Laverne Cox On Staying In Abusive Relationship: I Didn’t Think Anyone Else Would Love Me As A Black Trans Woman

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25th Annual Elton John AIDS Foundation’s Academy Awards Viewing Party
Featuring: Laverne Cox
Where: West Hollywood, California, United States
When: 27 Feb 2017
Credit: FayesVision/

Photo: WENN

Women (and men) stay in abusive relationships for a lot of different reasons: fear, lack of financial independence, distorted views of love. But Laverne Cox had a wholly unique reason for enduring an unhealthy relationship for years: her gender identity. While a lot of people find it hard to leave relationships because they don’t think they’ll find anyone else, that fear was magnified for Cox as a Black, trans woman.

In an interview with Grazia Magazine, the Orange is the New Black star opened up about her experience and the regrets she has.

“My biggest regret is that I dated an emotionally abusive alcoholic for four years,” she said. “I believed that because I was Black and trans, he was the only man who would ever love me. The relationship almost killed me.”

Low self-esteem is something the actress has spoken about before. When Cox covered the July 2015 cover of Essence magazine along with the other Black female cast members of Orange, she shared, “Ten years ago I would say to myself, ‘I’m fat and ugly,’ but I look at pictures now and it’s like, ‘Girl…’

“Looking back, I spent so much time hating myself, and I was perfectly lovely. I mean, I am above average in looks! I should have always been living my life…”

Thankfully, Cox appears to be living and loving life right now. And she’s still open to love. In an interview with E! News she said:

“I very much believe in love. I want to be in love and in a partnership with a man… I see myself in love and in a fierce partnership with someone who loves and respects me.”

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