One in three women have been victims of physical violence at the hand of the person they're with. Nearly 700,000 children are abused per year in the United States, and 80% of those kids suffer at the hands of their parents. These stats are staggering, and they do not discriminate.
People often think that abuse is restricted only to lower class families, or people who are considered "lowlifes," but the reality is that anyone can suffer from domestic abuse at any time, regardless of class or wealth.
Though we often see celebrities as people with "perfect" lives, there are too many who have also suffered from domestic abuse. Some of their stories are well-known, while others are low-profile about their past.
These celebrities have all experienced, and triumphed over, domestic abuse in their lifetime, either at the hands of a former partner or a family member.
1. Christina Aguilera
The pop sensation was beaten often by her father at a young age. She and her mother were both abused, and her mom has often been outspoken about the damage it caused. When Christina was four years old, her mom found her with blood dripping from her face. The singer spoke about her childhood in 2007 with Glamour magazine.
"I work very closely with a shelter near Pittsburgh," she said. "One day I hope to open a shelter of my own. I think it's really important to share my own story with women who've been abused, because going through that experience has lead me to where I am today: It's given me the strength and motivation to be the best that I can be."
2. NeNe Leakes
Though she may put up a strong front when she's on Real Housewives of Atlanta, Leakes was once a vulnerable woman in an abusive relationship. She spoke about how her son Bryson's father would often abuse her.
"The first person to really say ‘I love you’ a lot became my abuser," she said. "He hit me and then later on he would say ‘I love you’ and I thought that this must be what love is."
At one point, he held Leakes at gunpoint, and that's when she knew she had to leave.
"I cannot do this any longer for the sake of me and my child," she realized.
3. Charlize Theron
When Theron was growing up, she lived with her abusive and alcoholic father in South Africa. One night when she was 15 years old, her dad came home drunk and began threatening her mom with a gun. He shot at her, which prompted Theron's mom to grab the gun and shoot back, killing her husband. It was deemed self-defense, and Theron says it was a defining moment in her life.
"I survived that, and I'm proud of that," Theron said. "I've worked hard for that, too. And I am not scared of that. I am not fearful of the darkness. If anything, I am intrigued by it, because I think it explains human nature and people better."