Laurence Fishburne Admits To Physically Abusing His First Wife In His Younger Years: I Had To Go & Look For Some Help
Real-life emotion went into legendary actor Laurence Fishburne’s portrayal of musician Ike Turner in the 1993 classic film “What’s Love Got to Do with It.”
During a recent sit-down on renowned journalist Jemele Hill’s podcast, Jemele Hill is Unbothered, Laurence Fishburne opened up about his preparation for the controversial role and the process of bringing it to life on-screen.
However, in doing so, he regretfully confessed that he related to his character all too well, shedding light on his own personal bout with poor anger management that often turned physical in his first marriage to actress Hajna O. Moss.
When asked about his thoughts on playing a proclaimed abuser, the 61-year-old told Jemele Hill:
“You know, having had some experience with that, as a young man, I did a lot of counseling, you know? I found a great African-American therapist who helped me deal with my anger issues. Because I had been physical with my first wife. I got married when I was twenty-three years old; my first wife was twenty-one, and our relationship was very volatile. And I was physically abusive with my first wife, to my regret, and to my shame.”
Written by Kate Lanier, “What’s Love Got to Do with It ” serves as the reportedly true story of the iconic Rock ‘n’ Roll songstress Tina Turner’s rise to fame and her tumultuous relationship with then-husband Ike Turner. Fishburne starred in the biopic alongside Angela Bassett, who personated the “Proud Mary” singer.
While speaking of the abuse his first wife encountered from him, Fishburne then revealed that he eventually sought therapy to work on himself internally. He also indicated that having to relive that type of toxicity through the eyes of his role as Ike Turner made things a little intense for him on the set of “What’s Love Got to Do with It.’
“Because of that, I had to go and look for some help. I had to find a therapist, and I worked with this man for four or five years on all of those issues. So, I was very familiar with the territory and with the emotional landscape of what, you know, brings a person to that place where they feel the need to be abusive to their partner.”
Fishburne–who initially opted not to be a part of the cast five times before actually agreeing –continued,
“And, so, you know, that’s another reason why, you know, I said to the director, like, ‘We can only do this for a limited amount of time. This is not emotional territory that I want to be swimming in all day; I don’t want Angela [Bassett] swimming in it all day. I don’t want people on set having to deal with that kind of, you know, volatile, emotional kind of stuff all day… where we’re trying to make a film.'”
Later in the conversation, Jemele Hill went on to ask if the Matrix trouper’s counseling had aided him in identifying what prompted him to grow physical with his aggression.
“I didn’t really, specifically, work on the source of my anger. It was really about how to recognize it when it was coming up, what my triggers were, and what were the behaviors that I could use that would counter it, that would help me to move in a different direction.”
#LaurenceFishburne Admits That As A Young Man He Was Physically Abusive To His 1st Wife & He Went To Therapy + Says He Regrets It & "Had To Go & Get Some Help" For 4 To 5 Years (@jhillunbothered) pic.twitter.com/I9LfeTRwuR
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Laurence Fishburne and Hajna O. Moss were wedded in 1985 but ultimately divorced. Together, they share two children, a son Langston and a daughter Montana.
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