Anna Kendrick is opening up about a past abusive relationship.
Anna, 37, has previously discussed her experience with “emotional abuse and psychological abuse,” telling People last year that she felt the 2022 film Alice, Darling — in which she played a character stuck in an abusive relationship — “resonated” with her own experience.
“I was coming out of a personal experience with emotional abuse and psychological abuse,” she said as she recalled the moment she first came across the script. “I think my rep sent it to me, because he knew what I'd been dealing with and sent it along. Because he was like, ‘This sort of speaks to everything that you’ve been talking to me about.’”
Now, sitting down with Dax Shepard and Monica Padman for a conversation on the Armchair Expert podcast, Anna has opened up further about the past relationship.
Detailing that she’d spent six years with her partner, Anna began by saying that “for all intents and purposes,” he was her “husband.”
“I was with someone — this was somebody I lived with, for all intents and purposes my husband,” she said.
“We had embryos together, this was my person,” she shared.
However, Anna then divulged that roughly six years into their relationship, she felt a distinct personality shift from her partner.
“About six years in, about somewhere around there, I remember telling my brother, when things had first kind of gone down, ‘I’m living with a stranger. Like, I don’t know what’s happening,’” she recalled.
In an apparent attempt to make sense of his behavior, Anna revealed that she actually found herself wondering whether her partner had “a brain tumor.”
“Maybe he has a brain tumor, or maybe I have a brain tumor. Then we can do something about it. There’s an answer,” she recalled thinking, adding that it gave her “a moment of relief.”
Anna went on to reveal that the next year of her life consisted of her attempting to work on her relationship while her partner remained hostile toward her, noting that whenever she attempted to discuss an incident between them, it would result in her “curled in a ball” with him “screaming” at her.
“It was so alarming, and it was so much easier for me to assume I was crazy or I was doing something wrong,” she said, adding that didn't feel safe. “I can’t bring up the fact that I’m scared of you, because when I do, you get really scary,” she recalled thinking.
Anna noted that it was “hard” for her to recognize that it was an abusive relationship because of how her partner shifted “overnight,” revealing that he later told her that he had feelings for someone else.
“This is unusual that this is six years of very happy, loving relationship and then an overnight shift,” she said.
Anna revealed that she continued to try and work on the relationship by taking up couples therapy, despite the continued behavior. Looking back on it now, she admitted she has “so much shame about not leaving.”
“It wasn’t just the, ‘Oh, I’m losing the relationship.’ It was that I believed that if we broke up, or if he left, basically, it was a confirmation that it’s because I’m impossible,” she said. “I’m lucky that he's even tolerating my bullshit.”
“There was an inherent thing of me being so rejectable that this person who loved me very deeply for six years, it suddenly occurred to him how awful I was or something,” she continued. “The shame, that lingers much longer.”
Anna added that the abusive relationship “truly dismantled” her life, before speaking about how she later managed to prioritize her mental well-being.
“I did start going to Al-Anon while all this was going on. I mean, look, I truly dismantled my life, and at first, that was as a reaction to the accusation that I was crazy and I was the one causing the problem,” she said. “So I had a conversation with CAA — my agency — and said I need to take time off, I have a mental health problem.”
“I started seeing two therapists a week and I started trying to learn to meditate and I got into Al-Anon and all of these things ended up being very wonderful things for me in the long run, but initially went into them thinking, ‘Tell me how to stop being crazy. Tell me how to stop feeling anything,’” she shared.