Christina Milian's relationship drama has made headlines for years, but none of it compares to the trauma she enduring as a teenager in an abusive relationship.
The reality star opened up about her experience with domestic violence for the first time on the latest episode of her E! reality series, Christina Milian Turned Up, revealing that she was once in an abusive relationship with an ex-boyfriend who put a gun to her head.
Milian told her story in two separate scenes on Tuesday night’s episode in the midst of promoting an app called Stop Attack, which helps victims of domestic violence: the first time in a conversation with her mom, Carmen, about the Stop Attack app, which allows users to create a five-person contact list that’s alerted in case of emergencies.
While speaking to her mom, Milian recalls being in the gas station trying to call 911 while her boyfriend was grabbing her by the hair. The incident occurred when she was 17, two years before she signed with Def Jam and rose to fame. The trauma is clearly still fresh for both Milian and her mom, who sobbed while recalling how her daughter frequently covered up bruises to hide the marks from her then boyfriend.
“I remember he instilled that fear in you that if you left him he would hurt us. And because of that, you stayed in it, but, like, literally to the point that, you know, you almost lost your life,” says Carmen. “It was so hard to deal with you being like that and you just kept staying. [For] a mother to sit there and think that any day I was gonna get that phone call that you were gone.”
In a separate scene, Milian goes into more detail about the abuse with author/journalist Tanya Williams, never naming her ex. “This is a personal moment for me because I’ve never opened up to anybody about being in that relationship,” says Milian.
She continues, “I was 17 going into 18 and I met a boy. And he had this sarcasm about him that I just thought was super funny. But that sarcasm turned out to be something a little bit more dark and I had no idea what I was getting myself into... He started to get in my head, like slowly, little bit by bit. So it was definitely very mental where it was like, I’m gonna break you down. I’m gonna make you feel bad about anything you’ve ever done. There’s nobody you could trust but me. And on top of that there’s nothing you can get away with without me knowing.”
Later, speaking to camera, Milian reflects, “When you’re in an abusive relationship, you’re fighting for your life every day. It’s not just one moment. You’re fighting for whatever you can, grabbing whatever you can.”
The scariest detail comes when Milian talks about the time her ex played Russian roulette with a gun to her head. “He literally put a bullet in the gun and he pointed it at my head,” she tells Williams, crying.
“Staring down the barrel of a gun is the scariest thing you could ever experience,” she adds. “It’s not funny, it’s not for the movies. There’s a chance of life or death in one click. That’s it.”
When asked how she ended up leaving the abuser, Milian says she “woke up one day and realized that my family was just trying to help me. And gave myself the courage and the strength to not call him and invite him back into my life.”
Watch Tina talk to Queen Latifah about why she wanted to do a reality show in the first place. No doubt, moments like this and their power to help others dealing with abuse is part of it:
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(Photo: Mark Davis/Getty Images)