Christina Aguilera focused on Julie Andrews singing “The Sound of Music” when her brutal childhood overwhelmed her. “I felt caged by my childhood,” the singer told W Magazine in 2011. “And unsafe: bad things happened in my home; there was violence.” Aguilera later said that her father was physically and emotionally abusive to her throughout her childhood. She says that her relationship with her husband helped her finally break the cycle of abuse.
Aguilera has auctioned off concert tickets and memorabilia to benefit domestic violence charities, and supports the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, Refuge, and the Women’s Center and Shelter of Greater Pittsburgh, among other causes.
April Hernandez-Castillo: Too Ashamed to Speak Up
Among her many roles, April Hernandez-Castillo has appeared on the TV shows Law and Order and ER, and in the film Freedom Writers. Her success belies a daunting past — as a teenager, Hernandez-Castillo’s boyfriend abused her physically and emotionally. Like many people who have experienced domestic violence, she allowed her shame to prevent her from telling anyone, and she remained in the abusive relationship for three more years.
“When survivors of domestic partner violence enter into these relationships, they often see their partner as tender and passionate, and place them at the center of their universe,” says Peaty. Luckily, Hernandez-Castillo emerged from the relationship, and now she says that she’s thankful she got out alive.
These days, she balances her acting career with a ministry she began with her husband, Jose. She is a certified youth chaplain who visits youth facilities in New York City. “I realize that all of these kids have powerful stories to tell. I want them to know that their story can be powerful help to others. They can take their mess and make it into a message, and create something positive no matter the situation,” says Hernandez-Castillo.