tug of the drain," she said, explaining that they had to make up a story about how she fell and hit her face on a potted plant. She would go on to share the false story during an appearance on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon.
She finally called things off her partner and started to confide in a friend. "None of this is salacious news, it was my reality. What I went through caused a tectonic shift in my outlook on life."
Benoist also shared a post about how she hopes that sharing her story helps others seek help.
"The long and winding road of healing and reconciliation has brought me to this moment where I feel strong enough to talk about my experience openly, honestly and without shame," she wrote. "By sharing my story, hopefully I can empower others to seek help and extricate themselves from abusive relationships. Everyone deserves to be loved void of violence, fear and physical harm. @futureswithoutviolence."