The conversation went down during the actor’s appearance on an episode of the Jemele Hill Is Unbothered podcast, which aired on Monday.
During the sit-down, Laurence—who has starred in hit projects like The Matrix, Black-ish, and Boyz n the Hood—spoke on one of his other memorable roles: Ike Turner in What’s Love Got To Do With It?
He was specifically asked about how he dealt with “the fact that [he was] playing someone who is an abuser,” and Laurence went on to make quite the revelation.
Laurence Was “Physically Abusive” In First Marriage, Though A Black Therapist Helped Him Change
Fishburne took the opportunity to share that he had some first-hand experience with being in a “volatile” relationship when he was younger. However, a Black therapist helped him work through his demons.
“Having had some experience with that as a young man, I did a lot of counseling. I found a great African American therapist who helped me deal with my anger issues, because I had been physical with my first wife. I got married when I was 23 years old; my first wife was 21, and our relationship was very volatile. And I was physically abusive with my first wife, to my regret, and to my shame.”
He went on to detail more about finding his therapist. Additionally, Laurence revealed he spent a few years actively working on himself through counseling.
“I had to go and look for some help. I had to find a therapist, and I worked with this man for four or five years on all of those issues.”
His Therapy Came In Clutch During Ike Turner Role
Coming back around to discuss his Ike Turner role, Laurence said that his experience helped him play the part.
“I was very familiar with the territory and with the emotional landscape of what brings a person to that place where they feel the need to be abusive to their partner.”
However, because of this all-too-real familiarity, he was particularly conscientious to not let things get too toxic while on set.
“That’s another reason why I said to the director, ‘We can only do this for a limited amount of time. This is not emotional territory that I want to be swimming in all day. I don’t want Angela [Bassett] swimming in it all day. I don’t want people on set having to deal with that kind of, you know, volatile, emotional kind of stuff all day while we’re trying to make a film.'”
Laurence Learned How To Recognize The Signs
Host Jemele Hill proceeded to inquire whether Laurence was able to identify the source of his past anger, though the actor shared that he took a different approach. Instead of focusing on the source, he wanted to work on identifying when he was approaching that headspace and implementing different ways to ground himself.
“I didn’t really specifically work on the source of my anger. It was really about how to recognize it when it was coming up, what my triggers were, and what were the behaviors that I could use that would counter it. That would help me to move in a different direction”
#LaurenceFishburne Admits That As A Young Man He Was Physically Abusive To His 1st Wife & He Went To Therapy + Says He Regrets It & "Had To Go & Get Some Help" For 4 To 5 Years (@jhillunbothered) pic.twitter.com/I9LfeTRwuR
— theJasmineBRAND (@thejasminebrand) November 21, 2022
What do you think about Laurence Fishburne’s revelation, and do you have a story about therapy coming in clutch?