TW: Domestic abuse, abusive relationships
Jennifer Zamparelli has opened up about being in an abusive relationship when she was younger for the first time.
She bravely discussed her relationship, admitting that she was “nervous” to talk about it.
Speaking on her podcast, Jen and Lottie do…Parenting, she confessed it was hard to talk about that time in her life.
“I’m going to say something I’ve never really said before in public,” she began.
“My name is Jennifer Zamparelli, I’m a businesswoman, I’m a presenter – TV and radio, I’m a mother of two, I have the most amazing husband and I’m very happily married. However, I was in an abusive relationship in my younger years.”
She went on to say: “That is the most nervous I’ve ever been in saying something, isn’t that crazy?
“The reason I think you don’t say it is because there is a lot of shame, there’s judgement there, I think, but I have constantly been made aware and been looking at stuff online about the amazing work that Women’s Aid do.
“When I was going through this particular relationship, I was young. My excuse in my head was that I thought I could fix him, I thought he would get better, he would always apologise. But it was a very, very toxic, frightening relationship at times. It was a couple of years.
“It was hard to talk about it because you don’t want to be judged. You don’t want people to go, ‘Why didn’t you leave him?’ Even now it’s hard to talk about because I know some people will be thinking ‘Why didn’t you leave him if it was so bad?’ The thing about it is, when it was good it was really good, the relationship, but when it was bad it was worse s**t.”
She continued: “I convinced myself and I told myself that he would change and that it would get better. I was kind of infatuated with him a little bit. I was young but that’s not an excuse.
“The first time there was physical contact and physical abuse, I was so afraid to tell anybody because I felt so ashamed of letting it get to that stage. I kind of nearly blamed myself in a way.”
She explained that she didn’t tell anyone about the realities of her relationship for a really long time. However, when her partner hit her in front of someone else, she knew she needed to reach out to someone.
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“When I look back at that time and think of what I went through, it’s like looking at a different person. I look back at Jennifer Maguire who was in that relationship and I do think to myself, my God, how did she put up with that? Why did she put up with that?
“I called a friend of mine and I’ll never forget the kindness and the understanding.
“You have to come to that place on your own, thinking I deserve better than this,” she said.
“I remember when he hit me in front of someone else and I was like, this is not going to change. It was finally the realisation this is my life, this is how my life is going to be. I’m twenty-odd, this is what my life is going to be in my 30s and 40s, living in fear, walking on eggshells. Is this how I want my life to be? No.”
She urged anyone listening who felt like they were in a similar situation to reach out to Women’s Aid and get help.
If you have been affected by the issues discussed in this article, you can contact Women’s Aid here or call them on 1800 341 900.