Mandy Moore had lost herself. She felt devastated, lonely and controlled, as an “entirely unhealthy dynamic” of codependency had put the career of one of America’s beloved pop stars and an emerging acting force on hold. The abuse, she said, was too much to bear.
While there was not a specific moment that caused Moore to file for divorce from singer-songwriter Ryan Adams in 2015, the actress said he was emotionally and verbally abusive toward her throughout their marriage, which she knew could not continue.
“I was living my life for him. I had no sense of self,” Moore, 34, told comedian Marc Maron on the Monday episode of his “WTF” podcast. “I felt like I was drowning. It was so untenable and unsustainable and it was so lonely. I was so sad. I was lonely with him.”
In the 85-minute episode, Moore, a star of the NBC hit series “This Is Us,” spoke about her tumultuous marriage for the first time since Adams was accused last week by seven women, including his ex-wife, of varying types of abusive behavior, from psychological and emotional manipulation to sexual misconduct. Adams, 44, apologized “deeply and unreservedly” to those he had hurt, but has denied all the accusations, tweeting that the story published in the New York Times painted a picture that was “upsettingly inaccurate.” The Federal Bureau of Investigation announced last week it is looking into whether Adams engaged in sexually explicit online communications with a teenage girl from when she was 14 until she was 16.
Moore detailed to Maron how her relationship to Adams began about a year after her mother told her father she was leaving him for a woman, with whom she was carrying on an affair. Then a 23-year-old pop star, Moore was on tour in Minneapolis in 2008, when she and her band went to see Adams, who was also in town for a gig.
“As a 23-year-old impressionable woman, I was really taken by him. I had never met someone who had that lens on the world,” she recalled of that first experience. They would marry a year later, an accelerated relationship, she said, that was a way of “steadying myself” following the emotional upheaval with her family. “I was a smitten mitten,” she said.
But almost from the start of their marriage in 2009, Moore said the pressure from her then-husband caused her to scale back on her career, regularly passing on acting jobs so she could be home to be a supportive spouse. Last week, Moore told the Times that Adams was psychologically abusive toward her, including by saying she was not a real musician. She’d become, as she described to Maron, “so small,” and said the dynamic in her relationship with Adams made her “feel worthy.” “I got married in 2009 and that’s when things really sort of quieted down for me,” she said.
She later added: “I would do little jobs. It’s not like I completely stopped working. I would do things here or there, but it became abundantly clear while I was working, things would completely fall apart at home. I couldn’t do my job because there was just a constant stream of trying to pay attention to this person who needed me and wouldn’t let me do anything else.”
Adams, through his lawyer, denied the description of their relationship to the Times last week, saying it was “completely inconsistent with his view of the relationship” and that he supported Moore’s “well-deserved professional success.”
But speaking to Maron, Moore said she eventually recognized that she was not the person she wanted to be, which was a direct result of Adams.
“I would try to fight back, but I hate confrontation,” she told Maron. “It just was a lot of endless conversations, conversations in a loop, crying, all of that for months and months and months.”
That would change months after the divorce was finalized in 2016, she said. That’s when she landed the role of Rebecca Pearson on NBC’s “This Is Us,” an award-winning hit series. Two years later, Moore married Taylor Goldsmith, frontman of the Dawes.
On social media, many were quick to commend Moore for offering a window into a harrowing time that’s now being replayed in front of the world with the recent accusations against her ex-husband.
Moore reflected on a conversation with a friend that would foreshadow happier times.
“My best friend at the time was like, ‘You will not be able to work or find any semblance of success while you’re in this marriage,’” she recalled. “I remember sort of poo-pooing her at the time, but also kind of agreeing. I’m telling you though, six months after the divorce was final, I got the show.”
In a lighter moment, Maron noted that Moore’s relationship with Adams may have prepared her to play a role that features her character exhibiting strength and loyalty to family, in good times and in bad.
“I guess you were emotionally ready,” Maron said.
“I was ready,” Moore responded through some laughter.
“You had a lot of stuff,” Maron replied.
“I had a lot of baggage to bring to the table,” Moore said.
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