Warning: this post contains mentions of emotional and psychological abuse.
Anna Kendrick is opening up about her experience with a toxic ex-boyfriend, including the fact that they had been on a fertility journey together. “I was with someone — this was somebody I lived with, for all intents and purposes, my husband. We had embryos together; this was my person,” Kendrick told Dax Shepard during an episode of his “Armchair Expert” podcast released on Jan. 9.
“And then, about six years in, somewhere around there, I remember telling my brother, when things had first kind of gone down, ‘I’m living with a stranger. Like, I don’t know what’s happening,'” the “Pitch Perfect” actor went on to say. “It wasn’t just the ‘Oh, I’m losing a relationship.’ It was that I believed that if we broke up or, you know, if he left basically, it was a confirmation that it’s because I’m impossible, I’m lucky that he’s even tolerating my bullsh*t.”
This isn’t the first time Kendrick has gotten vulnerable about her past relationship.
When she took on the lead role in Mary Nighy’s “Alice, Darling” (in theaters now) — a story about a woman trapped in an emotionally abusive relationship with her successful boyfriend, Simon (Charlie Carrick) — the 37-year-old said the character resonated with her on a personal level after what she referred to as a recent experience with an emotionally and psychologically abusive partner.
“The movie was so personal, there was a point where I was like, ‘Oh, I don’t know if this is too soon to be doing this role,'” Kendrick said in a Dec. 19 interview on “The Kelly Clarkson Show.” She said she had six months with the script to grapple with her feelings before filming started. And, in the end, “the process of making the move was really healing,” she said. That’s no small feat, especially considering Kendrick said she was in a situation where she “loved and trusted this person more than I trusted myself.”
“When that person is telling you that you have a distorted sense of reality and that you are impossible and that all the stuff that you think is going on is not going on, your life gets really confusing really quickly,” she told People in September 2022. But Kendrick found out that her initial instincts had been correct after all, which she describes as giving her “this kind of springboard for feeling and recovery that a lot of people don’t get.”
“It kind of helped me normalize and minimize what was happening to me, because I thought, ‘Well, if I was in an abusive relationship, it would look like that.'”
While Kendrick declined to name the person she was referring to, she said that reading the “Alice, Darling” script helped her put a name to her experience — something she’d been unable to do during the course of the relationship. “It felt really distinct in that I had, frankly, seen a lot of movies about abusive or toxic relationships, and it didn’t really look like what was happening to me,” she says. “It kind of helped me normalize and minimize what was happening to me, because I thought, ‘Well, if I was in an abusive relationship, it would look like that.'”
While the movie focuses on an abusive relationship, the actress also added that it also touches on the power of friendship — something that helped her recover from her own tumultuous relationship. “That’s how I got out and how I started my recovery,” Kendrick told Clarkson.
For the star, coming across the “Alice, Darling” script at such a pivotal moment in her life was surprising. “My body still believes that it was my fault,” she told People, adding that digesting what really happened to her has been the “hardest task” of her adult life: “It’s incredible the way that recovery has been so challenging.”
Still, Kendrick told People she’s grateful for the relationships she’s since built during her time on the “Alice, Darling” set. “Like so many things in life, I think the piece that was most therapeutic was actually building relationships with these collaborators and sharing our personal histories with each other, and then creating this thing together.” Sharing such a painful personal experience isn’t easy, but Kendrick hopes that the film will help others who are or have been in similar situations see that they do not have to suffer alone.
If you or a loved one are experiencing domestic abuse or are at risk, the National Domestic Violence Hotline has several resources and a 24/7 help line at 1-800-799-7233.