10 years keeping this secret from the world, she finally exposes the truth behind the man that left her bleeding in the driveway of their home.
At just 19 years old, Jana Kramer met the man that would be her future husband: 36-year-old Michael Gambino. They flirted and talked in a coffee shop.
“He was a smooth-talker, very charming, intriguing and obviously older,” Kramer says to People Magazine in a new interview. “At the time, I liked that. I felt protected.”
It wasn’t long after they married that Gambino began to abuse Kramer, forcing her to sleep in her car to avoid his horrifying rages, or hide behind bushes until he regained control of his temper.
She quickly learned to hide the marks of his abuse behind makeup so that her friends and family wouldn’t know what was happening. He often choked her, threatened to harm her pets, and many other unspeakable acts.
But, while he remained a violently abusive husband, Kramer stayed with him. “I was so ashamed.”
“I was like ‘I put myself in this and now I have to figure out how to get out of it, or stay in it and make it better,’” Kramer says looking back on the reason why she stayed. “I literally walked around on eggshells, terrified to tell anybody because I was so ashamed of the situation I had put myself in.”
The rising country star goes on to say that she hopes that her story will help change women’s minds and help them to get out of abusive relationships – no matter how ashamed they feel. She adds that while her past isn’t pretty, she wouldn’t change it for anything because it has allowed her to help other women from awful situations.
The year after they got married, the violent abuse escalated to a new level and Gambino choked Kramer until she became unresponsive and walked away from her limp body as she laid there bleeding in front of their home.
He was sentenced to six years in prison, and killed himself in 2010 just two years after he was released early.
Watch Kramer talk about her battle with abuse in the video below.