‘I completely lost myself’ Ulrika Jonsson opens up about her abusive relationship

Ulrika Jonsson says end of her last marriage was ‘devastating’

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Ulrika Jonnson, 54, spoke candidly about her experience of an abusive relationship on the podcast White Wine Question Time. The former Gladiators presenter told host Kate Thornton about her experience of assault and psychological control during her time dating footballer Stan Collymore.

The star recalled the famously reported 1998 attack in a Paris bar when Stan assaulted her in front of many eyewitnesses. 

Ulrika admitted she felt lucky it didn’t happen in private, as she wasn’t sure what would have happened otherwise. 

On the podcast, she said: “It was witnessed. It was a kind of a public event. I was very lucky that it didn’t happen privately. Because I don’t know how, or if, I would have come out of it.”

She also explained how the people around her felt that she had become a “completely different person” around the time she and Stan were dating. 

“I was on edge the whole time. I was constantly tense and hyper and insecure and I just completely lost myself,” she explained.

“When the kick in the head happened to me, those bruises they went away, but the stuff that had gone on before was harder to process.”

The presenter reflected on how no one spoke about the term “coercive control” at the time but that it definitely applied to her situation. 

She had been with Stan for 18 months before he flew into a violent rage in a Paris bar.

She said: “This man had never raised a hand to me before this moment, but the psychological control and the abuse that he caused during the course of our on-off…I can’t even call it a relationship. 

“That was more damaging to me than what has happened to me physically, so it took me kind of longer to get over what had gone on before. 

“The kind of never knowing where I stood or what was happening and the constant pushing and pulling and the control and trying to withdraw me from my friends: all the things that are classic abusive relationship things.”

Ulrika also acknowledged that at the time she wrongly assigned some of the blame to herself, wondering how she had “invited” that behaviour. 

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She also remembered being astonished when, after the public assault had received press coverage, she still needed to defend herself against critics when there were “hundreds of witnesses and a camera crew” present. 

Speaking candidly about the assault in her column for The Sun earlier this year, Ulrika spoke about being “thrown to the floor” and said it was “the third time in her life a man had raised his hand” to her.

She also described being “deeply shaken” by Mel B’s Women’s Aid video, which showed the extent of her own dealings with domestic abuse, as it led to her to look back on past experiences. 

Ulrika said that the first time she was attacked was after her boyfriend accused her of “flirting” when she was 19 years old.

She wrote: “Bruises and broken bones heal. It’s the psychological damage that endures.”

In regards to not speaking out at the time, she continued: “I regret that now… I wish I had drawn attention to the fact that abuse comes in so many forms and not just the physical punishment.”

Express.co.uk has contacted Stan Collymore for comment.

The podcast White Wine Question Time with Kate Thornton airs weekly on Apple Podcasts, Spotify and other streaming platforms. 


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