Terry Crews Reveals Details About His Abusive Upbringing

During the latest episode of “Running Wild with Bear Grylls,” actor Terry Crews reflected on his difficult childhood and other parts of his journey to Hollywood while climbing with adventure enthusiast Bear Grylls across a treacherous terrain in Iceland. The “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” star revealed why he became obsessed with physical fitness and explained it all starts with his father. 

The actor described how for over two decades he  would visit the gym to get in the best possible shape as a way to “fight” his father, Terry Crews Sr. and defend his mother from the abuse. 

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“Growing up [for me] was not a good experience. My father was very abusive. He used to beat my mother,” the 52-year-old revealed in the episode. “So it was one of those things where I knew I had to get stronger because one day I thought I’d have to fight him. That’s how it started out.”

The John Henry star also described the time when he finally stood up to his dad.

“Bear, I beat this man,” Crews confessed. “I remember he was begging, begging, and all I could think of was, like, this is how my mother felt. How do you like it? And this is the thing, Bear. I thought it would feel good. And he’s on the ground, bleeding, crying, and I didn’t feel one bit better. It left me with nothing.”

This isn’t the first time Crews spoke out about his relationship with this father. In 2014, the Michigan native revealed how he forgave his dad for the emotional, mental and physical pain he inflicted to him and his family. 

“I started giving Big Terry credit for what he did do. He was a good earner. He was a good provider,” he said. “I never excused what had been wrong, but also being able to see the positive finally changed my perspective. It changed my view of our story.”

He went on to disclose how he also battled depression after his time in the NFL, where he played linebacker and defensive end for the San Diego Chargers, Los Angeles Rams and the Washington Redskins in the 1990s.

“One thing I noticed is that if you make everything sports-specific, all of sudden, when the sport is over, guys just waste away,” said Crews. “There was a time in my life where I got overweight because I was depressed. I’m depressed, I need something, I need a change, I need to go to the gym 21 days straight. That 21-day period turned into 21 years.”

Crews concluded that although his relationship with his dad is not completely repaired, he has moved on and has attended therapy to heal. 

“Running Wild With Bear Grylls” airs on National Geographic and features world-renowned survivalist Bear Grylls  along with several celebrity guests including Crews, Anthony Mackie, Danica Patrick, Rainn Wilson, Keegan-Michael Key, Danny Trejo, Bobby Bones, and Caitlin Parker. Each week, a new celebrity guest leaves the luxury of their homes to join Bear for a no-holds-barred journey through some of the most extreme environments in the world where inevitably the celebrity digs deep to test their mental and physical limits.

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