Actor Blake Jenner appears to have responded to his ex-wife Melissa Benoist’s accusations of domestic abuse, saying that he takes “full responsibility and accountability” for the “hurt” he caused during a past relationship.
In November 2019, Benoist shared a 14-minute video on Instagram in which she said that she was a domestic abuse survivor. She did not name her alleged abuser.
The Supergirl star said that the person in question was a “magnanimous person who didn’t really give you a choice not to be drawn to him”, adding that “he could be charming, funny, manipulative, devious”.
Benoist said that while the abuse was not violent at first, it was preceded by “red flags” that “followed a very clear path”.
The 32-year-old recalled one incident when her partner allegedly threw an iPhone at her face, causing her iris to tear. It was at this point that the violence became “significantly worse”, she claimed.
Almost a year later, Benoist’s ex-husband, Jenner, has issued a statement to address domestic abuse claims pertaining to a former relationship of his.
Benoist and Jenner first started dating in 2013. In 2015, it was reported that the couple had married, with Benoist filing for divorce a year later.
Although Jenner does not state the name of his former partner in his statement, he writes that over the past 11 months, he has “been thinking about how to address a personal situation made public in late-2019”.
In the statement, posted to his Instagram, the actor writes: “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."
A post shared by Blake Jenner (@blakedaflake) on Oct 8, 2020 at 12:58pm PDT
Jenner goes on to describe meeting and falling in love with a woman when he was 20 years old, explaining how they bonded over a “shared brokenness from our childhoods”. At the time, Jenner had just begun starring in Glee, which Benoist had a lead role in the cast.
Jenner says that his relationship with his former partner had “a foundation rooted in codependency, which had dire consequences”.
In his statement, Jenner references an incident during which he threw a phone that hit his former partner in the face.
“Two years prior to the end of our relationship, there was a time where my past partner and I were in an argument that escalated, and in a moment of frustration, while I was standing in the hallway and she was in our bedroom, I threw my phone aimlessly and it hit my former partner in her face,” he writes.
“It’s a moment that I will regret for the rest of my life. She sat there crying and I can only imagine the pain, fear, and shame she must have felt in that moment. If I could do anything to take it back, I would," he says.
The actor then goes on to say that there was “mental, emotional, and physical abuse from both ends” in the relationship.
The 28-year-old says that while his comments are not “meant to serve as an excuse”, he believes “that accountability goes both ways and one has a right to defend oneself when deemed necessary”.
Jenner claims that he was “verbally and emotionally abused” by the former partner, in addition to being “scratched”, “slapped” and “punched in the face”, which reportedly resulted in him being treated in hospital for a broken nose.
Jenner extends an apology to anyone who is reading his statement, in addition to victims “of any form of abuse that may have been triggered by our story”.
“I stand with you as a victim myself, I repent for the abuse I inflicted as an aggressor myself, and vow to never retreat to losing who I am every again,” he says.
“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.”
The Independent has contacted the representatives for Jenner and Benoist for comment.
Anyone who requires help or support can contact the National Domestic Violence Helpline which is open 24/7 365 days per year on 0808 2000 247 or via their website www.nationaldomesticviolencehelpline.org.uk