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Evan Rachel Wood, the Westworld and Thirteen actress who met the musician known as Marilyn Manson back in 2006, has come forward with further details about the alleged abuse she experienced over the course of their four-and-a-half-year relationship. These details come after Manson filed a lawsuit last week ahead of the release of Phoenix Rising, an HBO documentary chronicling Wood’s survivor journey and advocacy for California’s Phoenix Act, a bill extending the statute of limitations on domestic violence felonies. While promoting the film on The View, she revealed that Manson’s defamation lawsuit “was expected.”
“I can’t obviously speak about any of the specific allegations of the lawsuit, but I’m not scared,” she said. “I am sad, because this is how it works. This is what pretty much every survivor that tries to expose someone in a position of power goes though, and this is part of the retaliation that keeps survivors quiet. This is why people don’t want to come forward.”
A number of shocking details revealed in the documentary, released March 15, accompanied by a cover story with The Cut, in which Wood shared why she was “too terrified” to name Manson as her abuser until February 2021. She alleges that Manson’s abuse included rape while she was unconscious, torture with an electric wand, and drugging her with meth. “I could have killed myself and my story never would have been told,” she told the magazine. “That was the darkest time in my life, honestly.” She says she feared naming him publicly would lead to retaliation from Manson’s camp, but now that she has done so, Wood has found “a freedom that comes with ripping off the Band-Aid.”
In her original Instagram post naming Manson, Wood claimed he “started grooming me when I was a teenager and horrifically abused me for years.” In Phoenix Rising, she recounts specific moments with Manson, legally known as Brian Warner, in which he encouraged her to scar herself with his first initial; made a “blood pact” with her in which “drinking blood [was] definitely a thing”; and “essentially raped” her during the filming of the music video for his song “Heart-Shaped Glasses.”
It took years for Wood to feel comfortable enough to accuse him publicly. “He once told me that he would fuck up my whole family from the bottom up and he would start with my dad,” Wood claims in the documentary. “I have a child and it’s really scary. Naming Brian without support is too much of a risk.”
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Wood also claims in Phoenix Rising that she was once pregnant with the singer’s child. “He flew out for an abortion,” she says. “I was just so scared and sad. I obviously believe in a woman’s right to choose, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t devastating. The second it was over it was like, ‘Make me dinner.’ And I remember thinking, I’m supposed to be resting. … And he didn’t care.”
Manson’s legal team says he “vehemently denies any and all claims of sexual assault or abuse of anyone,” and his defamation lawsuit claims that Wood has participated in a “conspiracy” with her “on-again, off-again romantic partner [Illma] Gore” to “derail” the musician’s career. “The stories that Evan Rachel Wood and her co-conspirator Illma Gore have been falsifying and spreading are both vindictive and demonstrably untrue,” Manson’s main attorney Howard King told Deadline.
Despite these developments, Wood says she finally feels “free.” In her interview with The Cut, she describes her 8-year-old son asking why she was “acting so weird” after she first shared her Instagram accusation in 2021. In response, she told him, “You’ve just never seen me not have this on my back.”
If you or someone you know is affected by sexual assault, support is available at the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 800-656-HOPE (4673) or via chat online here.
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