Melissa George on the attack by her ex: ‘I tried to fight for my life’

Last September we heard that actress Australian actress Melissa George, whom you might know from The Good Wife, had been violently abused by her partner of five years, French businessman Jean-David Blanc, in their apartment in Paris. Melissa and Jean-David have two children together, sons aged 3 and 16 months. Following an attack at their apartment, Melissa took an uber to the police station to file a report, where she was visibly bruised and vomiting from a head injury inflicted by Jean-David. Jean-David claims that Melissa attacked him first and that he was defending himself, however she maintains that he attacked her and that she simply fought back. Despite the fact that only Melissa had visible injuries, including a huge bruise around her left eye, a French judge convicted them both of assault this February. They’re both appealing the ruling. Currently they’re in a custody battle, with Melissa hoping to get the right to return to Australia with her young sons, Raphaël and Solal.

Melissa gave an interview to Australian TV program Sunday Night. You can watch the full video on their website, it’s not region restricted. She explains her side of the night she was attacked and it’s heartbreaking:

On the night of attack she was sleeping when Jean-David came in early in the morning
I woke up and just wanted sleep but he walked in and made noise and watched a movie, eating food, just didn’t have any respect for my sleep at all. I think after years after that I just artated yelling at him and then it just escalated into a 27 minute fight. It started with him on top of me, with my arms locked above my head. I used my feet to get him off me for five minutes. I wet the bed, I went the floor. I just went into a crazy ‘I’m in deep shit.’ I just tried to fight for myself, which made him more angry, which made me more angry and he pushed me into the door and then struck my face and I hit the wall and fell on the floor and I was out. He stood over me and said, ‘Now you’re a real actress.’

He went into the bathroom and when he came back I stood up and said ‘you’re not leaving until I call the police.’ He hit my mouth and then I tried to stop him from leaving because I wanted the police to come and see what happened. After all of that he grabbed the back of my head and smashed it on the metal thing where you hang your coats. I scratched him, I tried to fight for my life. He disappeared, went down into his office to have a sleep. I was wet, had blood in my mouth, I was really full of adrenaline and sad and sick and vomiting.


They had an interview with the uber driver who picked her up that night and he explained very clearly that he saw how bloody and injured Melissa was when he took her to police. She said she couldn’t walk or even turn her neck afterwards she was so badly hurt. She was vomiting at the police station so they called an ambulance for her and took her to hospital. There are photos of Melissa’s bruises taken eight days after the attack. She has bruises all over, including around her left eye.

Her ex has a lot of money and power and is trying to keep Melissa in Paris under their custody agreement, if she wants to be with her boys. He already blocked her from leaving France with the boys when she had to leave to the US for work. She’s still nursing the youngest and said she didn’t intend to leave and not come back. They currently share custody, with each side getting one week with the boys. Jean-David has taunted her for still nursing Soliel and he continually texts and taunts her.

Jean-David’s argument in court is that she’s crazy and bipolar and faked the attack, which is so typical of an abuser. She said that she was examined by doctors who found that she’s not bipolar at all. Melissa explained that she doesn’t have family and can’t work in France because she doesn’t have a visa to work there. She doesn’t even have health insurance. Of course she isn’t getting any child support either. I don’t understand how authorities ruled that it was a mutual attack when she was the only one who was injured. Was she not supposed to fight back? Is the only “real” victim a passive one? This was hard to watch and I hope that she is able to return to Australia. Given that the kids were raised in France so far and that she’s already been deemed half responsible for her attack, she’s really fighting an uphill battle.


photos credit: Getty and screenshots from Sunday Night

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44 Responses to “Melissa George on the attack by her ex: ‘I tried to fight for my life’”

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  1. QQ says:

    This is a really really awful, story like my stomach is churning rn tbh

  2. Embee says:

    What a perfectly horrible situation. I am sick for her.

  3. Aims says:

    This sounds horrific . She sounds trapped in the worst way. She can’t work, the law is not on her side , her ex isn’t helping out financially and she is in a very ugly custody battle . Sending my support to her . Absolutely horrible .

    • Anna says:

      And to have no support of family, in a foreign country and unable to take her babies with her. He probably isn’t even a caregiver. He’s probably a 15 minute a day parent. I am afraid she hasn’t a leg to stand on in terms of leaving the country with those babies. I am sending her prayers of strength and hope. Strength to build a life in France and to get her Visa situation sorted out. Also the strength to continue working, if outside of the country for periods of time without her kids. There is simply nothing more heartbreaking for a parent.

  4. Nikki says:

    What a disgrace; I’m speechless reading any court can rule it was a “mutual” assault!

  5. ell says:

    ‘Is the only “real” victim a passive one?’

    honestly, that seems to be the case. you’re either the perfect victim, passive and depressed, or you’re no victim at all. and this is also problematic when it’s the other way round, women abusing men, which is apparently emasculating and not taken seriously at all.

    • LoveShoes says:

      I have no empathy or compassion towards men who beat up women. I feel, as a survivor of physical and mental abuse, that men only beat up women because they feel threatened by them so they resort to violence. In regards to legal troubles, my heart goes out to her as I feel that the French judicial system holds no empathy for her or her children. She needs to work to,support her children. Lastly, her husband is not a man. True men do not beat up women.

    • Erica_V says:

      That question reminds me of the fantastic recent Tracey Ullman skit about a man being robbed. “Well, did you scream? Did you try and fight back? Did you really just give up your wallet?”

      A victim is a victim is a victim. It’s so gross how our society gives them degrees of validity depending on their response to the situation.

  6. manda says:

    I don’t envy her international custody battle. I don’t think that the French courts will be sympathetic towards her if they think she was as guilty of assault as her husband. Hopeful she can get through this unscathed. Always liked Melissa George

    • nem says:

      french justice is a classist racist misogynist mess.
      think about the dsk scandal in new york ,it will not have exist was known he had big problem with handling women, a lot of nasty rumours and facts , but people keep defending him.
      we have a lot of abusing assaulting celebrities free from trial and prison when a man who has stolen a cheese after three days witout eating is put in jail.
      her husband is in a good position,in his own country where he must have a great network.i hope she finds solid support,she needs it.

      • Moon says:

        @NEM I agree France is surprisingly backwards and conservative when it come support to women, minority LGBT rights and laws. It’s not a progressive country like you would think think. I feel awful for her, the whole she is crazy and attacked herself sounds like medieval baloney.

  7. Mia4S says:

    If he’s texting I hope her lawyer has her saving every single one. The French legal system should be utterly ashamed of a mutual assault finding. Even if (devil’s advocate) there was anything mutual his response would be considered grossly excessive in any civilized society.

    Sadly if they insist on upholding this “mutual” nonesense she is very unlikely to get the chance to move away with the kids. Awful.

    • nem says:

      french justice worships rich cis white male patriarchy,as it is made by them for them.
      french parliament is notorious for his laws customized for rich people to avoid comdemnations for money and sex abuse.
      few years ago we had a big scandal about harassment law which was canceled,as it was a badly made one.during this time it has stopped cases like work abuse related trials to go on, and has profited to some criminals

    • Bridget says:

      Here’s in the US we get a bad rap, but France is notoriously preferential to men when it comes to gendered crimes like this.

      • nem says:

        that s why the reputation of romantic lovers in france from rose tinted glasses from abroad has always made me laugh a lot…
        men here are usually bold spoiled rotten pervy grown up boys, some make work and public places unpleasant areas for women.
        they like to make america (before trump) feminist paranoia dictatorship when sexism is central to relation between male and female at home.
        they have bewildering expectations for their spouse (beauty class sex appeal but good reputation,brains but must shut when they talk,successful but not more than them) but will cheat and leave them for a younger or better’on social ladder things at 40 ( celebrity example :vincent cassel has left the magnificent and classy monica bellucci for young tween who could be his daughter. and made a film which defends this may december romance.)

  8. Goldie says:

    The infuriating thing is that women are also criticized for *not* fighting back hard enough. I remember when journalist Don Lemon interviewed one of Bill Cosby’s rape victims, and he ha the audacity to tell her that she could have prevented him from orally raping her, if only she had bitten his penis . Meanwhile, if a woman does defend themselves when being attacked, it’s ruled as a “mutual attack”. It’s so unfair.
    Anyway, my heart goes out to Melissa. Hope the custody situation works out for her.

  9. Veronica says:

    And as usual, an abuse victim gets accused of “reciprocal assault” rather than self defense. I suppose the only perfect victim is one that dies during the assault so they don’t have the audacity of remaining human afterwards.

  10. Sayrah says:

    Terrible. Did they charge them both because she wouldn’t let him leave?

  11. Beatrix says:

    My father was violent all throughout my childhood, so I sympathize and feel for Melissa and her children. She is a victim and we shouldn’t work to undermine her account. I do, however, find the following statement to be odd: “I woke up and just wanted sleep but he walked in and made noise and watched a movie, eating food, just didn’t have any respect for my sleep at all. I think after years after that I just artated yelling at him and then it just escalated into a 27 minute fight.” 27minutes exactly? strange. There’s also something to the idea of yelling and responding in a violent way to the asshole’s clear disregard for her comfort. Although maybe she has simply asked for or requested some space to sleep in the past and resorted to yelling just this one time… I don’t know. I’ve liked her since I saw her in Alias and have followed her for years. She dated Russell Simmons for a while and there was some shadiness there too. Anyhow, I don’t want to discredit her character, she is the victim and that’s the end of that sentence.

    • nem says:

      maybe she remembers time because she had to look at it when being woken up and take an uber.(communications on apps are registered with time on smartphone)
      noise ,light and sleep privation are torture methods which are really awfully effective.i had a colocation which had a bad ending after months of begging to turn off tv sound during nights .
      some people are just egocentric abusers without any empathy

      • jerkface says:

        Exactly. Sleep deprivation is a common form of abuse that coincides with verbal and mental abuse. A tired mom with two young kids asleep in the house. If it were a Madea movie she would have just hit him in the head with a frying pan. But t hats just movie land.

      • mrspanda says:

        Yep she was quite specific with other things earlier in the interview also (exact time at the hospital, police station etc. She would have been over the details many times in court/s by now (and probably originally pieced it together by the Uber records as nem said; perhaps she looked at the clock when he first came home or they even have surveillance/alarm records etc). She’s been through so much court already that all those details will be in her head. Poor thing must have been so scared but also angry, I think she was in fight or flight and the adrenaline was going and it sounded sickening and horrible 🙁

    • pinetree13 says:

      I’m glad someone else commented on that. I agree she was abused and the finding should NOT have been mutual assault but her interview comments are hard for me to interpret. Here she says: ” I wet the bed, I went the floor. I just went into a crazy ‘I’m in deep shit.’”

      I don’t understand that sentence. Did she pee her pants (she says later she was wet) and fell on the floor? Like I literally do not understand.

      • nem says:

        maybe she wets the bed because she was traumatized and frightened or prevented from quitting to go to the toilets?
        the situation was crazy.poor her

      • Kit says:

        It’s a spelling error in the quote. She wet the bed, then she wet the floor.

        Also regarding the assaults, his charges were far more serious. She was charged with scratching him. Her penalty, a fine, was a fraction of his (also a fine). So it was recognised that there was a significant difference in the seriousness of the assaults, but why she was charged at all for defending herself is still kind of revolting.

    • Emily says:

      Coming in and being an asshole when someone is trying to sleep is a great way to start a fight with someone, if you ask me. He pushes her far enough, she mouths off or even lightly smacks him and then he’s “justified” in beating her up. I doubt they’re living in a one-room house with only one tv, right?

      And 27 minutes is probably a number she just pulled out of thin air. So what?

    • Beatrix says:

      Everyone makes valid points. I wish her and her children well, I know the fear and dread that comes after escaping an abuser and it takes a long time to recover from mentally as well as physically.

    • ronaldinhio says:

      Her responding in a verbally abusive way to someone once sleep deprived does not equal his use of physical abuse
      Equally calling into question her evidence as though Celebitchy CSI is shitty

      She and her children are lucky she survived this. Calling into question details of a survivor’s story is poor imo and something I hope never happens to you or yours
      I deal daily with survivors of dv. All everyone wants to do is ‘prove’ what liars they are or how they contributed
      This is victim blaming

  12. jerkface says:

    The authorities in America also respond in this fashion. If you fight back (fight off) your partner they tell you that you should have just gotten away and called the police. Never mind that the police don’t always believe you when they call and often release the abuser the same night and allow them to return to the shared home. So in the eyes of the law yo are supposed to just take the physical blows and be like, oh excuse me, can you please stop beating me so I can call the damn cops because if I use my god given right to defend myself from injury or death I’ll be arrested for domestic assault as well. This is part of the reason why there has been so much discussion about repealing the Violence Against Women Act even though the thought of that sounds counterintuitive. The reason it is being suggested is that women and minors who have gotten into tiffs with parents end up behind bars more than the adult or abuser in the situation and they have proven that statistically they are more prone to suicide/suicide attempts while in police custody. It is trauma after trauma after trauma for people who find themselves in such a situation and I pray to the universe each day that people who suffer in such a way find true relief in this god forsaken world.

    • detritus says:

      Authorities in Canada too.

      My friend pushed her abusive ex off of her, she scratched him while doing so. Cops told her she would be charged and possibly jailed unless she pressed charges first, and immediately.

      Super fun to deal with all that. It’s great when you say, please hon, call the cops, he’s violent, i’m scared for you life. and get back ‘i can’t call the cops because they’ll charge me too’.

      love it. makes so much sense, definitely encourages safety in the community. the extra sad part is, apparently the cops in our jurisdiction are significantly better trained that surrounding areas.

  13. Miss Grace Jones says:

    Unfortunately I find abusive behavior in such wealthy men completely unsurprising and even expected at this point.

    • nem says:

      i agree why would they stop when they nearly always win? it s flabbergasting

    • MrsBadBob says:

      Women need to be taught self-defense, if he ended up in the hospital, he would very quickly learn not to hit women.

      • kay says:

        mrsbadbob, but it actually sounds like if she HAD been capable of serious self defense she would then have been charged and the custody case would be even worse.
        this is such a fucked up situation, i cannot believe it.
        ironically, i also DO believe that women should take self defense, but now i read that here in canada, and states and france (and gods know where else) that defending yourself can lead to being charged.

      • Otaku Fairy says:

        It still would have lead to her getting charged too though.

  14. Esmom says:

    Omg, horrifying. My heart goes out to her. I hope justice is served and that she is able to get safely away with her babies eventually.

  15. pinetree13 says:

    Off Topic: I feel like people should really take seriously stories like these when it comes to deciding to have children in another country. It seems like we are reading a lot of these tales where upon separation one spouse is fighting to get the kids in another country. I mean this is obviously different than divorce (he sounds like a psycho) but at the end of the day it’s another person fighting to get their kids out of the country. I think if you are going to have kids in another country you need to think ahead that you would be okay to stay there if you ever were to separate. As it’s a very scary scenario…trapped somewhere you can’t even work and know no one. Ugh.

    • nem says:

      france -america divorces are notorious for this.
      i don’ t like scarlett johansson but i hope for her her case won’t get nasty

    • Valois says:

      I agree with you. This is obviously a more complicated situation because of the abuse (and I believe her, just for the record), but moving to a country and having children with a citizen of said country without being able to make a living in that country is not an ideal scenario.

      I think that generally speaking (!), if you have children with someone from another country and you raise them in that country, you can’t just pack your things, take your child and leave in case of a divorce.

  16. teacakes says:

    This is terrifying and awful, and the worst of it is that she’s charged with assault when SHE is the victim!

    • nem says:

      you should read about the story of jacqueline sauvage. she has had to request a presidential grace because she wasn’t a good enough victim of domestic abuse for the trial.
      she has killed her torturer husband of 40 years who had raped their daughters ( who had given testimonies in her favor.)

  17. serena says:

    This is heartbreaking.. wtf was the judge thinking? I really hope she’ll have the chance to go back to Australia with her sons -getting full custody- and leave that deadbeat ex-husband in France. This is so unfair.

  18. Ana says:

    Wow, that’s just horrible. Shame on that judge too. While there’s a lot of physically abusive women, a man who is just “defending himself” is not going to leave her in that condition. And then people ask why battered spouses don’t leave their partners.

  19. Jess says:

    How awful. I can’t believe she has to go through all of this.