Jana Kramer Says She Stayed With Abusive Ex-Husband Because She Was ‘Ashamed’
After revealing the terrifying details of her first ex-husband's abuse, Jana Kramer continues to open up about the situation she found herself in about a decade ago -- and why she stayed in the marriage as long as she did.
On Wednesday (Oct. 5), People shared Kramer's story about her first marriage, to Michael Gambino, a man who was 17 years her senior and whom Kramer married in 2004 after just two weeks of dating. They’d met at a coffee shop in Los Angeles, Calif., when she was 19 years old, and although he was "a smooth-talker, very charming, intriguing and obviously older,” after Kramer and Gambino wed, he became abusive toward her.
“I was so ashamed,” Kramer tells People, admitting that she didn’t reveal the abuse to her family or friends, and hid her bruises with makeup. "I literally walked around on eggshells, terrified to tell anybody, because I was so ashamed of the situation I had put myself in. I was like, I put myself in this, and now I have to figure out how to get out of it or stay in it and make it better.”
On Aug. 6, 2005, Gambino choked Kramer until she was unconscious and left her bleeding outside their home. Gambino was convicted of attempted murder and sentenced to six years in prison, but released in 2010; however, he committed suicide two years later.
Kramer admits that her less-than-perfect relationship with her father, Martin Kramer, has contributed to her relationship troubles later in life.
“Nothing was ever good enough for my father,” Kramer says. “I was always trying to get his attention, and, through therapy, I realized that followed through into my relationships."
Following her marriage to Gambino, Kramer was married to actor Johnathon Schaech and then was engaged to Brantley Gilbert. She married Michael Caussin in 2015, and the couple welcomed their first child, daughter Jolie Rae Caussin, in January; however, they are currently separated.
“All I’ve ever wanted is to be loved, to love someone and to have a family,” Kramer admits. "I don’t have everything figured out obviously, but I feel like I’m in a place where I don’t have to be ashamed. I don’t want to play the victim. Even though my past isn’t pretty, it’s shaped me into the person I am today."
Surprising and Sad Country Star Splits