'He was very abusive': Kerri-Anne Kennerley reveals violent first marriage

She’s an Australian television legend who has graced our screens for more than 50 years, but before she became a household name Kerri-Anne Kennerley was living in New York city and trapped in a violent relationship with her first husband.

 

In an exclusive interview with Sunday Night, the Logie Hall of Fame inductee revealed she was a victim of domestic violence at the hands of an American music producer named Jimmy Miller.

“He was very abusive at times and you realise you can’t go on like that. But also, it’s really hard to get out,” Kerri-Anne revealed to reporter Angela Cox.

“Somebody controls every aspect of your life, everything you do, everything you say virtually, everybody you meet and your world gets smaller and smaller and smaller and it’s sort of really almost normal… but somewhere in there you know it’s not normal.”

Pushed to the brink, Kerri-Anne decided enough was enough – and armed herself with a gun.

“He always had a .22 rifle above the door in the bedroom so I just remember I was actually quite calm about it, I just went and got the gun, aimed it at him and said, ‘I will shoot you if you come anywhere near me’,” she said.

While she was married to Jimmy, Kerri-Anne became friends with John Kennerley – an English businessman who was instantly smitten by the young Australian.

After another violent episode with Jimmy, Kerri-Anne turned to John for support.

An early photograph of Kerri-Anne and John Kennerley.

“She arrived at my doorstep with a black eye and a bit of a bloody nose and I realised exactly what was happening from then on,” John said.

That night, after spending hours talking, the couple shared their first kiss.

“That was sort of just a whole awakening,” Kerri-Anne said.

“That was very memorable to me and I sort of realised I was kissing the girl I was going to be spending my life with,” John added.

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