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Laverne Cox Shares How She Healed Relationship With Her Mom After ‘Emotionally Abusive’ Childhood

Laverne Cox Details Emotionally Abusive Past With Her Mom
Amy Sussman/WireImage

Laverne Cox is opening up about her complex history with mom Gloria Cox.

“My mom and I are really cool right now, but my mom was emotionally abusive when we were growing up because she was emotionally abused as a kid,” Laverne, 51, said during a Wednesday, February 28, appearance on the “Call Her Daddy” podcast.

The Orange Is the New Black alum added that her twin brother, M Lamar, has been a source of support when she and her mom have conflicting memories of her childhood years.

“The best thing about having a twin brother at this point is that there was someone else who was there who can confirm that I’m not crazy and that I’m not misremembering,” Laverne explained.

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The actress emphasized that she doesn’t think her mother is “intentionally trying to gaslight” her when she forgets certain aspects of Laverne’s upbringing.

“I think if she remembered some of the things she did and said, she might not be able to live with herself,” she said. “And I say that with the utmost love and respect for my mom. We’ve worked through all of that and I can’t believe we have and we’re in such a great place, but I think telling the truth about it is really important.”

Laverne Cox Details Emotionally Abusive Past With Her Mom
Laverne Cox and her mother, Gloria Cox, at the premiere of ‘The Rocky Horror Picture Show’ Tibrina Hobson/Getty Images

Laverne then explained how learning about previous generations of her family helped her see that her mom “did the best that she could with what she had,” noting that her grandfather grew up under “slavery 2.0.” on a plantation “in the context of sharecropping.”

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Although Laverne has compassion for the circumstances that contributed to her mom’s behavior, she admitted that it took “years” to gain that perspective.

“I went through years of just being angry at her,” she said. “I didn’t have the tools to deal with the trauma of my childhood. I was bullied at school, I was chased home from school every day. And then I came home and my mom would be like, ‘Why aren’t you fighting back? Why are they bullying you?’ So, there was no sense of safety that I had anywhere.”

Laverne attributed the incessant bullying she endured to being “a really feminine kid” and her “proper” manner of speaking.

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“There was so much shame around it too because my mom didn’t know how to handle it,” she said, noting that she was called a “sissy” before she understood what the word meant.

Despite the adversity she faced, Laverne noted that she is “grateful for all” of her childhood experiences.

“But it took me a minute to be able to do some of that healing work, start to get into the intergenerational piece and come to that place of forgiveness and understanding,”she said.

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