Staying strong. Jana Kramer opened up about surviving an abusive relationship from her past — and how far she’s come along the way.
“I don’t remember the excuses that I told people when I flew home to escape my abuser about the cuts and scrapes on my shoulder and arms, or why my ribs were hurting, Kramer, 38, wrote via Instagram on Saturday, October 1, alongside a throwback photo of herself and her mother, Noah Kramer. “But when I look at this photo … I see a broken girl who was weeks prior pinned to the ground while the man that ‘loved’ me was strangling me saying that he was going kill me.”
While Kramer didn’t name her alleged abuser, she previously opened up about accusing her first husband, Michel Gambino, of physical and emotional abuse.
The One Tree Hill alum’s message also came with a clip of her 2017 speech at Safe Horizon’s 22nd Annual Champion Awards.
“It started with little comments here and there,” she alleged in her speech at the time, again refusing to name her abuser but confirming that she “married” him. “Then it started with more verbal abuse. And then it started with a push or a shove. And then it became a choke.” She added, “Once my abuser was in jail, I was finally able to be set free.”
Kramer and Gambino met in 2004 and tied the knot after just two weeks of dating. The “Whine Down” podcast host filed for divorce less than a year later. Gambino was eventually convicted of premeditated attempted murder. After he served five years in prison and was released on parole in 2010, the country crooner said she lived in fear until her ex died by suicide in 2012.
“I felt bad because my first feeling was relief that he was gone, that I didn’t have to worry about him anymore,” the “I Got the Boy” singer explained during an appearance on Good Morning America in 2014 about her relationship with Gambino. “I felt sad that I couldn’t change his life.”
In Saturday’s Instagram post, the Michigan native recalled feeling “so full of shame” and “like I had no one,” thinking that “no one would believe her” if she came forward.
“To be honest it’s been a journey and one I’m still trying to walk through knowing that wasn’t the last abusive relationship,” she claimed. “One of the hardest rocks I threw into the stream [was] ‘I deserve abuse’ because for so long that’s what I thought. I held onto that for years thinking that was true. That’s what I was made to believe.”
The Entourage alum added that she speaks out to “help others and to hopefully help at least one person who is reading this to talk to someone,” noting that “no one” deserves abuse.
“Physically, sexually, mentally, verbally, financially, emotionally abusive relationships etc. THAT IS ALL ABUSE,” she shared. “There are people who want to be there for you. That are there for you. Please don’t wait until you lose your breath.”
Kramer married Johnathon Schaech in July 2010, but they separated a month later. The divorce was finalized in June 2011. She then got engaged to country singer Brantley Gilbert, but they split in August 2013.
In May 2015, the entertainer wed Mike Caussin. The couple welcomed the first child, daughter Jolie, in January 2016 and a son, Jace, two years later. The pair called it quits for good in 2021 after the former NFL star, 35, admitted to cheating on Kramer with multiple women. In 2019, the athlete revealed that he had a sex addiction. The “Why Ya Wanna” artist has also been linked to Scott Eastwood, Jay Cutler, Ian Schinelli and Gleb Savchenko.