‘Supergirl’ star praised for opening up about ‘abusive relationship’
“Supergirl” star Melissa Benoist has been hailed a real-life “hero” after opening up about her alleged experience of domestic violence.
The 31-year-old US actress, who plays Kara Danvers — aka Supergirl — on the CW television network show, posted an emotional 14-minute Instagram video Wednesday night captioned “Life Isn’t Always What It Seems.”
She did not name the partner who allegedly abused her, but described him as “a magnanimous person” who “could be charming, funny, manipulative (and) devious.”
According to Benoist, who is married to her Supergirl co-star Chris Wood, the abuse from a previous relationship started as emotional manipulation before spiraling into physical violence.
In her message to her 3.8 million Instagram followers, Benoist recalled the first assault, during which she said her partner threw a smoothie at her face.
“I was more worried about the furniture than I was about the fact that I had just been abused,” she said.
Benoist continued to detail her harrowing experience at the hands of her alleged abuser, saying he would check her devices and police her outfits.
She recalled that the abuse began affecting her work as he “didn’t want me ever kissing or even having flirtatious scenes with men.”
She said she started to turn down auditions and job offers because she “didn’t want to hurt” her partner.
Fighting back tears she continued to share more graphic details, telling fans: “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, headbutted, pinched till my skin broke, shoved into a wall so hard the drywall broke, choked.”
She added: “I learned not to value myself.”
Soon after Benoist shared her story, the hashtag #IStandWithMelissa began gaining traction on Twitter, with fans commending her for her bravery.
“Supergirl” co-creator Ali Adler wrote on Twitter: “If it can happen to #SUPERGIRL it can happen to anyone. So proud of @MelissaBenoist for speaking about her experience.”
The show’s executive producers Greg Berlanti and Sarah Schechter described her as a “hero” and “extraordinary woman” in a statement posted on Twitter.
Benoist says things reached breaking point when she says he threw an iPhone at her face, breaking her nose and almost rupturing her eyeball.
After lying to doctors and police about the nature of the injury, she finally walked away from the toxic relationship, she said.
“Breaking that cycle was the most rewarding, empowering choice I’ve ever made for myself. I feel an enduring strength,” she said. “I will be healing from this for the rest of my life.”
Benoist closed the video by citing a statistic from Centers for Disease Control that one in four women in the United States aged 18 and older will experience physical violence by an intimate partner in their lifetime.
“I want the statistics to change and I hope that telling my story might help prevent more stories like mine from happening,” she said.