There's a reason why celebrities have a public relations teams. They need to keep up appearances while in public, even if everything else in their life isn't going well.
Just because our favorite stars are rich, powerful, and famous doesn't mean that they do not experience pain or that they haven't lived through tragedy.
Celebrities are human after all, and many of them have had to endure hardships before the fame.
In the past, celebrities rarely discussed topics like domestic abuse and sexual assault publicly, as they were considered taboo.
Nowadays, more and more of them are willing to open up about their ugly pasts to help end the stigma, raise awareness, and let those who have been in similar situations know that they are not alone.
Take Patrick Stewart for example.
"...an angry, disappointed and ill man came back and quickly our lives became quite difficult."
The Star Trek actor recently appeared on the British television talk show Loose Women, and candidly discussed aspects of his childhood that many of his fans may not have known about.
His father, Alfred, was abusive and an alcoholic, but the actor did not know any of this until he was around five years old.
Patrick who was born in 1940, only met Alfred after he returned from fighting in the Second World War, and he was in for a huge shock.
"It had been idyllic living with my mother and brother,” Patrick recalled. "Then an angry, disappointed and ill man came back and quickly our lives became quite difficult.”
The family struggled to make ends meet, so Alfred found work as a laborer. However, he would spend a good chunk of his pay at the bar on the weekends, and come home heavily intoxicated.
Although he never laid a hand on Patrick and his brothers, he would beat up his wife, Gladys.
"We became experts in something children should never ever have to deal with, which was listening to the argument and judging when the moment arrived when the argument would transform into violence," he explained. "And at those moments, we would go in, and all we could do really was try and put our our bodies between our mother and father."
Even as a young boy, the distinguished actor said that would he step up whenever his father attacked his mother because he was afraid people would judge him if he remained a bystander.
"One of the problems of domestic violence is that shame attached to it," he said. "For everybody, for the victim, and the abuser, and the children, too."
Patrick later realized that his father suffered from a form of PTSD known as combat fatigue, but it was never diagnosed or treated.
While the X-Men actor's interview on the daytime gives us a better understanding of his traumatic childhood, it's not the first time he has opened up about his traumatic childhood.
In 2009, he penned a revealing column for the Guardian in which he talked about how domestic violence shaped the adult he is today.
“He was an angry, unhappy and frustrated man who was not able to control his emotions or his hands,” he wrote. “Such experiences are destructive. In my adult life I have struggled to overcome the bad lessons of my father’s behavior, this corrosive example of male irresponsibility.”
Ending the violence
Patrick wasn't able to get help, but thanks to his English teacher, Cecil Dormand, he developed a love for acting and was able to escape his reality, even if it's just temporary.
Still, as he got older, he realized that his father still had a strong influence on his life, including his work, political and ideological beliefs.
"My father was a very potent individual, a very powerful man, who got what he wanted. It was said that when he strode onto the parade ground, birds stopped singing," Patrick said in a 2008 interview.
"It was many, many years before I realized how my father inserted himself into my work. I've grown a mustache for Macbeth. My father didn't have one, but when I looked in the mirror just before I went on stage I saw my father's face staring straight back at me."
After Patrick and his brothers left home, there was no one left to protect their mother, and convincing her to leave Alfred did not work.
That’s common for victims, to love the perpetrator. “She got very little support. Back then, there were no places to go, no charities or helplines.”
This is why he has made it his mission to help victims of domestic abuse in anyway he can.
He is currently supporting a UK bill that would people people stuck in the vicious cycle of abuse like he once was. He has been encouraging people to reach out for help because that's the only way the torment will stop.
"Unlike my time, there is aid available now," he said. "There are 24-hour help lines. Call one — you need not be alone."
Patrick isn't alone in his fight against domestic violence.
Celebrities against domestic abuse
Actress Charlize Theron has been supporting the same cause for a few years now, as she too has lived through a nightmare.
Up until the age of 15, the Mighty Joe Young actress lived in South Africa with an alcoholic father, Charles, who was abusive to her and her mother, Gerda.
He came home drunk on night, brandished a gun, and threatened to kill his wife. Luckily, Gerda was able to grab the firearm from him and shoot back.
He ended up dying, but since it was ruled as self-defense, the case never went to trial and Gerda never did time.
As a young girl, Charlize never wanted to speak of the tragic events that transpired that night.
"I said my dad died in a car accident," she explained. "Who wants to tell that story? Nobody wants to tell that story."
However, as she got older, she decided to be more honest about her story. She is now using it to raise awareness for an issue that affects one in three women in the United States.
In 2009, Charlize was nominated as a United Nations Messenger of Peace, and she's been using her platform to bring focus to HIV prevention as well as violence against women.
If you or someone you know is affected by domestic violence, it's important to know that you are not alone. If you aren't able to talk to a friend or family member, there is outside help available to you.
You can visit the National Domestic Violence Hotline website, or call the hotline at 1-800-799-7233.
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