Mary Murphy reveals horrific abusive marriage

“So You Think You Can Dance” judge Mary Murphy is on the cover of US Weekly this week. Choreographer Murphy, 51, reveals in the accompanying interview that she was abused by her then-husband for over nine years in the early 80s, when she when in her early 20s. The details are heartbreaking. She was raped and beaten repeatedly in a typical cycle of severe abuse, reconciliation attempts, and then escalation. When Murphy learned that her husband had another girlfriend on the side, and had proposed to yet a different woman, she was able to get up the courage to leave him.

In the new issue of Us Weekly (on newsstands now), So You Think You Can Dance judge Mary Murphy opens up for the first time ever about surviving a nine-year abusive relationship, during which she was repeatedly raped and beaten and suffered a miscarriage.

She tells Us Weekly her ex-husband – whose name is being withheld but who says Murphy’s claims are “flat-out lies” – raped her for the first time three months after they wed.

“We’d had another jealous fight, screaming, crashing over furniture, and he said, ‘I want to have sex,’” Murphy, 51, tells Us Weekly. “I was like, ‘Are you kidding me?! We’re fighting here!’ He said, ‘You’re my wife, and you’ll do what I tell you!’ I pulled out a kitchen knife and screamed, ‘You’re going to have to stab me, because I’m not having sex with you!’ He knocked it out of my hands, held me down and raped me.”

Soon, she says, a pattern developed: “A fight, then rape, then presents: a dress, a diamond bracelet, earrings. In the first year or two, I’d fight back, but eventually, I’d just lie there. Get it over with, I thought. It’ll be quick anyway.”

For years, “I’d have black eyes and bruises,” she tells Us Weekly. “But I never called the police or went to the hospital. I didn’t want anybody to know.”

She says she got pregnant around 1982. “But in my fourth month, I miscarried,” she tells Us Weekly. “My husband was disgusted, saying I murdered our baby, because I’d done some light dancing the night before. I was sinking deeper and deeper at that point, just reeling into despair.”

In 1985, she learned her husband – who was from a wealthy, prominent family in the Middle East – had proposed to another woman during one of his Middle East trips.

The news made her feel as if “I’d been hit by a sledgehammer,” and after discovering that he had another girlfriend in Germany, she says she was “motivated” to finally leave him.

Murphy, who was teaching dance, eventually saved up enough money to leave and drove to San Diego, where she called her husband to ask for a divorce.

Says Murphy, “I faced him one more time to sign the papers, and then I never heard from him again.”

[From US Weekly]

That sounds awful and it makes you wonder how she was able to just get through the day living with a creep like that. Mary has gone on to massive success as a dancer, dance instructor and TV personality. She has her own dance studio in San Diego, which she opened in 1990, and had a successful competitive ballroom dancing career in the early 90s. She was made a permanent judge on SYTYCD in 2008 and is known for her bubbly enthusiasm and cute phrases like calling dancers “hot tamales.”

Maybe Mary’s very sobering story will help other women in that situation realize that there’s always a way out and hope for a better life. I just hope that the article emphasizes that you don’t have to do it alone like she did and that there are people and organizations who can help you and your children escape an abusive relationship.

Thanks to CoverAwards for the US cover.

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19 Responses to “Mary Murphy reveals horrific abusive marriage”

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  1. Firestarter says:

    I hate abusers!

    Good for her, telling her story and maybe giving others the courage to get out and get help in similar relationships.

  2. OGECHI says:


  3. Darlene says:

    Bless her. What a survivor.

  4. BitterBetty says:

    That is absolutely horrible.
    what an amazing woman Mary is to survive something like that. and what a sad excuse for a human being her ex is…

  5. Diwali6 says:

    Expose the b@stards name! Ruin is life the best way you can.

  6. Rosalee says:

    I wish every woman and man caught in an physically,or emotionally abusive relationship would read her story and know there is a very different life they can lead if only they can find the courage to walk out the door and never look back.

  7. Prissa says:

    I love her laugh. She cracks me up every time she laughs!

  8. MartyQ says:

    Sad. Hard to live a decent life when you have low self-esteem. She pulled a knife on him in the beginning yet stayed for years? Sounds like two out-of-control animals. No crisis shelters can boost someone’s self-esteem.

  9. Katyusha says:

    I love Mary Murphy…she kills me!

  10. Trillion says:

    The girl’s got guts. Others need to hear that this happens across all social, economic, etc. lines and most importantly, that you can overcome victim status and make something fun and beautiful of your life once you get the courage to leave.

  11. Merridith says:

    I can’t stand this woman! She is the reason I never watch SYTYCD, because of her noisy screaming mouth, she is the loudest most obnoxious thing on Tv, I’d want to punch her to to shut her up!! Whenever she is on anothe show, the dish or soup I mute the tv before she starts screaming like a fool.

  12. Jo 'Mama' Besser says:

    Holy Frijoles, why so angry?

  13. Ben says:

    Do you honestly think she did not abuse him back?

    What’s abusive is this one-sided story. If this news was being told objectively we would have to read about his side as well.

  14. I Choose Me says:

    Hmm, I hear this a lot from women in abusive cases. When I discovered that he was cheating on me I finally decided to end it once and for all. I’m not judging, I’m just interested in the psychology of that. Is it that they’ve convinced themselves that he truly loves them in spite of the abuse, but that once they discover that he’s boffing someone else the illusion breaks? Anybody got any thoughts on this?

  15. NFLer says:

    I think the word “horrific” is over-used also like the word “devastating.”
    At first I thought he set her on fire or poured boiling water on her, or something very extreme.

  16. Carol says:

    Just read on one of the many sites that Mary Murphy’s yet-to-be-divorced from first spouse in her early 20s, is from a prominent Middle East country. These countries are strongly religious and…patriarchal and ownership is a big part of the culture.
    I feel really bad for women who meet Middle Eastern men in the U.S. where these men go to school and treat their spouses as sexual slaves, as a commodity. Very few Middle Eastern countries and the men from these country’s, see their spouses a equal partners, either socially or politically.
    I applaud your bravery in getting out when you discovered what he was up to.
    It has to be taken a tremendous psychological toll on you, STILL being afraid of him and expecting him to come after you. Perhaps now, Mary, that time has passed, you could consider getting a restraining order on him from the United States. You would need a lawyer and so would he and he’d probably stand a better chance of making his accusations stick. The ‘brother’s stick together. I think of the Queen of Jordan, an American commoner who married King Abdul and their marriage worked out fine as did Princess Rania, I think, also from the U.S. who married King Abul’s younger brother and they are somewhat equals.

  17. John says:

    Look at her wedding picture. First of all, she’s in a Christian wedding dress so she was married to someone Christian.

  18. Aspie says:

    Good point @ I Choose Me. I wondered the same thing when I read the article about her. I wondered why it took him cheating on her before the relationship ended completely. I’m very interested in the psychology behind her reasons. I’m glad she finally escaped that horrible relationship, however.

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