Blake Jenner Breaks Silence on Melissa Benoist’s Domestic Violence Claims
Blake Jenner addressed ex-wife Melissa Benoist’s accusations of domestic violence.
The actor claimed that he also experienced abuse during their time together.
Jenner said via Instagram that in the time since Melissa came forward, he’s reflected on their time together, saying that he stayed silent “out of shame and fear.”
“But I know this is something that needs to be addressed, not just publicly, but also privately with the individual directly affected and with myself,” he said.
He explained that his marriage to Benoist was filled with “moments of jealousy, bouts of insecurity, and volatility,” which he alleged was the result of broken childhoods.
Jenner added that even though he wanted to divorce Melissa, he stayed with her out of obligation.
“Even in those moments where I was determined to leave because it would have been the healthier choice, I felt as though I couldn’t leave when someone I loved was asking me to stay. It was a relationship with a foundation rooted in co-dependency, which had dire consequences,” Jenner wrote in the lengthy statement.
Blake said he takes “full responsibility and accountability” for being “emotionally, mentally and yes, physically” abusive towards his former Glee co-star.
He revealed he threw his phone at Melissa, but said that it was done so “in a moment of frustration,” and that he did did so “aimlessly.”
“I froze in a state of shock and horror as my then-partner screamed in anguish, her eye immediately swollen shut from the impact of the phone,” he recalled.
“It’s a moment that I will regret for the rest of my life. She sat there crying and I can only imagine the pain, fear, and shame she must have felt in that moment. If I could do anything to take it back, I would.”
“However, as hard as it has been to come to terms with it and as hard as it is for me to even describe that moment in detail now, whatever the intention may have been I am responsible for the pain that I caused her in that moment and beyond. And it is something I am still working on forgiving myself for.”
Jenner said that he found it important to tell his side of the story because Benoist allegedly “inflicted” pain on him.
“I also do believe that when allegations and information are brought forth about someone, that accountability goes both ways and one has a right to defend oneself when deemed necessary.”
The What/If actor said “there was mental, emotional and physical abuse inflicted from both ends,” adding that he and Melissa spoke with a therapist to help end the “toxic cycle” they were stuck in.
Blake also blamed Melissa for the “mental and emotional abuse.”
“I was made to pass on numerous jobs and opportunities because of jealousy of perspective [sic] female co-stars. I was discouraged from and threatened to not develop relationships with and take photos with female co-stars at professional events,” he claimed.
“Threats and derogatory comments were made regarding female colleagues I had worked or was working with,” he continued.
“I was made to feel guilty for working as I received calls from my former partner while I was away, threatening self-harm out of depression and a deep-seated feat [sic] of abandonment.”
Jenner said that Melissa “scratched,” “slapped” and “punched” him on multiple occasions, and that he had to “conceal and make up lies about many visible injuries.”
“I was physically assaulted in the shower, leaving me with a traumatic injury that I do not want to delve into at this time.”
Jenner alleged that there were “discrepancies” in Melissa’s version of events, but said he did not want to speak about them.
“That is the last thing I believe anyone wants.”
“In speaking about my experiences, I wish there was a way to convey that it is truly not my wish to drag her down in any way. This is something that I feel as though many people do not understand: I want her to heal, but I, too want heal—and I chose to believe that the two are not mutually exclusive,” he shared.
“And I think that has probably been one of the most difficult things to navigate because it feels as though my voice no longer matters, Ultimately, however, I want to be the man that I know I can be, extending empathy onto others, and living a life of forgiveness. For others. And for myself.”
“There are many things that I wish I could have done differently; and while I wish it did not take the pain that was suffered throughout the course of our relationship, I will never regress to making the same mistakes ever again,” the actor wrote.
“I will never stop doing the work necessary to better myself in all areas of my life. I wish you and your family nothing but good health, joy and love.”
He concluded, “After nearly four years since we parted ways, I can unequivocally say that I know who I am and know that I have grown and learned from the mistakes I have made throughout a long period of self-examination and work, but very much understand that I can always learn and continually grow; and I know that is not a lone journey.”
Melissa previously opened up about her experience with domestic violence in November 2019, but did not name her abuser.
“The stark truth is I learned what it felt like to be pinned down and slapped repeatedly, punched so hard the wind was knocked out of me, dragged by my hair across pavement, head butted, pinched until my skin broke, shoved into a wall so hard the drywall broke, choked,” she recalled.
“I learned to lock myself in rooms but quickly stopped because the door was inevitably broken down. I learned to not value any of my property—replaceable and irreplaceable. I learned not to value myself.”
She also spoke about the iPhone incident.
“The impact tore my iris, nearly ruptured my eyeball, lacerated my skin and broke my nose. My left eye swelled shut. I had a fat lip… Something inside of me broke, this was too far.”
Paul Dailly is the Associate Editor for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.