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Chrissy Metz, star of the hit drama This Is Us, opened up about her childhood abuse in her new memoir This Is Me.
The 37-year-old actress who plays Kate Pearson on the show wrote about how she grew up in poverty and suffered physical and emotional abuse at the hands of her stepfather.
She refers to him in the book only as "Trigger."
“I’m a tough cookie,” Metz told PEOPLE. “But it’s one of those things that attempts to break your spirit.”
Her father, a former Navy officer, left her family when she was 8 years old. Her mother, Denise, raised Metz and her two siblings, Monica, then 15, and Phillip, then 13, on her own.
Denise later had another baby, Morgana, with a man who didn't stick around. Then she met Metz's stepfather, Trigger.
“My mom married Trigger at the courthouse,” Metz writes. “Soon she was pregnant again, with another girl, Abigail. Trigger loved his two biological children, and was even welcoming to Morgana. Me, not so much. My mother was always at work, so she didn’t see how he treated me.”
Metz said that her body "seemed to offend him." So much so, that he would stare at her while she ate and joked about putting a lock on the fridge. To avoid Trigger's detection, Metz said she would hide her eating by sneaking in the middle of the night.
But soon the abuse turned from emotional to physical.
“I don’t remember why Trigger hit me the first time," she wrote. "He never punched my face. Just my body, the thing that offended him so much. He shoved me, slapped me, punched my arm. He would hit me if he thought I looked at him wrong."
Thank you, @people for the wonderful opportunity to share more of my story including a feature and excerpts of my new book, This is Me before the official launch next Monday! You can pick up the issue nationwide on newsstands this Friday! A grateful and loving thank you to Cheryl Mclean @creativeprinc Marc Mena @marcmena Ashley Donovan @ashleydonovan Penny Lovell and Charla @pennylovellstylist Yu Tsai @yutsai88
A post shared by Chrissy Metz (@chrissymetz) on Mar 21, 2018 at 10:38am PDT
"I remember being on the kitchen floor after he knocked me over, and I was begging to know what I did. He just shoved me hard with his foot.”
Metz said that when she turned 14, Trigger started weighing her.
He’d get the scale from the bathroom and clang it hard on the kitchen floor. ‘Well, get on the damn thing!’ Trigger would yell. ‘This is what you need to know.’"
Trigger, she said, would sit in a chair while she weighed herself and yelled "every single time." The scale would usually read 140 or 130, according to Metz, and most of her friends at the time weight around 90 pounds.
"By then the beating had escalated," she wrote. "One time he hit me, and I looked right in his face. If I had a gun, I thought, I would shoot you."
Sometimes you’ve gotta make room for love, as hard as it is. #thisisus
— Chrissy Metz (@ChrissyMetz) March 14, 2018
Metz wrote that it was difficult for her to deal with the abuse because Trigger provided for her family and did more for her then any man had ever done. She said eventually he expressed remorse about the situation and that they have a relationship now.
“We all go through stuff. But I truly believe that everything that happened to me, happened for me. [I’ve learned] some beautiful lessons.”
Emily Blackwood is an editor at YourTango who covers pop culture, true crime, dating, relationships and everything in between. Every Wednesday at 7:20 p.m. you can ask her any and all questions about self-love, dating, and relationships LIVE on YourTango’s Facebook page. You can follow her on Instagram (@blackw00d) and Twitter (@emztweetz).