Tonya Harding was raped at gunpoint by guys who attacked Nancy Kerrigan

37 year-old former US figure skater Tonya Harding was on the Today Show this morning in a somber interview with Meredith Viera to promote her new book. In the book, called “The Tonya Tapes,” she says that she was not involved in the clubbing incident of her rival, American skater Nancy Kerrigan, in 1994, and that her ex husband, Jeff Gillooly, planned it without her knowledge. Viera read an excerpt from Tonya’s book that said that she did plan on going to the FBI once she learned that they attacked Kerrigan, but that her ex and two guys she didn’t know raped her at gunpoint to keep her silent. This is the first time she has come forward with this news:

On being raped at gunpoint to keep silent about Kerrigan attack
Viera: “In this book, you reaffirm that you weren’t involved with the actual attack, but you say that you did plan to go immediately to the FBI when you found out that your ex husband was involved, until this happened, I’m going to read to you, this is the quote from your book:

‘Jeff and two other guys – don’t know who they were because I couldn’t see who they were – they were in a different car – decided to drive me up to the mountains, put a gun to my head, and take themselves upon me. They told me, this is what you are going to say, this is what you are going to do, and if you don’t you are not going to be here anymore.’

What you’re saying, Tonya, is that these men raped you and threatened to kill you.”

Harding: “Yes.”

Viera: “Why have you waited 14 years to tell this story?”

Harding: “Ashamed. Scared. There are so many people out there who have had bad things happen to them and they can’t tell anybody because they’re afraid to tell someone. It’s just time.”

Viera asked if she told anyone, and she said she told her godmother, the author of her book, and one other person.

On being beaten by her mother throughout her childhood
She said that when she didn’t skate well, her mother would drag her off the ice by her hair, take her to the bathroom, and beat her butt black and blue. For Tonya, the rink was the place she could feel in control and safe.

After the break they read a statement by her mother, who denied hitting Tonya except for one time with a hairbrush. She said “I will always love her. I am her mother.”

Tonya says she has forgiven her mom but that they are estranged and she does not think they will ever reunite.

On her troubled past and people questioning her credibility
Meredith reminds us that Tonya has been arrested for DUI and for attacking her boyfriend with a hubcap, and that people may question her credibility and wonder if she is trying to cash in with a book.

Tonya was kind of heartfelt in her response and said “I wrote the book to just be able to lift my spirits and also help other people out there… [who] don’t get their voices heard. Life is too precious to just throw it away. And I just want people to realize… talk to somebody. It’s not shameful… If you need help, ask for help. It’s ok.

“Life… has ups and downs. When you go to hell and come back, there’s always light at the end of the tunnel.”

Tonya said that success to her is having inner peace and being happy. She says she wants closure and a new beginning.

When she talked about how she was raped she got quiet and upset and it definitely looked like she was telling the truth. Tonya came off as a woman who was wounded and vilified, who is now trying to get her dignity and life back on track. She’s made a lot of bad choices since she was barred from figure skating, and maybe she’ll be able to regain some sense of self worth along with the closure on her terrible childhood that she says she’s looking for.

Considering that her mom was beating her throughout her childhood and her ex husband and his friends ganged raped her, It makes you look at the whole situation and all the press coverage that followed in a much different light.

Tonya Harding on The Today Show, 5/15/08, Part 1:

Tonya Harding on The Today Show, 5/15/08, Part 2:

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47 Responses to “Tonya Harding was raped at gunpoint by guys who attacked Nancy Kerrigan”

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  1. Mike Gretton says:

    I’m calling BS on this. She’s trying to sell her book!!

  2. J9 says:

    My BS meter is going wild!!

  3. KateNonymous says:

    I don’t think there’s any disputing that Tonya Harding has had a really crappy life overall, and I have no idea if this story is true or false. I actually hope it’s false, because I certainly wouldn’t hope that it’s true.

  4. Jo says:

    “Ashamed. Scared. There are so many people out there who have had bad things happen to them and they can’t tell anybody because they’re afraid to tell someone. It’s just time.”

    It’s just time? 14 years later, and in a book? Not when the media was surrounding her in a circus, slandering her name? Seems a little too convenient to me as well. Such a vague and ambiguous response, I hope she isn’t lying about being raped, because that is some very bad karma she’s unleashing upon herself.

  5. Celebitchy says:

    If you’re able to watch the interview at some point I would recommend it, because she comes off as highly believable as I mentioned. That defiance she had at the time may have been how she coped with the situation. It doesn’t mean it didn’t happen.

  6. jen says:

    I don’t care who you are, I don’t wish that on anyone. 🙁

  7. kissmyivoryirishass says:

    SKANK will TRY such hedious tactics to SELL a book! How dare she…CLAIM RAPE FOR DOLLARS…WHAT A SICK SKANK! LIAR!

  8. Tia C says:

    All I will give her is that perhaps she’s a good actress, cuz my BS meter is ALSO going wild!! She’s been out of the limelight for awhile now and just trying to get back in. And why does this kind of BS only seem to happen to white trash chicks? Raped at gunpoint, very imaginative. I know it’s wrong to say that, but……

  9. elisha says:

    I believe her. I think it was her crappy upbringing that led to her adult behavior. When you’re raised like that you’re more likely to be someone who beats people and drives drunk.

    Not the other way around; that she’s a crappy person who lies about this kinda stuff. Her DUI and beating incidents sort of BUILD her credibility and backs up that she’s had a crappy life… and explains why she would marry someone so lame, etc.

  10. The Observer says:

    Oh yes, they call those people pathological liars….

    remember a lie never travels alone…

    Shakira Mebarak owes me money. no joke.

  11. Ron says:

    14 YEARS later???? Please. Go back to the trailer from whence you came.

  12. nyc mama says:

    The video is very believable, not BS. For the poster who ask why this stuff always seems to happen to “white trash” girls, should be obvious to all. If any of her story is true, she was not given the resources (and frankly still doesn’t seem to have) needed to protect her self. Didn’t she literally grow up in a trailer with her mom. That was all part of her history. Sadly I find her story very believable.

  13. Bodhi says:

    I believe her too. No-one would make that shit up

  14. Mairead says:

    In one way I hope it is nonsense as it’s something you wouldn’t want to wish on anyone. The way that that paragraph is phrased is odd and makes it sound stilted, but perhaps the rest of the chapter gives more believeable detail.

    But the fact that she has waited so long to tell anyone does indicate to me that it’s true. I’ve known people who’ve gone through abuse as a child and as adults and believe me, it’s not something that most talk about and it can take years to come to terms with.

    You can’t underestimate the shame, denial and self-hatred that something like this can cause.

  15. OXA says:


  16. saintdevil says:

    Can’t decide if she’s BS-ing or not.

    If she is, it’s the worst crime against abused women she could possibly commit.

  17. HS says:

    Ho hum….YAWN…….

  18. Cindy Kennedy says:

    I think Tonya is simply trying to turn things around and make it look like she is the victim.

    I don’t believe one word that she says. I do feel sorry for her though.

  19. headache says:

    The guy she married was a skeezebucket but honestly I don’t know if she’s a compulsive liar, a media whore or a true victim so I’ll just leave it alone.

  20. Diva says:

    People DO make this kind of shit up, all the time! And it’s not at all out of character for this woman. Not one single part of me believes this, and I’m usually the first one with an open heart to the possibility. I’ve seen Harding a few times around town, and the woman giving that interview is NOT the Tonya Harding I’ve seen.

  21. M says:

    Hmm…am I the only one who thinks that looks nothing like her? I realize all that stuff happened years ago, but it doesn’t even look like her!
    On the other hand…I think she’s being genuine. She said she’s matured a lot recently and maybe she really has??

  22. Catlady says:

    When first reading this I was ready to call BS, but after viewing the video I believe her. The pain is there in her eyes and mannerisms and is very real.
    For those who bitch about her not saying anything for so long, if you did even a little bit of research on rape victims you will find that a high percentage of rapes go unreported, and many victims never tell anyone. That it took her so long does not surprise me in the least. It would also explain why after the Kerrigan incident her life seriously spun out of control and chaos ensued.

    Many victims of rape or abuse act out in this way and this would explain the craziness that ensued post Kerrigan. Rape doesn’t end when the act is over and victims can suffer for many, many years.

    Tonya does seem more calm and centered and I hope she has reached a turning point in her life and can have some happiness in the future. She’s dealt with enough chaos to last a few lifetimes IMO.

  23. Munche says:

    “Life… has ups and downs. When you go to hell and come back, there’s always light at the end of the tunnel.”

    I think she can fit a few more overused, cliches in those sentences. She forgot “I’ll hold my head up high”

  24. california angel says:

    Stupid people have the nerve to say that someone would make that up and then they wonder why people take their time coming forward or never come forward at all.

    And if you haven’t experienced it, don’t comment on it.

  25. Diva says:

    I HAVE experienced it, thank you very much, so keep your stupid.

    Working with the issue is how I’m very aware people fabricate.

  26. Other Karen says:

    If she was just looking for attention or money, she would have done this years ago. I doubt she would have put herself back up for public scrutiny if she wasn’t telling the truth.

  27. Anni says:

    those who never had to deal with this kind of things can easily go: yeah right, it´s BS, who would wait 14 years to talk about it.

    but truth is…raped women feel ashamed, humiliated and scared. some are afraid that no one will believe them, some are even told that it was their own fault, some never say a word till they die…some recover faster than others, but it´ll scarr your life forever. so don´t go and judge her, you´re are in no position.

    tonya has always been pictured as the devil himself so yeah, i can see why she didn´t tell her story earlier. who´d believe what that mean evil woman says anyways? here´s the evidence…even after all those years she´s still facing so much hatred…maybe you don´t like her, but pointing at her and call her a liar is wrong. we don´t know for sure what happend and when it comes to a matter this sensitive it´s better to keep those kinda thoughts to oneself.

  28. Horatio says:

    I’m SHOCKED that so many of you believe her after watching the video! Don’t you remember her whole crying act when she supposedly broke a shoelace while skating?? That was a setup because she knew she wasn’t going to skate well that day and sabotaged the laces!!!

    This woman will do ANYTHING for attention, from celebrity boxing to reality shows to crying rape.

    Think about this…if she was innocent in the Kerrigan attack, WHY IN HELL would her ex-husband do it??

  29. Diva says:

    She’s got them right where she wants them.

    She has a long history of telling lies about crimes, accusing people of doing all kinds of things to her… she’s done it a good half a dozen times.

  30. Sasha says:

    Beam this story back to 1994, when someone would have cared.

  31. kate says:

    this woman has lied sooooo many times that it’s impossible to know what to believe. i hope she gets some help.

  32. Kevin says:

    If she is doing this for money I would have rather she and Lindsey go 1 on 1 steel cage match,,,battle to the end. Not only would I pay to see that,,,it would be a service to mankind.

  33. ADD says:

    Bodhi, people “make that shit up” all the time. Look up “comedian” Lauren Weedman. She cried rape in college and has since made it her biggest punchline.

  34. dcp says:

    The woman is a sociopath. these types of people can lie very easily and sometimes even believe the lies they make up. Wake up people!!

  35. Lucinda says:

    I’m from Oregon and I’ve seen this woman around a lot. I’m not buying it. This interview looks very well-rehearsed to me. Every time her name drops from the media radar, something else comes up. Sadly, I wish it was true. But I think she is mentally ill and her mother probably is too. I do feel sorry for her. I hope at some point, she really does get help. And if this is legit, I wish her the best. But I just can’t buy it. 😕

  36. DogRunner says:

    I would not have recognized her! She is looking matronly.

  37. weaslygyrl says:

    She’s lying about not telling anyone. I live in the Portland area and she told this story already to the local news some time ago. We talked about it at work the next day about how she looked like she wasn’t telling the truth. Faking tears and all that crap.

  38. Chessie says:

    What a load of bull.

  39. JaneBlow says:

    Years ago on one of those E! or ET Tonight deals, she made this claim. The alleged rape is not news.

    Further, Tonya’s got a few issues we locals know a little more about, and from her recent video captured of her at an airport, it doesn’t look like much of anything has changed.

    Don’t buy it. Some people need to humble themselves and go get jobs, which reminds me, back to work….

  40. taherah says:

    She is just ridiculous. I don’t think she looks authentic in the least bit.

    It doesn’t take a genius either to look up how someone who was truly raped would react.

    Pull your old psych book off the bookshelf and read up a little bit… plop yourself in front of a mirror and rehearse rehearse rehearse. Or heck just watch the Lifetime Channel loads of examples there….

    I can’t believe she has the wool pulled over so many eyes.

    Gimme a break…she’s as annoying and fake now as she was then.

  41. wandablen says:

    doesn’t she kind fo remind you of pam from the office?

  42. Jerzgirl124 says:

    Uhh, it seems to me that with these negative responses no one out there must have never had any immaturity and/or problems out there… come on people we are all human and we ALWAYS wake up one day maybe sooner or later that we have to grow up and repent for the sins we had in our pasts. And as for Obama never attacking anyone… puulleeeease that joy is for his militant wife to do…as she has done! Who wants him as a president just becasue he is a colored man…big deal!! He is a militant too.

  43. risa kirk says:

    🙁 I always thought she was treated unfairly. I was severly, massively beaten as a kid with dents in my skull to prove it. everyone in my family-of course- said it NEVER happened. Abusers always say they as soooo innocent. She worked to the top despite poverty. and rich nancy kerrigan got everything handed to her on a silver -or probably GOLD platter. 😡

  44. Linda says:

    Dear Risa Kirk,
    I agree that Tonya had a tough upbringing, and in that respect, I do feel for her. However, the comments she has made and the actions she has taken are not exactly the epitome of an honest person. I honestly do not know what to believe. Nonetheless, I do hope she can get help and find peace in her life.

    On another note, your comments about Nancy Kerrigan are completely false. Nancy did not grow up in a wealthy family. Her father had to work three jobs and re-mortgage their house to pay her skating bills. There were times when her family could not afford new skates, and so she skated in ones that were two sizes too small and caused her feet to bleed. Yes, she did grow up with strong family support, but she certainly was not “handed everything” as you say. She had to work hard her whole life, and at one point attended college, worked, and skated. I have also met Nancy Kerrigan on several occasions, and can tell you that she is one of the kindest and most unassuming people I’ve met.

  45. Neil says:

    I met Tonya about 2 years ago. She came of as very sweet & feminine! She is very down to earth! I love that in a women!

  46. linda says:

    For some reason I always liked Tonya and never liked phoney Nancy. I am sorry for her fathers passing though…in that respect you can tell she loved him very much. But it always seemed like she thought she was above Tonya, like Tonya was not fit to shine her shoes or something. Nancy seems like a phoney snob. And did you all see how she treated Mickymouse years ago…LOL
    I do believe what Tonya says in her book by the way! And I believe she is truly sorry about being forced to do what she did.

  47. Jeff H. says:

    Have you seen the fantsy letters Tonya post on her web site ? I aways pulled for her just because Nancy K. was so prim but now I think Tonya will do anything for a dollar, she was more than likely the mastermind in the asault on Nancy.Would,nt be shocked to see her in XXX films in the future…….’RAPE’…LMAO