Evan Rachel Wood is opening up about her experience being “publicly gaslit” for coming forward with abuse allegations against Marilyn Manson.
On a new episode of Jameela Jamil’s podcast “I Weigh,” the actor dived deep into the “re-traumatizing” but necessary process of being involved in a sexual abuse investigation.
Manson (real name Brian Hugh Warner) and Wood were publicly in a relationship from 2006 to 2010, and Wood named Manson as her alleged abuser in February 2021. Soon after, the Los Angeles Police Department announced that Manson was under investigation for domestic violence. Wood has recently released a documentary on HBO, “Phoenix Rising,” which follows her journey to pass the Phoenix Act — a bill that extends the statute of limitations in domestic violence — in the California senate. In conversation with Jamil, Wood detailed her experience of being questioned about the alleged abuse.
“After being involved in a large investigation like the one I’m involved in now, I really started to understand why people pull out of investigations and why victims recount their statements and why they go forward and then pull back,” Wood said. “Because man, it’s no joke having to go through the things that have happened to you in excruciating detail. Questions you’ve never been asked. And to have to go back there over and over again, to be publicly gaslit on a large scale or even a small scale, it’s very, very re-traumatizing.”
Wood continued, “I sit here knowing I’m not lying, knowing I’m telling the truth, but people make you feel crazy. So I have to sit there and meditate and go through the things that have happened to me and go, ‘Did this happen to you? Yes. Did this happen? Yes.’ And I go through the details and replay them in my head just so no one can take my truth away from me, because they try, they really try to break you down.”
Manson has vehemently denied all allegations of sexual assault and abuse. In March, he filed a defamation lawsuit against Wood and her partner Ilma Gore, claiming they have “publicly cast” him as a “rapist and abuser — a malicious falsehood that has derailed Warner’s successful music, TV and film career.” In response to the claims made by Wood in “Phoenix Rising,” Manson’s lawyer issued the following statement: “As we detailed in our lawsuit, nothing that Evan Rachel Wood, Illma Gore or their hand-picked co-conspirators have said on this matter can be trusted. This is just more of the same. But, then again, what else would you expect from a group who have spread falsehood after falsehood about Brian and even went as far as to forge an FBI letter to further their phony claims?”
In the podcast, Wood also discussed in depth what it was like to finally be free of the relationship. “I was so happy to be out that I just shoved it all down and wanted to forget that it even happened, because the last thing you want to do when you’re finally out of a nightmare is to sit there and study it and relive it for years,” Wood said.” I was like, I just want to go hang out with my friends, I want to go to Disneyland, I want to dance, I want joy again.”
Wood said she initially didn’t intend to come forward with her allegations, but her next relationship made her realize that she had to say something for the sake of her own mental and physical health — and to truly move forward.
“I thought I was going to go to my grave with everything that had happened, and I also had not been out long enough to see through all the gaslighting and manipulation and the grooming that had happened. I really internalized the things that people had projected onto me like, ‘She’s fucking crazy, what is she doing, what’s wrong with her?’ … I thought I deserved it,” Wood said on the podcast. “I then took that with me into my next relationship, where I felt completely unworthy. I was lucky to have someone take me back after I had been so awful. I didn’t realize I had so much work to do until I tried to have another relationship. I realized intimacy was really hard, I would just close my eyes and disconnect… chronic pain all over my body, I felt 80 years old. I would wake up screaming, or I would have these crazy night terrors or I couldn’t sleep.”
Wood’s episode on “I Weigh” marked the two-year anniversary of Jamil’s podcast from Stitcher’s Earwolf, which has also hosted guests like Gloria Steinem, Roxane Gay, Jane Fonda, Debra Messing and Reese Witherspoon.
Listen to the full podcast episode below.
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