Domestic violence comes in many forms; it can be emotional or physical, and it can be against a man or a woman. The point is, it can happen to anyone. Even some of the richest, most famous and most powerful people in the world can be affected by domestic abuse. Most are able to come out the other side and put their lives back together, but not always. More than three women are murdered by their husbands or boyfriends every day, and those that are abused are nine times as likely to commit suicide. Statistics like this mean it’s important not to shy away from talking about domestic violence. Being a victim is nothing to be ashamed about; being the perpetrator is.
10. Diane Lane
Image: Josh Wood
In 2004, actress Diane Lane was alleged to have been the victim of domestic abuse after accusing her husband John Brolin of attacking her. However, she later dropped the charges against him. She had phoned police claiming he hit her during an argument at their Los Angeles home and Brolin was arrested that night for spousal battery. At the time, their spokeswomen said: “There was a misunderstanding at their home… she did not want to press charges… they are embarrassed the matter went this far.”
9. Bill Clinton
Image: World Economic Forum
It’s testament to a man’s willpower that he can become one of the most powerful men in the world even though he grew up surrounded by domestic violence. When the former U.S. President was just 8 years old his mother married Roger Clinton, a car dealer from Arkansas and also an alcoholic. Life wasn’t all rosy for the young Bill, and was – according to his autobiography – frequently marred by his stepfather’s violent outbursts. It’s said that, at the age of 15, Bill warned Roger never to hit his mother or half-brother ever again. In a later interview with Time magazine, Clinton recalled what a dramatic moment standing up to him had been.
8. Halle Berry
Oscar-winning actress Halle Berry is a fierce campaigner against domestic violence, having seen it firsthand. In 2004 she admitted to having been hit so hard by one of her ex-boyfriends that she lost the hearing in her right ear. Berry has never disclosed the identity of her attacker. She recently revealed that her mother was also the victim of domestic abuse, so when it happened to her, the actress knew it was time to get out of the relationship.
Image: David Shankbone
Madonna still describes Sean Penn as the love of her life, even though he was charged with domestic violence in 1988. He pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor and a year later they were divorced. Madonna and Penn met in ’85 and were married soon afterward. During their short marriage Sean Penn was alleged to have had frequent violent outbursts both towards his wife and towards others.
6. Mariah Carey
Image: Ricardo Alvarez
She has hinted about her suffering a few times in the past, but in 2009 Mariah Carey came out and admitted she had been the victim of emotional and mental abuse. The mega-star was promoting a film which touches on the subject and said domestic abuse was not a new thing to her. Carey married music mogul Tommy Mottola in 1993; they divorced 5 years later. The singer told Larry King: “Abuse has several categories… emotionally, mentally, in other ways. It’s scary. I just think you get into a situation and you feel locked in… For me to really get out of it was difficult because there was a connection that was not only a marriage, but a business where the person was in control of my life.”
Image: Gemma Mary
R&B star Rihanna has spoken publicly about the abuse she suffered from her ex-boyfriend. The singer was allegedly assaulted by Chris Brown and had visible bruises on her face. Brown handed himself in to police and issued a statement saying he was “sorry and saddened” and was seeking counseling. It turns out that Brown may have been subjected to violence himself after it was revealed his mother had been physically abused by his stepfather.
4. Bobby Brown and Whitney Houston
Their turbulent relationship is well documented, but even though the rumors were that Bobby used to hit Whitney, she actually claimed it was the other way round. In an interview with the Associated Press over 10 years ago, the singing star said: “Contrary to belief, I do the hitting, he doesn’t. He has never put his hands on me. We are crazy for one another. I mean crazy in love, love, love, love, love. When we’re fighting, it’s like that’s love for us. We’re fighting for our love.” Brown, however, was later arrested in 2003 for misdemeanor battery, several years after Whitney said this. The pair eventually divorced after 15 years of marriage in 2007.
3. Pamela Anderson
Image: US Navy
The Baywatch star married drummer Tommy Lee in 1995, after knowing him for just four days. Their stormy marriage lasted just 3 years, and in that time the Mötley Crüe member served 4 months in jail for domestic abuse against Anderson. It’s reported that during this incident Lee kicked pin-up girl Pamela while she was holding their son Dylan. But even though Anderson had helped to convict Lee, she was waiting for him when he came out and the pair briefly reconciled. Now, though, they’ve gone their separate ways.
2. Phil Hartman
Image: Paul Hartmann
Unlike most of the other examples here Phil Hartman did not live to tell the tale. The former Saturday Night Live star was murdered by his wife – shot in the head, neck and arm as he lay sleeping in their LA home in 1998. Phil and Brynn Hartman’s 11-year marriage had been described as stormy. On the night it happened (May 28th) Brynn had been out drinking and also had traces of cocaine in her system. After killing her husband she drove to a friend’s house and said: “I shot Phil.” The friend didn’t believe her and they both returned to the marital home the next morning. After the police were called, Brynn then shot herself.
1. Tina Turner
Image: Helge Overas
Tina’s violent marriage with Ike Turner is well known, largely thanks to the film based on her life, What’s Love Got To Do With It. In the film the singer suffered severe beatings, was raped and had cigarettes stubbed out on her body. Her husband Ike is portrayed as a violent, controlling sociopath, and when Tina’s autobiography was published Ike actually admitted that the book was largely accurate. The pair were married for 16 years before Tina had the courage to leave. Ike is now dead.