Debby Ryan is opening up about her abusive relationship, which the Disney star hopes will give others the power to get out of their own troubled relationships.
Ryan, the star of the Disney Channel show Jessie and frontwoman for the band The Never Ending, said her relationship started out seeming normal before taking a scary turn.
“It was a couple years ago, and things were seemingly amazing,” she told People magazine. “Career-wise, they were great, and in general life they were great. But then I was in a friendship – kind of a working relationship – and it ended up becoming more and more destructive, and getting emotionally and mentally abusive.”
The actress said she was not in a romantic relationship with the person in question, but that he became more and more controlling of her life and even prevented her from seeing other friends.
“He chased me out of the room, grabbed me, put me back in the room, and followed me to my car and took my keys,” says Ryan. “I was like, ‘Okay, fine, get in the car, you can come with me.’ He was like, ‘No, you’re going to drive away and leave me here.’ He ended up grabbing my keys and holding on to my wrists and crawling into the passenger side from my driver’s side [so I couldn’t drive away].”
This is not the first time that Debby Ryan has opened up about her abusive relationship. Earlier this month she spoke to Fox411, saying she didn’t even realize at the time how toxic the friendship had become.
“I got to a point of being grabbed, being locked out of rooms, being screamed at, having things thrown at me, cussed at, begged for forgiveness, cried to, all while trying to keep it together and justifying this relationship,” she said. “And that was the point that I realized maybe there was a red flag. What was weird was that I didn’t realize all the unhealthy things — the digital abuse, him demanding my phone passwords, the mental abuse, the manipulation, the emotional abuse.”
Ryan said her breaking point finally came when the friend threw a phone at her.
“He threw his phone at me and it shattered. I ducked and it shattered and… it was insane,” she said. “It was such a heavy situation. I didn’t realize until it got to that point that it didn’t add up and something was wrong. It was crazy. I was so strong in my career at that point. I was shadowing directors and beginning to direct. I had a producing contract. I was heading up my own series.”
Ryan said she was eventually able to escape the relationship, finally leaving when her friend threatened to kill himself if she broke it off.
Debby Ryan is sharing the tale of her abusive relationship as part of the Mary Kay program Love is Respect, which is investing $50 million to raise awareness and help women take steps to escape abuse.
[Image via Jason Merritt/Getty Images]