Jana Kramer is making magic on the dance floor on Dancing With the Stars, but the country music star has lived through a nightmare. Kramer opened up on this week’s DWTS Most Memorable Year night to pay homage to the year 2016, the year her baby daughter, Jolie, was born. But the joy of Jolie’s arrival came after Jana endured years of horrific abuse from her ex-husband, Michael Gambino. In addition, Jana is dealing with the recent news that her current husband, Mike Caussin, has been unfaithful.
In an interview with ABC News for Good Morning America, Jana went into detail about the years of abuse she suffered during her first marriage to Gambino, whom she married when she was just 19 years old. After years of altercations, which also included verbal and mental abuse that was even worse than the physical, Kramer described the final attack during which Gambino came home drunk and threatened to kill her.
“This happened a lot. He would come home from a night out at the club, and literally take me out of my bed and throw me onto the ground,” Kramer told GMA. “He said he was gonna kill me, choked me, did all those things, and I was like, ‘This is it.'”
Jana ended up hiding in the bushes when she thought her husband was gone, and she prayed to her late grandfather to take her to a happier place. When her enraged husband returned home he began to choke her until she was unconscious.
“I remember seeing my grandpa,” Jana said of what went through her mind during the attack. “‘OK… I’m free. I can go.’ And that’s the last thing I remember.”
Kramer miraculously survived, but the incident was the last straw in the abusive marriage. While Gambino was convicted of attempted murder and served five years in prison, two years after he was released on parole he committed suicide.
“I felt bad because my first feeling was relief that he was gone,” Kramer said of learning of her ex’s death. “That I didn’t have to worry about him anymore.”
Jana said she still suffers from panic attacks and PTSD and is afraid to be home alone.
Jana Kramer’s next attempt at marriage, to actor Johnathon Schaech, was short-lived (they announced their separation after one month of marriage), but when she married former NFL player Michael Caussin in 2015, she thought she had found the real deal.
After Jana gave birth to Jolie in January, she wrote about their life together.
“The constant variable in all of this has been Mike,” Jana wrote. “He has been insanely caring, reliable, and to see him with our daughter makes me melt. I can’t wait to see the relationship they build and for him to show her how a man should treat a woman.”
Sadly, right before she signed on to DWTS, Kramer discovered that Caussin had been unfaithful to her with multiple women. Caussin has apologized to Jana and is seeking treatment, but she is unsure what the future holds for them.
“I appreciate the apology because… it has been heartbreaking,” Kramer said.
According to Us Weekly, Caussin entered a rehab facility in Mississippi for sex addiction, while Kramer continues to focus on dancing and caring for their daughter.
“He is doing all the work that he’s supposed to be doing right now,” Kramer said of her estranged husband. “I don’t know what the future looks like…I am so much stronger than I ever thought was possible. I am worthy of a great love.”
Jana Kramer continues to wear her wedding ring, but that doesn’t mean she plans to reconcile with Caussin. Jana said that for now she is married to her daughter, and that is what the ring symbolizes.
Take a look at the video below to see Jana Kramer’s Dancing With the Stars tribute to her daughter.
[Featured Image by Michael Loccisano/Getty Images]