“I have fantasies every day about smashing her skull in with a sledgehammer.”
This quote is from singer and musician Brian Warner, better known to most as Marilyn Manson. In an interview with Spin in 2009, Warner admits that his song ‘I Want To Kill You Like They Do in the Movies’ is all about his fantasies. Then, he drops that horrific quote about ex-fiance, Evan Rachel Woods.
The quote went mostly under the radar then, honestly, with Glamour being the only one that really called him out on it with Jill Gubowitz’s 2018 piece, Why Is No One Talking About Marilyn Manson’s ‘Fantasy’ of Killing Evan Rachel Wood?
This week, however, Evan Rachel Wood has finally spoken out and named her abuser. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to suggest that yes, she is calling out Brian Warner, and going into some awful, awful things.
About their relationship
In 2007, Wood and Manson announced their relationship officially to the public. Wood was just 19 at the time, with Warner having nearly 20 years on her – he was 38. I remember when this was announced, I was both concerned for Wood and confused by Manson, who was married to burlesque star Dita Von Teese from 2005-2007.
Dita, now 48, is just 4 years younger than Manson. That’s a completely normal age gap, especially in Hollywood, so to jump from being married to someone your own age to being with someone nearly 20 years younger than you… yikes.
In 2010, Manson asked Wood to marry him, but the couple broke up months later. Manson went on to be a little baby about the whole ordeal, including his now-infamous 2009 interview quoted above. Last year, Manson was being interviewed by the U.K. music magazine Metal Hammer when the interviewer asked about Wood.
Manson shut down the interview entirely at that moment if that tells you anything. 10 years since the breakup, and he won’t comment.
Evan Rachel Woods is an activist now
In addition to being an actress with a great career – including Westworld, which I swear I’ll watch someday – Wood is an outspoken activist… mostly for domestic violence and sexual assault.
2016 was the first time she spoke out about her abuse, riding the strength of the #metoo movement that exposed so much of Hollywood’s disgusting, narcissistic, abusive culture. She spoke with Rolling Stone, calling herself a “survivor of rape and domestic violence”.
Then, in 2019, Wood created something that is called the Phoenix Act. In California, the statue of limitations on reporting and prosecuting cases of domestic violence was just 3 years. The Phoenix Act extended it to 5. California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed the bill into law in October of 2019, and it took effect a year ago, January 2020.
During this time period, Wood testified before the California Senate about her own experiences with domestic violence, and her words were not pretty.
Note: This is hard to watch. You don’t have to listen to her speak about her abuse to understand what she went through, but her strength, and fear, is clear.
Woods said her abuser hid both drug and alcohol abuse from her and would fly into fits of rage at the drop of a hat, throwing things, cornering her, and threatening her. According to her testimony, Woods tried to leave several times, but each time her abuser would threaten her, her career, and his own life to bring her back to him – a common tactic by someone who uses abuse and manipulation to keep people close to them.
The things Woods talked about her abuser doing during her Senate testimony – including how her abuser forced her to kneel in their bedroom and restrained her, before beating and shocking her. “It felt like I left my body and a part of me died that day,” Woods told the Senate.
She said that she wanted to get involved and use her position for good, but she didn’t know where to start. “When I started being an activist, I really asked myself, where do I even start?” She told Variety. “So the place that I usually start, because I feel like I’m going to do the most good, are the places that I have direct experience.”
“I think that’s why I’ve done so much on domestic violence, and sexual assault.”
Everyone was pretty sure it was Marilyn Manson
Anyone who could put the timeline together was pretty sure it was Manson, even before this morning when Wood spoke out publically – more on that in a moment.
The timeline of their relationship, along with the obvious age and power gap between the two, make it pretty clear that Woods’s experiences with domestic violence came from her relationship with Manson.
When you put everything into the perspective of Manson fantasizing about hurting her, and admitting it in an interview, it’s pretty clear that he was probably not a great guy.
Manson got married last year to Lindsay Usich, a 36-year-old fashion model and photographer. Her Instagram is full of her work, and she’s got sort of a dark, gothy personal vibe that makes me think of Marilyn Manson, a little. He is also featured in a lot of her posts, especially recently.
In that same interview with Spin, Manson went on to talk about Christmas 2008, when apparently the two were fighting. To keep your timeline straight, Woods was 20 at the time, not even legally old enough to drink. Manson was 39, a fully-grown adult old enough to have a child her age.
“Every time I called her that day – I called 158 times – I took a razor blade and I cut myself on my face or on my hands. I wanted to show her the pain she put me through. It was like, ‘I want you to physically see what you’ve done’.”
Evan Rachel Woods speaks out, this time for real
Monday, February 1st, Evan Rachel Wood posted this to her Instagram account, with no description or elaboration.
For years, Manson’s reps have aggressively denied any allegations of abuse done by his hand, often suggesting that he was an easy scapegoat because of his shock-rock persona and alternative look.
But Woods isn’t alone – 4 other women have spoken out about Manson, and his abuse.
Ashley Walters says she continues to “suffer from PTSD”, and struggles with depression from what happened to her. “As we all struggled, as survivors do, to get on with our lives, I’d keep hearing stories disturbingly similar to our own experiences … Brian Warner needs to be held accountable.”
Sarah McNeilly says she has been afraid to speak out for so long because she didn’t want to be “under his crosshairs” again. “As a result of the way he treated me, I suffer from mental health issues and PTSD that have greatly affected my personal and professional relationships … I want to see Brian held accountable for his evil.”
Ashley Lindsay Morgan says she suffers from night terrors and PTSD from what he put her though. “I am coming forward so he will finally stop.”
And a woman just known as Gabriella spoke up too, sharing personal pictures from their time together. “It has taken me five years to speak out and say that I was in an abusive relationship. I have been diagnosed with PTSD and still suffer from nightmares. I blocked out a lot of the memories, but the feelings remain and manifest in various ways … I’m done being silent. I don’t believe it’s fair for someone to not be held accountable for their horrific actions. I’m not a victim. I’m a survivor.”
When asked about his downright horrific comments to Spin magazine, Manson’s reps claimed that what they were reading wasn’t a personal account of the life of Brian Warner, but the shock-rock persona of Marilyn Manson, promoting a brand new album.
“The fact that Evan and Manson got engaged six months after this interview would indicate that no one took this story literally.” The rep continued.
Confession: I’m a Manson fan
Awkward confession time: I’ve always been a Marilyn Manson fan. As an awkward kid who was too smart for her own good and didn’t really fit in, Marilyn Manson did a lot of good for me. In all the interviews I had seen with him, he was smart, well-spoken, and educated-sounding. Listen to this interview from the famous Bowling for Columbine documentary, where he talks about how easy he is to blame for the violence.
He was weird and out there and I totally was there for it. The last album I bought from Manson was in 2007, Eat Me, Drink Me. It was his 6th studio album, and it was the one he made when he and Woods first got together – she starred in the music video, Heart-Shaped Glasses (When The Heart Guides The Hand).
Even in 2007, I didn’t really like the song. I knew how old Manson was, and the weird power dynamic that was going on. His music continued away from what I really loved about his older stuff, the shock-y, aggressive style that made me feel fine with being myself.
A coworker and fellow writer, Kat, told me this while we were speaking of Woods abuse.
“[I]t’s unfortunate because I loved Manson growing up and I still listen to the old stuff from time to time. [H]is stage persona was wild and shows were wild and I think he did some good things for us weirdos and opening up conversations about nonconformity (including in terms of gender stereotypes)”
This is such a great point because it’s so true. Manson did a lot for those weird, outlier kids like Kat and I, who didn’t have a lot of people who thought the way we did or acted the way we did. He helped so very many young, impressionable people understand that it’s okay if you’re a little different. There’s nothing wrong with preferring black and chains over pink and sparkles – but pink and sparkles are okay, too, if that’s what you’re into!
With so many horrific stories coming out about so many Hollywood stars, we’re going to start needing a way to separate the artwork from the artist. Turns out, the music scene – and Hollywood – really does attract a whole lot of narcissistic abusers.
It’s weird. Like putting someone on a pedestal and showering them with compliments and unearned love does something to a person.