Laurence Fishburne recently got candid about the therapy he underwent after subjecting his first wife to physical abuse.
The Emmy award-winning actor discussed his growth prompted by therapy while chatting about his role as Ike Turner in 1993’s What’s Love Got to Do with It.
Journalist Jemele Hill asked Fishburne about the process of getting into character on the latest episode of her podcast, Jemele Hill Is Unbothered.
“Having had some experience with that as a young man, I did a lot of counseling,” Fishburne said of playing Ike Turner, who abused Tina Turner.
“I found a great African American therapist who helped me deal with my anger issues,” Fishburne continued.
“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,” he highlighted regarding his union with Hajna O. Moss. “And our relationship was very volatile. And I was physically abusive with my first wife, to my regret, and to my shame.”
The actor detailed that his physical violence in that relationship made him “go and look for some help.”
After finding his therapist, Fishburne said he was in therapy for four to five years.
“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 said on his approach to playing Ike.
Regarding whether he ever unpacked the root of the anger that caused him to be physically violent, the actor said his healing journey was more focused on recognizing his intense feelings and managing them before they manifested in violence.
“I didn’t really, specifically, work on the source of my anger,” he explained. “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.”
See a clip of the interview down below.