'This is Us' star Chrissy was a big girl as a pre-teen and has struggled with her weight throughout her life. Now, she has learned to love herself more.
Not all of us are lucky enough to have parents who love us deeply or parents who set positive examples for us either. Some of us have been dealt a bad hand by destiny and we learn to cope with it. It might make us tough people or break us, the choice at the end of the day is ours.
This is Us star Chrissy Metz, who plays the role of Kate Pearson, has faced many hardships in her personal life just like the character she plays on the screen. Just like the character she plays, she struggled with her weight all her life and had people treat her differently for how she looked. However, unlike Kate, Metz, 39, grew up in poverty and experienced excruciating abuse at the hands of her stepfather, per PEOPLE.
"I’m a tough cookie but it’s one of those things that attempts to break your spirit," she told the magazine. She was as young as eight when she experienced heartbreak for the first time when her biological father left her mother, Denise, her two siblings, Monica, then 15 and Philip, then 13, and her. Their family didn't have a lot growing up and there were nights when her mom won't eat dinner so she and her siblings had food.
"I knew she was giving up food to make sure we could eat, but when you’re 9 or 10 years old, you can’t help. It was devastating. In retrospect, I think that’s why food equals love in my family. It’s the way we showed love — my grandmother would make me a grilled cheese sandwich every time she'd pick me up from school. I really valued that attention. As I got older, that turned into, 'Oh, I’m happy — let’s celebrate and eat. I’m sad? Let me eat my feelings,'" she told Glamour.
Later, Denise had another child, Morgana, with a boyfriend, who also left, and eventually, she met Trigger, the man who would become Metz's stepfather. "My mom married Trigger at the courthouse," Metz wrote in her memoir, as per PEOPLE. "Soon she was pregnant again, with another girl, Abigail. Trigger loved his two biological children, and was even welcoming to Morgana. Me, not so much. My mother was always at work, so she didn’t see how he treated me."
"My body seemed to offend him, but he couldn’t help but stare, especially when I was eating. He joked about putting a lock on the refrigerator. We had lived with a lack of food for so long that when it was there, I felt like I had to eat it before it disappeared. Food was my only happiness," she added.
After facing severe ridicule, she started feeling ashamed of her eating habit. So, she hid her eating. "I’d get up in the middle of the night and eat. I’d sneak food to eat in the bathroom. Cookies, chips. Things I could eat as fast as possible to avoid detection. Things that would give me the brief bliss of numbness," she wrote.
This wasn't all he would do. He also humiliated her by forcing her to weigh herself. It started when she was 14 years old. "He’d get the scale from the bathroom and clang it hard on the kitchen floor. ‘Well, get on the damn thing!’ Trigger would yell. "He sat in a chair next to the scale as I got on. ‘Good God almighty!’ he yelled every single time. The number then was about 140 or 130. Most of my friends weighed about ninety pounds. ‘Why are you getting fatter?’ he demanded."
Around this time, he also started hitting her. "He never punched my face. Just my body, the thing that offended him so much. He shoved me, slapped me, punched my arm. He would hit me if he thought I looked at him wrong. I remember being on the kitchen floor after he knocked me over, and I was begging to know what I did. He just shoved me hard with his foot," she added.
Now, as a successful actress, she looks at her old photos and remembers feeling "gigantic" when she would now be fine being that size. "One time he hit me, and I looked right in his face. If I had a gun, I thought, I would shoot you," she wrote in her memoir.
The violence in her life left a mark on her life but she still loved him then. She has no regrets about the past. "We all go through stuff. But I truly believe that everything that happened to me, happened for me. [I’ve learned] some beautiful lessons," she added.
It took her a while but she understood that she needs to accept herself before anyone else does. "Turn all the attention you’re putting toward what other people are saying to what you’re saying. You’ve so got this. Say it: 'I’ve got this'," she wrote in her book, per Goodhousekeeping.