Actor Evan Rachel Wood released a statement early Monday morning accusing singer Marilyn Manson of abusing her during the course of their relationship.
“The name of my abuser is Brian Warner, also known to the world as Marilyn Manson,” Wood wrote on Instagram. “He started grooming me when I was a teenager and horrifically abused me for years. I was brainwashed and manipulated into submission.”
She continued: “I am done living in fear of retaliation, slander, or blackmail. I am here to expose this dangerous man and call out the many industries that have enabled him, before he ruins any more lives. I stand with the many victims who will no longer be silent.”
The two began dating in 2006, when Wood was 19 and Manson was 38. The on-again-off-again relationship naturally became a tabloid spectacle: Wood, the pretty blonde Hollywood starlet, and Manson, the reigning weirdo of industrial alt-rock. While speculation of a potentially abusive relationship was relatively scant, it didn’t escape Jezebel’s notice back in 2009 when Manson made a music video in which he violently beats an Evan Rachel Wood lookalike and leaves her bloody body in a bathtub. Earlier that same year, he told Spin, “I have fantasies every day about smashing her skull in with a sledgehammer,” and discussed calling her 158 times after a breakup and cutting himself each time. The couple was on the outs at the time but were engaged by January the following year. They broke off their engagement and split for good in August 2010.
In 2016, Wood told Rolling Stone that she had been raped by a significant other in her twenties, and in 2018, Wood testified before Congress, detailing her experience with sexual assault and abuse:
My experience with domestic violence was this. Toxic mental, physical, and sexual abuse, which started slow, but escalated over time, including threats against my life, severe gaslighting and brainwashing, waking up to the man that claimed to love me raping what he believed to be my unconscious body, and the worst part, sick rituals of binding me up by my hands and feet to be mentally and physically tortured until my abuser felt I had “proven my love for them.”
In this moment, while I was tied up and being beaten and being told unspeakable things, I truly felt like I could die, not just because my abuser said to me, “I could kill you right now.” But because in that moment, I felt like I left my body. I was too afraid to run, he would find me. I was too afraid to fight back, he had threatened to kill me before.
I was too afraid to have him turn on me, I knew what would happen if he got angry.
The aftermath of rape is a huge part of the conversation that needs much more attention, and in this case I can speak from my own experiences. So often we speak of these assaults as no more than a few minutes of awfulness, but the scars last a lifetime. I cannot stress this enough. [...] Even though these experiences happened a decade ago, I still struggle with the aftermath; my relationships suffer, my partners suffer, my mental and physical health suffers.
She went on, describing the frightening physical and mental torture she endured as well as the depression and substance abuse that followed, which included two suicide attempts. Though she did not mention Manson by name in her testimony, the timeline Wood laid out mirrored that of her relationship with Manson.
“I was forever changed by these experiences, not just because of the violation, the loss of ownership over my body, the actual physical pain, but what it meant about the world I called home,” she said. “I don’t often think of how I wish my rapists would be punished, although true justice would be a miracle, but I think of the children they once were. I wonder what must have happened to them, what they were taught, what trauma they endured that led them to these inhumane acts.”
Manson’s reps are reportedly mum for now, but when a video of her testimony recirculated online in 2020, a rep denied that the singer ever abused Wood, insisting that timeline was off (it wasn’t) and that Manson’s friendship with ex-fiance Rose McGowan—“one of the bravest and most outspoken figureheads of the Me Too movement”— somehow negated the possibility that he could abuse Wood.
This, despite the fact that Manson admitted to exhibiting abusive behavior against Wood in an interview with Spin back in 2009 (emphasis ours):
I made the mistake of trying to, desperately, grasp on and save that and own it. And every time I called her that day — I called 158 times — I took a razorblade and I cut myself on my face or on my hands.
I look back and it was a really stupid thing to do. This was intentional, this was a scarification, and this was like a tattoo. I wanted to show her the pain she put me through. It was like, “I want you to physically see what you’ve done.” It sounds made up but it’s completely true and I don’t give a shit if people believe it or not. I’ve got the scars to prove it.
Looks like it’s finally time to quit the bullshitting.