For over 10 years, Jana Kramer has never spoken of what she went through with her first husband and all the horrible things she endured at the hands of her little-known, Michael Gambino.
But now, Jana Kramer is opening up for the first time, in this week’s PEOPLE, about her painful history of domestic abuse that landed Gambino in prison for attempted murder in 2005.
From Taste of Country,
Kramer tells People she was just 19 years old when she met and married Gambino, a man 17 years older than she was. They married quickly in 2004, but soon he began to abuse her. According to Kramer he’d come home at 3 am and pick her up out of bed and throw her to the ground. She’d wear makeup to keep the abuse hidden.
“I met Mike when I was 19 at a Coffee Bean in L.A. He was a smooth-talker, very charming, intriguing and obviously older,” Kramer, 32, tells PEOPLE exclusively. “At the time, I liked that. I felt protected.”
“Then the next morning he’d be like, ‘Hey, baby,’ as if nothing had happened.”
“When I said, ‘I can’t do this anymore’ he sent me a photo of my dogs on the freeway and said ‘I’m going to let them go if you don’t come home,’” Kramer says in the magazine.
On Aug. 6, 2005, Gambino choked Kramer unconscious outside of their Los Angeles home. He was convicted of attempted murder and sentenced to six years in prison. Two years after his 2010 release, Gambino committed suicide, according to People.
Reports of Kramer’s first husband’s dark past were rumored earlier this fall. Radar Online quotes an unidentified source who says Gambino’s real name was Michael Salais. People includes his mugshot from the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.
This news comes as Kramer is going through a divorce from ex-football player Michael Caussin. They separated over the summer, shortly before she revealed she’d be on Dancing With the Stars. She was also married to Jonathon Schaech in 2010, and engaged to country singer Brantley Gilbert. Kramer and Caussin have a daughter named Jolie who Kramer says she relies on for strength through all her struggles.
“It’s not that people have to find a child to find their strength, but it’s always been in me. I just needed some help getting it out,” she says.
Thank you Jana Kramer for being brave enough to share this story with your fans and the public. We hope this helps someone else who may be caught in a situation like this and encourages them to have the strength to get out.