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26th Oct 2023

Jennifer Zamparelli bravely opens up about a past abusive relationship

Jennifer Zamparelli

By sharing her story, she has brought so much awareness to the signs of an abusive relationship and hope for other victims experiencing the same.

Jennifer Zamparelli has bravely revealed that she was once in an abusive relationship, writes Jody Coffey. The presenter detailed the relationship with her co-host Lottie Ryan in the latest episode of her podcast, Jen and Lottie do… Parenting.

Zamparelli admitted she has never spoken about this relationship before, and now, for the first time, she has publicly spoken about it on the episode entitled ‘Toxic Relationships and Frisky Pets’.

“So I am going to say something I have never really said before in public,” she began.

“But my name is Jennifer Zamparelli; I am a businesswoman; I am a presenter on TV and radio; I am a mother of two; I have the most amazing husband… However, I was in an abusive relationship in my younger years. That’s the most nervous I’ve been in saying something,” she confessed.

The 43-year-old admits there is ‘a lot of shame and judgement’ around the past relationship and details the toxicity of it.

“When I was going through this relationship, my excuse in my head was I thought I could fix him. I thought it would get better. He would always apologise.

“It was a very toxic, frightening relationship at times,” she continued, revealing that the abuse lasted years and that she felt it was difficult to speak up about it out of fear of being judged.

“You don’t want to be judged; you don’t want people to go, ‘Why didn’t you leave him?’ … Even now, it’s hard to talk about because I know some people will be thinking, ‘Why didn’t you just leave if he was so bad and [he was] doing these things?’

“The thing about it is when it’s good, it’s really good. But when it was bad, it was worse than sh**. And I convinced myself and I told myself that he could change. And that it would get better.”


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Jennifer Zamparelli on ‘turning point’ in abusive relationship

Jennifer Zamparelli then explained ‘love bombing’ and how it factored into this relationship with her ex, which sadly progressed into physical abuse down the line.

“You get all this attention; they want to spend all this time with you; they are telling you how amazing you are… I was bombarded with this flattery, but there was nothing to it,” said the former Apprentice star.

“The first time there was physical contact and physical abuse, I was so afraid to tell anybody because I felt so ashamed of letting it get to that stage. I nearly blamed myself in a way,” the mum-of-two confessed.

“I look back at Jennifer Maguire, who was in that relationship, and I think, ‘My god, how did she put up with that? Why did she put up with that?’

The turning point, which ultimately led to their split, was the result of her ex-boyfriend physically assaulting her in front of another person.

This prompted Zamparelli, who was living abroad with him at the time, to call a friend who gave her the ‘kindness’ and ‘understanding’ she needed.

“I never forget the kindness and the understanding, and there was no… because, to be honest, a lot of my friends had warned me… ‘Are you sure this is right?’ ‘There are some red flags’. Very gently warning me about this person…”

Thankfully, this led to the presenter leaving her ex to move in with a friend.

Zamparelli hopes that by opening up about her own experience in an abusive relationship, it will remind other victims of abuse that ‘there are good people out there, and you deserve, if that’s what you want, to be with those good people’.

“Nobody deserves to live in fear, to be walking on eggshells. That’s being a prisoner in your own life, and it took me time to realise this is not how I want my life to be.”

She also urged victims to seek help and mentioned the national feminist organisation, Women’s Aid, as a place of refuge, explaining that they are one of the best resources to contact if you need help getting out of an abusive relationship.

“If you feel it is not right, it probably isn’t. If you need help, Women’s Aid, they will help you work it out.”

Thankfully, she went on to meet her now-husband, Lau Zamparelli.

The pair tied the knot in July 2014 and share two children together, a daughter named Florence, 8, and a son named Enzo, 5.

*Women’s Aid can be contacted on their National Freephone Helpline at 1800 341 900 or by sending an email to: [email protected], 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

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