Blake Jenner: Who is Glee actor accused of domestic abuse by ex-wife Melissa Benoist?

Actor recently opened up about 2019 abuse allegations from ex-wife Melissa Benoist

Louis Chilton
Friday 09 October 2020 10:59
Melissa Benoist says that she is a survivor of domestic violence

Blake Jenner has addressed the claims of mental, emotional, and physical abuse made against him by his ex-wife and Supergirl actor Melissa Benoist.

While Jenner had not been explicitly named in the allegations, Benoist spoke last November about suffering abuse at the hands of a former partner who was younger than her.  Many interpreted this to be Jenner.

Benoist alleged that she was “pinned down and slapped repeatedly, punched so hard I felt the wind go out of me, dragged by my hair across pavement, head-butted, pinched until my skin broke, shoved against the wall so hard the drywall broke [and] choked”.

In a recent Instagram post, Jenner, who said he was responding to a post made in late 2019, has admitted that he once “threw a phone aimlessly and hit my former partner in her face”. 

“I froze in a state of shock and horror as my then-partner screamed in anguish, her eye immediately swollen shut from the impact of the phone,” he wrote.

In his post, Jenner said he took “full responsibility and accountability for the hurt that I inflicted during my relationship with my past partner — emotionally, mentally and yes, physically”.

“Without absolving myself of any responsibility,” he continued, “it’s important to understand that there was mental, emotional and physical abuse inflicted on both ends.”

Benoist, who had described a phone-throwing incident in her 2019 video, admitted at the time to “fighting back” after suffering abuse.

In the same post, Jenner – who did not specially name Benoist when discussing his relationship – claimed he passed on jobs because of “jealousy of prospective female co-stars”. 

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He said he was “discouraged from and threatened to not develop relationships with and take photos with female co-stars at professional events", and alleged that his “former partner” threatened self-harm “out of depression and deep-seated fear of abandonment”. 

He went into further detail of the emotional and physical abuse including a shower incident that allegedly left him with “a traumatic injury”.

The Independent has contacted representatives for Jenner and Benoist for comment.

Jenner was born in Miami in 1992. He moved to LA immediately after leaving high school, with the intention of pursuing an acting career.

Jenner got his break in acting in the Ryan Murphy series Glee, starring as transfer student Ryder Lynn in the series’ fourth, fifth and sixth seasons, which ran between 2012 and 2015.

He came to the role having won the second season of The Glee Project, a reality TV contest which rewarded its winner with a guaranteed character arc on Glee.

It was on the set of Glee that he met Benoist, who played the role of Marley Rose from 2012 to 2014. 

The pair married in 2015, with Benoist filing for divorce the following year.

After Glee, Jenner featured in prominent roles in Richard Linklater’s college comedy Everybody Wants Some! and acted alongside Hailee Steinfeld in The Edge of Seventeen in 2016.

He later appeared in the true-crime heist film American Animals in 2018, and in the Netflix miniseries What/If in 2019.

Jenner is also currently set to star in Linklater’s adaptation of the Stephen Sondheim musical Merrily We Roll Along, which is being filmed over the course of 20 years.