Dancing with the Stars contestant Jana Kramer has been vocal about the issues that have triggered her separation from current husband Mike Caussin. Now she's opening up about the painful experience of her first marriage. In an interview with People, the country singer reveals that her first husband, the late Michael Gambino, was abusive. Gambino died of suicide in 2012, two years after being released from prison. Kramer tells the magazine that she first saw Gambino, 17 years her senior, as "protective." He soon became violent, however. "He’d come home at 3 o’clock in the morning and pick me up out of bed, throw me onto the ground, and start yelling and hitting,” she shares. “Then the next morning he’d be like, ‘Hey, baby,’ as if nothing had happened.” The former One Tree Hill star says she hid her bruises with makeup and didn't confide in her loved ones about the abuse, which she claims included being choked and threatened. “When I said, ‘I can’t do this anymore’ he sent me a photo of my dogs on the freeway and said, ‘I’m going to let them go if you don’t come home,'" she says of one incident. “He’d kick me out of the house, I’d sleep in the car, and then that next morning I’d be with him in bed again.” On August 6, 2005, Gambino choked Kramer to the point of unconsciousness, leaving her bleeding outside their home. “I remember praying that night, ‘Please, just take me away, I don’t want to be here anymore,'" she says. Gambino was later sentenced to six years in prison on charges of attempted murder. Kramer went on to marry actor Johnathon Schaech in 2010 (they divorced in 2011), and is currently separated from NFL star Caussin, whom she wed in 2015.
If you are experiencing domestic violence, please call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 or TTY 1-800-787-3224 for confidential support.