NOTE: This article contains sexual language and may be triggering for some readers. Please read at your own discretion.
Lydia Hearst has broken her silence about the sexual abuse allegations surrounding her husband Chris Hardwick.
Last week in an emotional personal essay, Hardwick’s ex-girlfriend Chloe Dykstra revealed years of alleged sexual and emotional abuse in a former relationship.
Entitled Rose Colored Glasses: A Confession, the essay chronicled the behaviour of one of Dykstra’s ex-boyfriends, believed by many to be Nerdist founder, Talking Dead and The Wall host Chris Hardwick. Various descriptors of the mystery man — his sobriety, his age compared to hers, his career trajectory — all pointed to Hardwick.
“This is not a statement in defense, this is a statement of defense,” Hearst wrote on Instagram. “Defense for all the women who have been sexually abused, raped, trafficked, and tortured; defense of all the people who this movement was started for. Over the last year the #MeToo movement has rightly aimed a spotlight directly on women whose stories needed to be told. As someone who has been involved in toxic relationships in the past, I know first hand the importance of sharing these stories and do not take this situation lightly.”
“I have made the decision to come out in support of my husband not out of obligation, but out of necessity to speak the truth about the person I know. Chris is nothing but loving and compassionate and is the only person who has stood by me, never judged me, helped me heal, and feel whole. To defend my husband would be giving credence to any of these accusations. I will not do that. Chris Hardwick is a good man,” she added. “I remain in complete support of my husband, and I believe that the truth will always win. #TimesUp because I know my truth and I believe in due process.”
Hearst, 33, and Hardwick, 46, got married in 2016.
“We have had a positive working relationship with Chris Hardwick for many years,” AMC’s statement read. “We take the troubling allegations that surfaced yesterday very seriously. While we assess the situation, Talking with Chris Hardwick will not air on AMC, and Chris has decided to step aside from moderating planned AMC and BBC America panels at Comic-Con International in San Diego next month.”
Hardwick issued a statement to Deadline about the alleged sexual assault allegations.
“These are very serious allegations and not to be taken lightly which is why I’ve taken the day to consider how to respond,” Hardwick said in a statement. “I was heartbroken to read Chloe’s post. Our three-year relationship was not perfect — we were ultimately not a good match and argued — even shouted at each other — but I loved her, and did my best to uplift and support her as a partner and companion in any way and at no time did I sexually assault her.”
Continuing his statement, Hardwick details the painful way their relationship came to an end, and admitted he was “blindsided” by her allegations.
“When we were living together, I found out that Chloe had cheated on me, and I ended the relationship,” Hardwick asserts. “For several weeks after we broke up, she asked to get back together with me and even told me she wanted to have kids with me, ‘build a life’ with me and told me that I was ‘the one,’ but I did not want to be with someone who was unfaithful,” he added.
“I’m devastated to read that she is now accusing me of conduct that did not occur,” the statement concludes. “l was blindsided by her post and always wanted the best for her. As a husband, a son, and future father, I do not condone any kind of mistreatment of women.”
Hardwick allegedly set strict rules for Dykstra, including forcing her to reserve her nights for him, not having close male friends, not drinking any alcohol because he was sober, not to speak in public places, and not taking pictures of them together.
“I made the choice to accept his controlling behaviour, as he’d just left his long-term girlfriend and I assumed that he was going through some serious emotional discomfort,” Dykstra wrote. “This was a huge mistake.”
Dykstra also claimed Hardwick sexually assaulted her, forcing her to have sex with him, even while she cried; he called this “starfishing” when a couple has sex despite one participant’s indifference.
“I’m still recovering from being sexually used (not in a super fun way) for three years,” she wrote.
“During all of this, I lost myself, both mentally and physically. I lost 15 lbs within weeks, started pulling out my hair (and had to get extensions regularly to hide it). I generally stopped speaking unless spoken to while with him, drifting through life like a ghost. I would try to sleep in as late as possible so my days were shorter. I stopped listening to music entirely. I ceased to be. I was an ex-person.”
None of Dykstra’s claims have been independently verified, and it has not been confirmed that Hardwick is the ex-boyfriend in question. Hardwick has not been charged with any crime.
If you or someone you know is experiencing abuse or is involved in an abusive situation, please visit the Canadian Resource Centre for Victims of Crime for help. They are also reachable toll-free at 1-877-232-2610.
— With files from Chris Jancelewicz