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Real Housewife: 'There is Love After Abuse'

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"Real Housewives of Atlanta" star Lisa Wu Hartwell weighs in on the recent Chris Brown and Rihanna scandal.

Lisa Wu Hartwell, Chris Brown, Rihanna

When the news came out reporting that R&B sensation Chris Brown had allegedly assaulted his girlfriend, singer Rihanna, many of their fans felt a sense of disappointment and sadness. Chris Brown has admitted to growing up in a violent household -- for years, he watched as his stepfather physically and mentally abused his mother. At age 11, Brown even told his mother that, some day, he would kill him.

Lisa Wu Hartwell, star of Real Housewives of Atlanta, knows that history can often repeat itself, but says that in life "you have choices."

Lisa tells momlogic she was very saddened by the Brown/Rihanna story. She doesn't believe their young age is an excuse for the violence, though it's easier to diffuse a volatile situation when you're older. "Abuse can often be mistaken as passion ... No. That wasn't passion. That was abuse."

Lisa, alongside castmate Ne Ne Leakes, also opened up to Essence magazine this month about her own experience in an abusive relationship. Lisa claims the abuse at the hands of an ex started almost immediately. "He was very sweet at first, but looking back on it now, there were signs of him being controlling from the beginning -- little things like taking keys from me so I couldn't leave or standing in the doorway so I couldn't get by," she says. "When the verbal abuse began, I'd dismiss it by saying to myself, 'Oh, he's upset -- he's calling you these things because he's angry.' You can't see clearly when you're in the situation -- it's almost like you don't want to acknowledge it, especially if you're all about that person."

Lisa told us that growing up, there was a lot of arguing in her own home. When she ended up in a relationship where there was domestic abuse, she thought it was normal. Lisa, who was once married to singer Keith Sweat, wouldn't comment on who she was in an abusive relationship with, but says that now she has zero tolerance for mental or physical abuse. "I overcame it -- there is love after abuse. You can survive and can move on. But, you're always healing this... you'll have those images or verbal rants in your mind because you've heard this for so many years."

Now happily married to former NFL player Ed Hartwell, Lisa is certain that she can tell the difference between a marital spat and a marital no-no. "In marriage, you don't always agree, but when it becomes about name-calling and demeaning someone -- that's mental abuse," she concludes. "Those are things that tear your self-esteem. You know the difference."

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Real Housewives of Atlanta Rihanna and Chris Brown

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1 comments so far | Post a comment now
Fernande Dentino February 18, 2011, 1:03 PM

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