Chrissy Metz has inspired millions through her role as Kate on This Is Us. Her strength and resilience as she battles heartbreaking loss and unrealistic body expectations, even in the toughest of times, has helped people realize that they're not alone in their struggles. But, it's important for fans to know that she wasn't always the confident woman she is now.
Metz, who appears on this week's cover of People, shared a harrowing excerpt from her new memoir, This Is Me with the magazine. In it, she shared that she grew up in a poor household and witnessed her mother go through painful divorces and breakups. Eventually, her mother married a man she referred to as Trigger, whom she claimed emotionally and physically abused her as a child because of her weight.
"My body seemed to offend him, but he couldn't help but stare, especially when I was eating," she wrote, according to an excerpt obtained by People. "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."
Ultimately, Metz said that she started to hide her eating, grabbing snacks like cookies and chips and eating them "as fast as possible to avoid detection" in the restroom. These, she wrote, were the moments that gave her "the brief bliss of numbness."
Soon, her stepfather started to physically assault her.
"I don't remember why Trigger hit me the first time," she wrote. "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."
The abuse would later become worse when he forced Metz to weigh herself in front of him when she was just 14.
"He sat in a chair next to the scale as I got on. 'Good God almighty!' he yelled every single time," she recalled. "The number then was about 140 or 130. Most of my friends weighed about ninety pounds. 'Why are you getting fatter?' he demanded. I look at pictures of me from that time, and I would be so fine with being that size now. But I thought I was gigantic. By then the beating had escalated. One time he hit me, and I looked right in his face. If I had a gun, I thought, I would shoot you."
Over time, Metz said that she and Trigger have made peace and even have a functioning relationship. Despite all of the years of abuse, she believes she's become a much stronger, empathetic person who is genuinely happy with who she is and how she looks.
"We all go through stuff," she told People. "But I truly believe that everything that happened to me, happened for me. [I've learned] some beautiful lessons."
Metz has been honest about her relationship with her body in the past, and it's a journey she's relieved on screen for This Is Us as her character, both young and adult, struggles to find her confidence and a sense of self-worth. Her inspirational storyline that, thankfully, avoids fat-shaming has shown fans that all people are capable of love, pain, hurt, and happiness. It's so great to know that Metz has found that to be true IRL, as well.
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.