This week Rihanna spoke at length for the first time about the night in February when ex-boyfriend Chris Brown beat her so severely she had to cancel her performance at the Grammy Awards the next day. In interviews with Diane Sawyer and Glamour magazine, the pop star spoke about overcoming the shame of being in an abusive relationship, the humiliation of having a police photo of her injuries leaked to TMZ.com, channeling her anger into her new album, and being a role model to other women suffering at the hands of a loved one. Here, five other celebrities who were victims of domestic abuse, and how they overcame the violence and made themselves healthy and successful.
"My mother was a battered woman and that was my childhood for a good chunk of it," Halle told NBC's Natalie Morales yesterday. The actress, who has been involved for years with fundraising and support for the Jenesse Center, a shelter for domestic violence victims in L.A., said she grew up watching her father abuse her mother and older sister and then repeated the pattern in her own life. In 1993 she told Ebony magazine that a boyfriend's beatings had caused her to lose 80 percent of the hearing in her right ear. "The minute he did that, I was gone," she told the Daily Mail in 2007. "My mother always told me, 'If a man hits you, you leave.'" These days Halle is the mother of a baby girl, Nahla, and in a long-term relationship with model Gabriel Aubry, and dedicates much of her charity work to helping other women recover from and flourish after domestic violence. Are Apologies Enough After Domestic Abuse?
Now she's a UN messenger of peace, but as a child in South Africa, Charlize Theron lived with an abusive, alcoholic father who threatened to kill her and her mother. When Charlize was 15, her mother, Gerda, shot and killed her father in self-defense. The actress doesn’t talk about the experience much, but 1999 she founded the first of two rape-crisis centers in South Africa, which has very high rates of intimate partner violence. She has also participated in Eve Ensler's V-Day Project, which raises money and awareness to help abused women.