What Lorena Bobbitt Is Up to Nearly 30 Years Later
By Stacy Lambe
Tommaso Boddi/Getty Images
In 1993, Lorena and John Bobbitt became household names after years of alleged domestic abuse and assault led to Lorena cutting her then-husband’s penis off with a knife. The incident and subsequent trial, where she was found not guilty by reason of insanity, became a source of never-ending tabloid headlines and late-night jokes as both tried to move forward with their lives.
For Lorena, who was just 24 at the time of the attack, that meant retreating from the spotlight. But now, nearly 30 years later, Lorena is revisiting this traumatic time in her life -- and reclaiming her story -- with the Lifetime movie I Was Lorena Bobbitt, which premieres Monday, May 25. “People used to judge me before, saying that they don't believe my story. To tell the story again is more than a blessing, to me it is an opportunity to tell it right,” Lorena tells ET. In addition to executive producing and narrating the film, she also stars in the network’s new PSA for the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence.
However, the Lifetime movie starring Dani Montalvo as Lorena and Luke Humphrey as John isn’t the first time Lorena has spoken out. Last year she appeared on camera to detail her life at the time in the Jordan Peele–produced Amazon docuseries Lorena, which also featured interviews with John. “These, to me, were two wonderful, incredible platforms to continue this movement against [domestic abuse] issues,” she says, adding that these projects are “a great way to reach people of all kinds of walks of life.”
“For many years, I kept a low profile and I avoided the attention,” Lorena says of wanting to create a somewhat normal life with her new husband, Dave Bellinger, and their daughter, Olivia, whom she gave birth to in 2005. But she soon recognized that not much has changed for domestic violence and survivors in the years since her own experiences, and she wanted to become an advocate for victims and survivors alike. “I felt that it was the right thing to do, to come forward with my story,” she continues. “If I could help at least one person to escape domestic violence then all my pain and suffering that I went through was not in vain.”
Since then, Lorena has made appearances on various talk shows and spoken at length with the likes of the New York Times and Vanity Fair, but the docuseries and Lifetime film were the first two times that she could reshape her story, especially in the wake of the #MeToo movement. “It's a shame that it took so long for people to actually see it through the lens of the #MeToo movement and the perspective of domestic violence,” she says, which is why she thinks it “is very important to actually talk about these stories.”
That also includes her 2020 Webby-nominated, in-depth interview with Amanda Knox for the series The Truth About True Crime. “We immediately hit it off,” Knox previously told ET of her connection with Lorena, whom she applauds for turning her life around to help others.
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'I Was Lorena Bobbitt': Watch the Trailer! (Exclusive)
In addition to her work as a public speaker -- reaching out to scholastic programs, private sectors and the Latinx community -- Lorena has become a dedicated advocate for survivors and victims of domestic abuse, which she says doesn’t discriminate based on age, gender or race. “It could happen to anybody,” she says.
In 2007, she founded Lorena's Red Wagon, which is now called Lorena Gallo Foundation. “The mission is to expand domestic violence and sexual assault prevention education and [provide] emergency response resources and community engagement for survivors and their children,” she says.
Lorena also has dreams of opening an emergency shelter for victims suffering from domestic abuse. “It will be a place where they can go and feel safe with their children, escaping their abusers, especially now in the middle of this pandemic,” she says, referring to the coronavirus outbreak, which has only exacerbated the issue. “So we are basically dealing with two major problems here.”
And when it comes to public speaking, or her foundation, or participating in these TV projects, “it’s very important for me to be ready and be strong,” Lorena says for those who are watching and listening so they know what lies ahead. “All the trauma has actually made me the resilient person that I am today.”