For two seasons, we’ve watched Chrissy Metz navigate all sorts of drama on This Is Us, but unfortunately, this is something she has had to do in real life too. In her new memoir, This Is Me, Metz reveals that growing up, her stepfather physically and emotionally abused her.
“I’m a tough cookie,” Metz tells People. “But it’s one of those things that attempts to break your spirit.”
In her book, Metz writes about how her father left her family when she was 8 years old, leaving her mother with three children to raise on her own. Her mother later remarried a man Metz refers to as “Trigger” with whom her mother had a baby. And while Trigger clearly loved his biological children, Metz says that he didn’t treat her well, and her mother didn’t see that because she was always at work.
“My body seemed to offend him, but he couldn’t help but stare, especially when I was eating,” Metz writes. “He joked about putting a lock on the refrigerator. We had lived with a lack of food for so long that when it was there, I felt like I had to eat it before it disappeared. Food was my only happiness.”
After that, Metz says she started eating in secret — getting up for a snack in the middle of the night, or sneaking food to eat in the bathroom. Then, the physical abuse started.
“I don’t remember why Trigger hit me the first time,” she writes. “He never punched my face. Just my body, the thing that offended him so much. He shoved me, slapped me, punched my arm. He would hit me if he thought I looked at him wrong. I remember being on the kitchen floor after he knocked me over, and I was begging to know what I did. He just shoved me hard with his foot.”
Metz says that when she was 14, Trigger started to force her to do weigh-ins. He would sit on a chair next to the scale and yell, “Good God almighty!” when she stepped on, demanding to know why she was “getting fatter,” she writes. At that point, his physical abuse had gotten worse.
“One time he hit me, and I looked right in his face. If I had a gun, I thought, I would shoot you,” she writes.
Metz says she felt conflicted, though, because she did love him and wanted him to accept her as part of his family. Eventually, they did build a relationship and she indicates that they are now in a good place. But before that happened, she used comedy as a coping mechanism — then turned that into a career — and says she has no regrets about the life experiences that got her to where she is now.
“We all go through stuff,” Metz writes. “But I truly believe that everything that happened to me, happened for me. [I’ve learned] some beautiful lessons.”