Jana Kramer is reflecting on the domestic violence she endured at the hands of her first husband, Michael Gambino.
“I haven’t spoken much about the domestic abuse because it’s still the hardest piece, because I still have a little bit of shame around it,” Kramer, 39, said during an appearance on Today With Hoda & Jenna on Tuesday, October 24. “I remember when I was reading the audio book of this, I’m like ‘Girl, what are you doing hiding in the bushes? Like, Get out! You deserve so much better than this.’ There’s that little piece of shame that still kind of, like, lingers inside of me.”
The One Tree Hill actress recently released her second book, The Next Chapter: Making Peace with Hard Memories, Finding Hope All Around Me, and Clearing Space for Good Things to Come, in which she details her divorce and exes.
“When I talk to people about domestic violence or when I share my experiences, it’s, like, of course you’re going to think those things because that’s what, again, what you thought to be the truth,” she said. “Now I would never let anybody put their hands on me or talk to me or disrespect me in that way. But now it’s because I know that I deserve respect.”
In her book, the former Dancing with the Stars contestant recalled the terrifying abuse she endured from Gambino, whom she was married to for less than a year in 2004, that nearly killed her.
“I had my head bashed into bathroom mirrors countless times and was choked and shoved on a weekly basis. Almost every morning around 3 o’clock, he would throw me out of bed after coming home from a rager at a club,” she wrote. “Toward the end of our, let’s just call it, courtship, I was his rag doll. I was so depressed and scared, and all I wanted was an out, but I was trapped.”
One night, after Gambino choked Kramer, he thought he killed her and left their home. He was arrested and sentenced to six years in prison for attempted murder. He later died in 2012.
After her split from Gambino and second husband Johnathon Schaech (who she was married to from 2010 to 2011), Kramer went on to wed Mike Caussin in 2015. The pair finalized their divorce in 2021 after a rocky marriage and Caussin’s many affairs.
In her book, Kramer recalled a fight where Caussin, 36, allegedly threw wet laundry at her while she was recovering from a breast augmentation surgery in 2021. When Kramer — who did not mention Caussin by name — lost her balance and fell, she started to cry. “In true ex fashion he said, ‘That didn’t hurt. Get the f–k up,’” she wrote. (Kramer and Caussin share daughter Jolie, 7, and Jace, 4.)
If you or someone you know are experiencing domestic violence, please call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 for confidential support.