Disney star Debby Ryan has a story that most people have a hard time accepting.
“There are people in my life that couldn’t believe this story,” says Ryan. “They were like, ‘I didn’t know it was this bad.’ No one did. It felt like a secret.”
What was Debby Ryan’s big secret? She was in a relationship — she describes it as a “working relationship” — that got abusive, even bizarre.
“It was a couple years ago, and things were seemingly amazing. Career-wise, they were great, and in general life they were great. But then I was in a friendship – kind of a working relationship – and it ended up becoming more and more destructive, and getting emotionally and mentally abusive.”
Her friend got pretty clingy. She calls it “abusive,” and it certainly seemed to feel that way for Debby Ryan. While her friend never hit her, he did get physical in other ways.
“He chased me out of the room, grabbed me, put me back in the room, and followed me to my car and took my keys. I was like, ‘Okay, fine, get in the car, you can come with me.’ He was like, ‘No, you’re going to drive away and leave me here.’ He ended up grabbing my keys and holding on to my wrists and crawling into the passenger side from my driver’s side [so I couldn’t drive away].”
Debby Ryan eventually got the guy a hotel room near where she lived just so he would go away at night.
“That was literally just for sleeping, so [we would see each other] every day, hours a day, month on month on month, and finally I was like, ‘All right, I can’t do this anymore.’ ”
But then things got really dark. Her friend told her that, if she did not spend time with him, he would kill himself. That’s when Debby Ryan realized things had gone on long enough,
“I realized I’d done everything that I could do. It’s not my purpose to sacrifice my own happiness and sacrifice my own mental health so that this guy doesn’t overdose. I called someone and had someone go and be with him, and I removed myself from the situation and realized he’s no longer mine to deal with.”