Supergirl star Melissa Benoist opened up for the first time about being a domestic violence survivor in an emotional, 14-minute Instagram video on Wednesday.
The 31-year-old actor, who’s now married to Chris Wood, another actor who was on two seasons of Supergirl, said she met her abuser right after getting out of another relationship. She said soon after they started dating, their new relationship was like a “runaway freight train.”
Benoist doesn't name the abuser, but said emotional manipulation began with her ex getting jealous when she interacted with other men. She said her partner at the time even asked her to change her clothing and got upset when she had to do a romantic acting scene.
“Work in general was a touchy subject,” Benoist says in the video. “He didn't want me ever kissing or even having flirtatious scenes with men, which was very hard for me to avoid, so I began turning down auditions, job offers, test deals, and friendships, because I didn't want to hurt him.”
His controlling nature eventually turned violent about five months into the relationship, Benoist said.
"I learned what it felt like to be pinned down and slapped repeatedly, punched so hard I felt the wind go out of me, dragged by my hair across pavement, head-butted, pinched until my skin broke, slammed against the wall so hard the drywall broke, choked," she says in the video.
Benoist added that she finally spoke out, sought help, and broke up with her partner after an iPhone was thrown at her face, which resulted in a broken nose and a torn iris, changing her vision for the rest of her life. She initially lied to police and nurses at the hospital about how she got her injuries, but she ended up confiding in a friend about the violence.
"The more people I let in, the more I was bolstered," she says.
After Benoist shared her experience on Instagram, #istandwithmelissa started trending on social media.
“Real life superhero right here,” one person tweeted. “Such a beautiful soul and I’m so proud of her for having the strength and courage to share her story like that.”
“This is absolutely heartbreaking,” another Twitter user said. “The cold hard truth of it all was that she was being abused and had to cover it up and laugh it off to hide what was happening to her. melissa is so fucking strong.”
At the end of her video, Benoist says she hopes telling her story “will prevent more stories like this from happening.”
"If you are enduring what I went through and you see this," she says, "you might be able to find the tiny straw that will break the camel's back."