Disney Star Debby Ryan's Domestic Violence Past Will Open Your Eyes

A former Disney Channel star is bravely opening up. In an interview with Teen Vogue, Debby Ryan talked about her domestic violence past. The young Hollywood starlet revealed she was once in an abusive relationship and before others start speculating, it wasn't with Ryan's former boyfriend Josh Dun, the drummer from Twenty One Pilots. It was a relationship she had with a "friend." That's right, not a boyfriend, but a friend. Now, Ryan is partnering with Mary Kay and Love Is Respect for their "Don't Look Away" campaign to help spread the word about abuse and, hopefully, help others along the way.

We've heard of physical, emotional, and verbal abuse, but the one Ryan experienced was digital abuse. She said: "People that demand your password and always look over your shoulder, ask who you're texting, and grab your phone and let themselves in — that's not OK."

When Ryan "decided to get out," she, luckily, had people get the abusive guy out of her life and house. Here are a few details she offered about her situation:

I hadn't talked to him in a month. I told him to leave my life. So he threw a phone at me and it shattered to pieces and he was screaming, punching the wall, and cussing me out. Then he started bawling and said he's sorry and loves me. And then grab me by the wrist and pull me in a bathroom and lock the door.
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The abuse made Ryan feel weak and extremely emotional. She said, "I thought I was stronger than that, and it can make you feel weak. To be able to know that you're worth more than that and fight for yourself is a really difficult thing."

In addition to telling her story, she wants women to know that abuse can happen even if it's not with someone you're in love with. She said, "I wasn't dating this person. This person considered themselves my best friend."

Ryan added:

We also had a professional relationship and it was such emotional manipulation to the point where it became physical, and it stopped before it got too far. The second someone puts their hand on you, a boundary has been crossed. If anyone is feeling manipulated or abused, that's the best it's going to get and you have to fight for yourself now.

I admire Ryan for bravely opening up about something that can't be easy to talk about. Also, I think it's great she's shining a light on a new form of abuse that many never even think about. I have no doubt Ryan is already helping others dealing with a similar situation. Thank you, Debby, for your braveness.

Images: Getty (2)