Patrick Swayze’s Widow Reveals That He Suffered Abuse At The Hands Of His ‘Violent’ Mother During Childhood

Patrick Swayze at an event.
Kevin Winter / Getty Images

Patrick Swayze’s widow is opening up about the abuse the actor reportedly suffered during his childhood at the hands of his “violent” mother, one part of a complicated relationship between the two that continued until he was an adult.

Lisa Niemi Swayze spoke about the abuse in a new documentary marking the 10th anniversary of the beloved actor’s passing in 2009. As The Daily Mail noted, Lisa shared that Patsy Swayze would violently abuse Patrick during his upbringing in Texas.

“She could be very violent,” Lisa said in the documentary I Am Patrick Swayze, which airs Sunday on the Paramount Network.

As the report noted, Patrick’s mother was a famed dance instructor who ran the Swayze School of Dance, an elite clinic that turned out a number of Broadway stars and professional dancers. But Lisa shared that Patsy was such a perfectionist in her teaching that she could be violent with her own son.

The abuse reportedly continued until Patrick was a young adult, Lisa said in an interview with People magazine, and only stopped when his father intervened.

“Patrick privately recounted the story of his 18th birthday when Patsy was ‘laying into him’ before his father [Jesse] told his wife [Patsy] that he would divorce her if she touched their son again,'” the report noted.

As Lisa said, Patsy Swayze never laid a hand on her son again after that, but the two continued to have a complicated relationship. Despite the alleged abuse, Patsy Swayze was credited with helping her son perfect his dancing skills, which helped him to land one of his best-known roles in Dirty Dancing. As Lisa shared, some people would have folded under the abuse that Patrick suffered, but it instead made him into more of a “fighter” which helped in his career.

“I think she would say, ‘Well, you know, sometimes I could be strict, I’m that kind of a teacher,’ ” Lisa said. “She was a complicated woman, intense and an amazing life force. Patrick absolutely loved and respected her.”

Patrick still maintained a close relationship with his mother after the abuse ended, and that relationship improved as his career took off. The two were still close until the time of his death, the report noted. Patsy Swayze would pass away two years after her son.

Those who want to see the full I Am Patrick Swayze documentary can tune in to the Paramount Network on Sunday, August 18 at 9 p.m. ET.