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Jana Kramer Gets Choked Up Discussing Past Abuse and Getting Triggered Filming ‘Gaslit by My Husband’ (Exclusive)

Jana Kramer got emotional while looking back on her experience in an abusive relationship.

“I feel sad for the version of myself that I was, that I would accept someone to put their hands on me,” Kramer, 40, exclusively told Us Weekly on Tuesday, June 4, while getting choked up. The singer added that she feels “sad” for survivors that are “trapped” in feelings of shame.

“I wouldn’t say it’s so much shame anymore [that I feel], I just feel sad,” she explained.

Kramer’s ex-husband Michael Gambino, whom she was married to for less than one year in 2004, was convicted on attempted murder charges in 2005 after subjecting Kramer to severe domestic abuse. He was sentenced to six years in prison and later died in 2012.

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Years after escaping the harrowing abuse, Kramer is bringing awareness to domestic violence by starring in the upcoming Lifetime movie Gaslit by My Husband: The Morgan Metzer Story.

The film, which premieres Sunday, June 9, on Lifetime, tells the true story of Morgan Metzer, who was beaten and sexually assaulted by a masked intruder in 2021. Her ex-husband, Rodney Metzer, pretended to come to her rescue after the attack, but he was later identified as the assailant. Rodney pleaded guilty to charges including kidnapping and aggravated assault and was sentenced to 25 years in prison in 2021.

Jana Kramer Got Triggered on Set of Gaslit By My Husband Gets Emotional About Past Abuse
Jana Kramer Jason Davis/Getty Images

“When Lifetime reached out about this story and I read it, I mean, it was chilling,” Kramer told Us, adding that she spoke to Morgan before portraying her on screen.

“I was nervous to talk to her just because I am telling her story and I wanted to be respectful of her story and tell her story how it happened,” she said. “She was familiar with my domestic abuse background, [and] where we got to in the end was we both were doing it because we wanted to shed light on this topic and what’s going on. And she was gracious to share her story, but we all know that it’s a lot of women’s stories that we’re telling. I love Morgan, she’s a very strong woman.”

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Although Kramer felt a strong desire to give a voice to survivors with the Lifetime film, she admitted that shooting Gaslit by My Husband was triggering at times.

“It was hard,” she recalled. “I mean, we had a moment on set where we had to cut because I had a complete panic attack because [my costar] Austin [Nichols] was on top of me. I couldn’t breathe. And that just triggered me right back to my abuse situation.”

The actress added that she kept in close contact with her therapist during the filming process as the role brought back difficult memories.

“There [were] a few times where I was triggered waking up feeling my arms bruised again,” she said. “Austin didn’t mean to bruise me or hurt me, but when we’re in the scene, I’m like, ‘Go for it.’ … But waking up, it’s like, ‘Wait, why do I have bruise marks on my arms?’ And it’s like, ‘No, no, no, no. That’s the past. You’re playing this part.’ But I did have to kind of remind myself where I was at in reality.”

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Given the film’s difficult subject matter, it helped that Nichols, 44, who played Rodney, is a friend of Kramer’s and a fellow One Tree Hill alum.

“There was no one else I could have done this role with, because even that moment having that panic attack on set and having to essentially run outside, knowing he was there, [I felt like], ‘OK, he’s a safe person for me,’” she said, calling Nichols an “incredible friend.”

After divorcing Gambino, Kramer was married to Johnathon Schaech from 2010 to 2011 and to Mike Caussin, with whom she shares daughter Jolie, 7, and son Jace, 4, from 2015 to 2021. She and fiancé Allan Russell, who confirmed their engagement in May 2023, welcomed son Roman in November 2023.

Gaslit by My Husband: The Morgan Metzer Story premieres on Lifetime Sunday, June 9, at 8 p.m. ET.

If you or someone you know are experiencing domestic violence, please call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 for confidential support.

With reporting by Christina Garibaldi

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