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But as people bury their abuse, it breeds sickness.
The problems in my life had a lot to do with that moment.
When we met, I looked at Julie and said, this is all I want, I’m just trying to have a life, a family, and I’m not just going survive anymore. I told her about the molestation, and she gave me the courage to talk about this.
[Solomon confirms to PEOPLE that Schaech shared with her his experience with Zeffirelli]. And I have my boy, my son." data-reactid="71"], post about her experience, it hit home.
Hopeful his story can help make positive change, the Ray Donovan actor, now 48, who rose to fame in , shared this first-person account with PEOPLE’s Elizabeth Leonard.
In a statement, Zeffirelli’s son, Pippo, denied his father, now 94, verbally or sexually abused Schaech, calling the accusations “not credible.” It was an open call and I didn’t even have an agent at that point.
I had been innocent and although I thought I had all the answers, I didn’t have any. What I faced that day – I didn’t know how to handle that evil. That night I was not violent but after that I became more violent. I did tell the person [actress Stephanie Romanov] I started dating when I got back from Italy, and years later I told my ex-wife [singer/actress Jana Kramer], but I never had any idea how to process it. I told her this happened to me, and she’s been great.
[Both Romanov and Kramer confirm to PEOPLE that Schaech confided in them about the molestation]. Johnathon Schaech with his wife, Julie Solomon, and their son Camden at the 7th Annual Santa’s Secret Workshop benefiting L. What’s also changed in my life is meeting and marrying my wife Julie [Solomon].
And this is the whole thing, and you hear it from the women who are opening up now about their own experiences with abuse: There’s a moment where, even though you are taught to be charming and have sex appeal as an actor, a line is crossed and everything changes. When it was obvious Franco wasn’t getting what he wanted that night, he just left. In that moment I didn’t know how to handle myself and I shut myself down for 25 years. I buried it for 20-something years of my life and not until Rose [Mc Gowan opened up], did I realize all these people have had these experiences. When he crossed that boundary, I went from being a very vibrant young charming person who faced evil to someone who didn’t know himself. Jana Kramer], but I never had any idea how to process it.
When someone crosses that line, when someone preys on you, there’s a panic that sets in. He crossed that boundary and I felt as though I left my body. He put his hands in places that I couldn’t even imagine and he did things that I am not proud of. His pants never came off but I can [still] see him fumbling with his belt. I never addressed it." data-reactid="57" After that, I felt crushed. I didn’t know why I couldn’t handle myself in the moment. In that moment I didn’t know how to handle myself and I shut myself down for 25 years. It’s caused me to have major alcohol and drug problems, sexual addictions — it caused my whole world to be confused for a long time. [Both Romanov and Kramer confirm to PEOPLE that Schaech confided in them about the molestation].
I carried this shame all along, I thought it was just part of who I was. I all but buried it." data-reactid="59"Whether I talk about it or not, it’s still going to be inside me.
I don’t care if you’re 22, or 12 , a man or a woman, it’s not OK to take away innocence because you’re in a power position to do so.
You have to face that thing that’s evil inside you or you will continue it onto the next generation. I want future generations to know they’re not alone.