Singer Jana Kramer Opens Up About Her History With Domestic Violence

Trigger Warning: This article discusses the subject of domestic abuse; all opinions are the author's own.


October is “Domestic Violence Awareness Month,” and it is important to recognize those who have been through the terror of being in a situation of abuse and violence. We hear about these situations in the news, and we hear the statistics about the countless women who lost the battle of life with their abusive partner. It is thus crucial to start more conversations about the survivors and their stories in the hope that they provide inspiration and strength to those going through what they see as a fight to live.

When celebrities or people in the public eye share the stories of their own personal struggles, this in particular shines a light on issues like this, it just makes us admire them that much more. In a recent article for People Magazine, actress turned country singer Jana Kramer had the courage, after ten years of silence, to share her story about the mental and physical abuse she endured during her first marriage, when she was just twenty years old.

Kramer, 32, has had many successes in her life. Kramer is best known for her roles on hit television shows, "Entourage" and "One Tree Hill." She then took her career in a different direction when she announced that she was going to pursue her dream of being a country music artist in 2012. Kramer has since dropped three albums, and has been accepted by the music industry with open arms, recently winning the 2016 Academy of Country Music Award for New Female Vocalist of the Year.

However, while Kramer has had much success in her career, her personal life hasn’t been the easiest journey. In her interview with People, Kramer said that she felt that she had been on a mission throughout her young adult life to seek a lifelong love, and that would bring her eternal happiness. When Kramer was 20 years old, she married Michael Gambino, who was seventeen years older than her. During their marriage, not only did Gambino verbally abuse Kramer, but he also began to get physically abusive, throwing Kramer on the floor, hitting her, brusing her and grabbing her arms.

Her then husband’s abuse reached an all-time high when he attempted to murder her, strangling her so hard to the point that she passed out, while he was screaming that this was going to be her last breath. Kramer, in her recent interview with People, said that she felt her life flash before her eyes, and accepted that death could be imminent.

Fortunately, she survived this experience, and her husband was convicted of attempted murder and sentenced to five years in prison. After his release, Gambino committed suicide, leaving Kramer able to live a life free from the terror of her ex-husband. The experience of living through and surviving an abusive relationship left Kramer scarred physically and emotionally. It also set the tone for how the rest of her personal life was to pan out. In 2010, Kramer married again to actor Johnathon Schaech, but they divorced a year later. She then became engaged to fellow country singer Brantley Gilbert in 2013, but they soon ended their relationship. Kramer found love again with former football  player Mike Caussin, and and they married in 2015 and welcomed their daughter, Jolie Rae, earlier this year. Unfortunately, shortly after this Kramer discovered Caussin had cheated on her multiple times during their marriage, and they are currently seperated.

Even though one may look at Kramer’s story and not understood how she could have the strength to move on, Kramer, now competing on ABC’s "Dancing with the Stars," says that having her daughter Jolie gave her an undeniable strength that she didn’t know existed. Kramer even performed a contemporary number in honor of her daughter and the love she has for her. 

Kramer waited until now to tell her story for a couple of reasons, the first being that she was not in a healthy enough place to feel comfortable doing so, but also now that she is a mother, she feels like her daughter has a right to know how strong of a mother she has. Her daughter needs to know that what her mother experienced is something that no one should have to go through. Jana Kramer has taken "Domestic Violence Awareness Month" to a whole new level. Her story is just one of the many courageous tales of women who have lived through a dark time, and have made it out safely. She is truly an example of indescribable courage and brevity.


Photo Credits: Cover, 1, 2, 3, 4