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Evan Rachel Wood recalls rise from ruins of ‘romance’ with shock-rocker Marilyn Manson

Evan Rachel Wood recalls one of the darkest periods of her life, in Phoenix Rising.

Evan Rachel Wood recalls one of the darkest periods of her life, in Phoenix Rising.

Published Apr 24, 2022


In this #MeToo era, more and more appalling stories are coming to light. And the stories are about industry giants that have been adulated for years.

In essence, their fame, for the longest time, had many turning a blind eye to the wrongs. And the silence was tantamount to morally repugnant behaviour being made acceptable.

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Abusers are now being outed in documentaries like “Surviving R Kelly” and “Allen vs. Farrow”.

And actress and model, Evan Rachel Wood has chosen to unpack her disturbing relationship with Marilyn Manson (real name Brian Hugh Warner), in Amy Berg’s two-part documentary “Phoenix Rising”.

You’ve probably heard of the accusations? Spotted a headline or two about the toxic relationship?

The documentary pieces it together and brings it home in a way that you are left almost defeated, reliving the trauma Evan suffered on so many levels.

Throughout it all, she was putting on a brave face for the cameras and honouring her acting commitments.

It’s heartbreaking hearing how she was robbed of her young adult years where, at 18, she found herself being groomed and love-bombed by a 37-year-old man only to later find herself spiralling down an abyss of despair.

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It got to a point where ending it all was considered to stop the pain, torture and abuse.

In “Phoenix Rising”, she goes into painstaking detail about her generational family violence and how, in the vulnerable state that it left her in, she ended up in an on-again, off-again relationship with the idolised rock star, whom she refers to as Brian.

In the doccie, her divorced actor parents, Sara Lynn Moore, who was also Evan’s momager, and dad David, weigh in on this dark phase of Evan’s life. Her brother, Ira, also an actor and her closest ally, opened up about what he witnessed, too.

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While paging through her journals and photos, Evan dropped bombshell after bombshell, recounting her time with Brian and being roped into his cult.

She met him at a Chateau Marmont party. At the time, she was the name on Hollywood’s lips following the success of “Thirteen”.

Young, beautiful and carefree, he was drawn to her like a moth to a flame. She admits to not being attracted to him, initially. Nor was she a fan of his music.

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They started as friends, over time with him wanting to collaborate with her on his Phantasmagoria project. The film was never made.

That said, she admired his heroic honesty and knack for calling people out on their hypocrisy.

Sara Lynn Moore shares her heartbreaking story of watching her daughter being preyed upon.

As time wore on, she was stripped of her independence.

Gradually, his encouraging messages changed. He became more controlling and manipulative.

She called it “fake empathy in the form of manipulation, trying to isolate me from my friends and family”.

She found herself retreating from her family and friends.

Her isolation left her more vulnerable to his abusive military tactics of sleep deprivation in freezing temperatures.

Evan couldn’t pinpoint when she got hooked on drugs but she recalled it got worse, especially when she suspected it was being laced with meth.

She lived in a constant state of fear. And it’s understandable given the trauma she’s been through where she had to prove her love by carving an “M” onto her skin, right next to her privates.

She also recalled being raped on camera while he was filming his “Heart-Shaped Glasses” video and, on several occasions, later in their relationship when she was in a drug-induced state.

In all her accounts, it is clear that Evan suffered physical, emotional and psychological abuse. That kind of pain doesn’t go away.

But this isn’t a story of a victim – it’s a story of a survivor and many others.

It’s about Evan finding her purpose and strength as an activist. It’s about her plucking up the courage to help in getting the Phoenix Act passed, which extended the statute of limitations in domestic-violence cases from three to five years.

“Phoenix Rising” unpacks a lot. Evan, who also came out as bisexual, did move on. She has a son from her short-lived marriage to Jamie Bell.

Sadly, some wounds don’t heal. But the acknowledgement of her pain and suffering, especially when asked for a statement by the FBI, offered some solace.

It’s unsettling listening to what Evan has gone through. And her tale moves you to tears. But, as much as she has gone through hell and back, she is also a reminder of how courage cuts through the silence and fear.

“Phoenix Rising” is streaming on Showmax.