How ‘This Is Us’ Star Chrissy Metz Overcame Her Dark Childhood and Learned to Love Herself

On one of NBC’s most popular shows of 2017, Chrissy Metz plays a 30-something aspiring singer who makes a pact with a total stranger to lose weight. On the show, she’s a woman with a loving — though tragic — past. In real life, her story isn’t quite so heartwarming.

In her book This Is Me, Metz reflected on all the lessons she learned since trading her abusive childhood for the job of a lifetime.

She did not get along with her stepfather

Chrissy Metz on a red carpet.

The star’s stepfather verbally and physically abused her. | Rich Polk/Getty Images for Guild of Music Supervisors

Metz recalled feeling like her body “seemed to offend him,” according to People. When she was still in elementary school, her stepfather, Trigger, would make jokes about her eating habits and scold her every time she reached for food. As she got older, his behavior did not improve — it got worse.

Next: She needed some kind of escape, so she chose food.

Food was ‘her only happiness’

Chrissy Metz wearing a colorful dress on a red carpet.

Chrissy Metz was stuck in a cycle. | Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images for The Critics’ Choice Awards

Growing up without money to spare meant food was something Metz was afraid to lose. She said, “We had lived with a lack of food for so long that when it was there, I felt like I had to eat it before it disappeared.” That gave Trigger a target for his hurtful words and actions.

Next: Her size became a major problem.

Her weight became a source of emotional abuse

Chrissy Metz at a podium.

She was abused for her weight. | John Sciulli/Getty Images for Motion Picture & Television Fund

Eventually, her go-to escape became the root cause of her pain. The more she ate — and the more weight she gained as a result — the angrier her stepfather seemed to get. He would force her to step on a scale and scolded her for “getting fatter.”

Next: This wasn’t the only kind of abuse Chrissy Metz experienced.

Her stepfather also abused her physically

Chrissy Metz on a red carpet.

Things weren’t always good. | Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

Even before the weigh-ins began, Trigger started hitting her — as if his nonstop verbal abuse weren’t enough. Metz recalled always wondering what she had done wrong. Turning to food to cope, the seemingly endless cycle continued — until it stopped.

Next: Her career isn’t a coincidence.

She used comedy to get through it

Chrissy Metz at the Golden Globe Awards.

The actress found her true calling in the entertainment industry. | Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

Growing up, she had to find something besides food to help her deal. Singing and acting are just as much a part of her story as the many years she spent abused, and she says she believes that “everything that happened to me, happened for me.” Eventually, she moved to Los Angeles to pursue a career in entertainment.

Next: She does have a few nice things to say about her stepdad.

Now, she has more than a dream career

Chrissy Metz at the Gracie Awards in 2017.

Chrissy Metz is definitely living her best life. | Charley Gallay/Getty Images

In her memoir, Metz also wrote that she and her stepfather have moved past their dark times and now get along fine. She loves and cares about him and says their relationship is just one of many things she has learned by overcoming her childhood hardships and loving herself enough to pursue her dream.

Next: Chrissy Metz’s real-life history made her perfect for this show.

Chrissy Metz plays a TV character she can relate to

Kate Pearson on NBC's 'This is Us'.

Chrissy Metz relates greatly to Kate on This Is Us. | NBC

Unlike Metz, her This Is Us character, Kate, grew up in a loving and supportive home. In real life, Metz has had to overcome years of abuse, all related to her weight. Both women have dealt with complicated relationships with food, though, and have learned over time to love themselves.

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