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Supergirl actress Melissa Benoist is receiving fan support — using the hashtag #IStandWithMelissa — after her ex-husband, Blake Jenner, broke his silence admitting to “emotionally, mentally and yes, physically" abusing her, but also made his own counterclaims of abuse.
In his first post since Benoist shared a video in Nov. 2019 calling herself “a survivor of domestic violence, or IPV, intimate partner violence ... something I never in my life expected I would say,” Jenner put up a lengthy Instagram post opening up about what he calls their “toxic relationship.”
"Over the past eleven months, I have been thinking about how to address a personal situation made public in late-2019," Jenner wrote. "Throughout that time, I reflected on a period in my life that I had previously kept in the darkness out of shame and fear, but I know this is something that needs to be addressed, not just publicly, but also privately with the individual directly affected and with myself."
The actor and singer, 28, said that when he was 20, “I met a woman and we fell in love,” referring to Benoist, 32. However, in hindsight, he said they bonded over their “shared brokenness that stemmed from their childhoods.” And while the relationship brought them “joyous highs,” there was also “jealousy,” “insecurity” and “volatility.”
A post shared by Blake Jenner (@blakedaflake) on Oct 8, 2020 at 12:58pm PDT
While he said he wanted to leave the marriage — their divorce was finalized in 2017 after secretly marrying four years earlier — thinking it would have been the “healthier choice,” he claimed he “felt as though I couldn’t leave when someone I loved was asking me to stay. It was a relationship with a foundation rooted in co-dependency, which had dire consequences. We were both young and left so much of our brokenness to fester for too long.”
Jenner, who had a recurring role on Supergirl, in which Benoist stars, wrote that he takes “full responsibility and accountability for the hurt that I inflicted during my relationship with my past partner — emotionally, mentally and yes, physically." He admitted to throwing a phone “aimlessly” during an “argument that escalated” and hitting her “in the face.” He said it’s a moment he’ll “regret for the rest of my life” and he can “only imagine the pain, fear, and shame she must have felt in that moment.” And he knows, no matter his intention, he was “responsible for the pain that I caused in that moment and beyond. And it is something I am still working on forgiving myself for.”
However, he notes that “without absolving myself of any responsibility, it is important to understand that there was mental, emotional and physical abuse inflicted from both ends.” And while he said it isn’t “meant to serve as an excuse,” he made some of his own claims, noting, "I also do believe that when allegations and information are brought forth about someone, that accountability goes both ways and one has a right to defend oneself when deemed necessary."
He made multiple allegations against Benoist, claiming she "scratched," "slapped," "punched" and "physically assaulted" him. He said he was left "with a traumatic injury" after an incident in the shower, which he didn’t want to delve deeper into, and also had to go to the hospital for a broken nose.
"I, too, have had to conceal and make up lies about many visible injuries I had incurred throughout the relationship,” he wrote.
He also claimed he was forced to pass on multiple jobs due to Benoist being jealous of female co-stars. When he did work, he claimed she would become upset, one time allegedly calling him and threatening self-harm.
While he made his own allegations, he said he didn’t want to get into a “mudslinging match.” He doesn’t want to “drag her down in any way.” He wants to heal, which he has been doing through therapy for years now, having split from Benoist four years ago.
Toward the end, he addressed Benoist directly, apologizing, "However, the most important apology extends — then and now — to my former partner. I am sorry. There are many things that I wish I could have done differently; and while I wish it did not take the pain that was suffered throughout the course of our relationship, I will never regress to making the same mistakes ever again," he vowed. "I will never stop doing the work necessary to better myself in all areas of my life. I wish you and your family nothing but good health, joy and love."
Benoist has not yet publicly responded to Jenner, but her many fans have, and felt there was too much victim-blaming in Jenner’s statement. They have also criticized the timing, as she recently welcomed her first child with her second husband, Chris Wood.
Blake Jenner waited over a year to make a statement only to victim blame Melissa Benoist and make himself look like the real victim? And only a few weeks after she welcomed her newborn? His manipulative and victim blaming “apology” means nothing. #IStandWithMelissa
— 𝓪𝓁𝒾𝒶𝓈 (@itsjustanx) October 8, 2020
Though many just sent her love.
— agentjoannemills (@agentjoannemil1) October 9, 2020
— Jennifer (@rarebenoist) October 8, 2020
— Misslane (@misslane_es) October 9, 2020
Her video sharing her story has also been widely circulated and can be seen here:
A post shared by Melissa Benoist (@melissabenoist) on Nov 27, 2019 at 11:30am PST
Benoit and Wood welcomed a son, Huxley, in September. And there is even more change afoot in her life, as it was announced at around the same time that the upcoming sixth season of Supergirl will be its last.
If you are in an unsafe situation with a partner, contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-SAFE (7233).
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