Former 90210 star AnnaLynne McCord says that her on-again, off-again boyfriend Dominic Purcell was the first person to break through the walls she’d put up, describing the Prison Break star as a ‘very, very ferociously strong man’ who was her ‘dom’ when she got into BDSM — with the pair enjoying ‘explosive’ sex.
Due to a history of sexual abuse and trauma, AnnaLynne, 33, said that for a long time, she put up a ‘facade’ and a ‘mask,’ and she was so determined to keep her privacy that she even had her own sisters sign non-disclosure agreements.
But she trusted Dominic, 51, whom she has been dating on and off since 2011, and described in a new interview with the sexual health platform Giddy’s Bare series how the pair connected.
‘He changed everything,’ she said. ‘Dom created space for me, but he called me the f**k out. He did not take bull***t. And that’s why I trusted him.’
Good guy: Former 90210 star AnnaLynne McCord says that her on-again, off-again boyfriend Dominic Purcell was the first person to break through the walls she’d put up
Candid: She described the Prison Break star as a ‘ very, very ferociously strong man’ who was her ‘dom’ when she got into BDSM — with the pair enjoying ‘explosive’ sex
AnnaLynne and Dominic first got together in July 2011, when she was 23 and he was 41. They split in December 2014, renkindled their romance in 2016, and split again in January 2018.
Though they demonstrated some PDA in September of 2020, AnnaLynne says they are no longer together — but he is still quite special to her.
‘There are many reasons why that man will be my forever person. He is staying in my house right now. We’re not together, but we’re family,’ she said.
AnnaLynne said Dominic knew about her mental illness and sexual trauma, and the former couple seemed to have those things in common.
‘A lot of times, we attract what we are, especially if you haven’t realized your shadow, what’s underneath the surface — and I had realized absolutely f***ng nothing,’ she said.
‘He was a mirror back to me. So many of the things that happened to him, different versions of the same thing happened to me, and vice versa,’ she went on, adding that ‘he went through a lot when he was a kid.’
‘I trusted no masculine energies, I trusted no men, because I figured, I’m gonna push every f***ing button that you have, and if you cave, I can’t trust you.
‘And there was a sexual that was underlying and pushing us, and we had explosive sex,’ she added.
History: AnnaLynne and Dominic first got togerther in July 2011, when she was 23 and he was 41. They are currently not dating but still close
She said that it was with Dominic that she started exploring BDSM, which was something she used to overcome her numbness. ‘And there was a sexual that was underlying and pushing us, and we had explosive sex,’ she added
She said that it was with Dominic that she started exploring BDSM, which was something she used to overcome her numbness.
‘I literally went into bondage, BDSM, because I couldn’t feel anything. And Dom and I had this relationship that was very — Dom was my dom,’ she said with a laugh.
AnnaLynne has previously spoken about how she went both physically and emotionally numb to deal with her past trauma.
‘I had such severe sexual abuse at such a young age that my body decided, “This is unsafe for you to feel.” So I was completely numb,’ she told Giddy.
‘One of the hallmarks of trauma in relation to memory is that you don’t store the memories oftentimes. So you have explicit memories, which are file-folder, [like] my birthday in 2010 when I jumped off the slide and broke my knee. That memory is stored forever, a trauma you seared in your brain.
‘And then there’s trauma that your brain says, “No. This is too much. We’re gonna not do this memory. This is super ew.”
‘So those memories are implicit memories. I describe them as a feather floating around a room, and when you’re triggered, someone turns on a vacuum. And the feather gets sucked up into the vacuum. You don’t know where you are in time and space, and it’s just happening now and it’s full on.
‘I literally went into bondage, BDSM, because I couldn’t feel anything. And Dom and I had this relationship that was very — Dom was my dom,’ she said with a laugh
‘ I had such severe sexual abuse at such a young age that my body decided, “This is unsafe for you to feel.” So I was completely numb,’ she told Giddy
‘So that was my experience. I was going through severe panic attacks. Eventually, I started to undergo PTSD treatment,’ she said.
AnnaLynne has been remarkably candid about her experiences, but admitted that she didn’t mean to publicly share hers when she did.
‘When I first told my story, I was dragged up on stage during an event,’ she said. ‘I was thrown out on stage like a deer in headlights.
‘Everything’s been said, everything’s been done. I didn’t know what to do, so I said, “You’ve heard all the stories from the survivors and the founder, but you don’t know the story of one girl.” And then I thought, “Oh, why did I say that? That was stupid! There’s a thousand people here!”
‘So, that’s how my story came out. Cosmopolitan magazine was in the audience and they reached out to my team to do a story about what happened to me.
‘When I was 19, I was sexually assaulted by a “friend” who was crashing at my home,’ she recounted. ‘I woke up and he was inside me, and I froze. My whole body shut down and I didn’t know what to do. Then I blamed myself because I didn’t fight back—so is that really rape? It was just all these questions in my mind.
‘I didn’t know how to deal with these thoughts so I just said, “I’m gonna go to work and pretend like this is not happening.”
‘When I first told my story, I was dragged up on stage during an event,’ she said. ‘I was thrown out on stage like a deer in headlights’ (pictured August 28)
‘I literally had my own sisters sign NDAs. I was terrified of my life story getting out,’ she admitted (pictured August 28)
‘Work is an addiction, too: at 90 hours a week working, getting on a red-eye [flight], going to all these other gigs that I would have scheduled so that I never had a moment of stillness where I had to face my life.
‘So, all that happened, and as a result, I began this journey towards openness about my life.
‘I had been the complete opposite. Everything was a facade, everything was a mirage, a mask. I would panic. I literally had my own sisters sign NDAs. I was terrified of my life story getting out,’ she admitted.
Now, she stresses the importance of speaking openly.
‘If we hope to do anything in this field to change it, we have to talk about things. Because silence was the modus operandi of the past,’ she said.
The actress has spoken out in numerous interviews about her trauma in the past couple of years.
Speaking on an episode of the Call Her Daddy podcast in August, she recounted how the ‘level of torture’ she underwent was so terrible that she ultimately ‘just stopped feeling pain’ — so as an adult, she experimented with cutting and BDSM and admits, ‘I was so abusive to myself.’
Opening up: The actress has spoken out in numerous interviews about her trauma in the past couple of years
‘The level of torture that I went through as a child that I now remember was so horrific that my brain said … we’re gonna shut off feeling,’ she said. ‘I just stopped feeling pain’
AnnaLynne said she grew up moving around from trailer park to trailer park with her mother and sisters.
‘We packed that trailer up and we rolled it down the freeway,’ she told host Alex Cooper.
It was during that time that she was abused, though she had no memory of it until she was 31 years old.
At 15, she left home and began working as a model, and recalls turning herself off to any deep human connection.
‘I did not have time for feelings. Those were things that we did not do… I did not believe in relationships. You make your mark on the world, that’s what you’re here for. If you like a dude, cool, but make that a super lowkey thing,’ she said.
She struggled with depression and anxiety, eventually turning to self-harming like cutting herself, explaining: ‘The self harming started just because I couldn’t feel anything.’
She also entered into a ‘very sexual’ relationship with a man that involved lots of BDSM.
Flashback: AnnaLynne, pictured with her mother, only remembered much of her childhood abuse a few years ago
‘You are not multiple personalities when you experience DID. You are fragmented versions of yourself,’ she explained
‘I was opening up Pandora’s box sexually without consciously knowing why I might like these things, why they might turn me on the way they did,’ she said. ‘Because our beautiful brains that put pain and pleasure together to try to help us, ended up keeping me in a body that would go on to abuse herself for a very long time.
‘A big part of BDSM for me was just trying to feel anything in my body at all,’ she admitted.
‘The level of torture that I went through as a child that I now remember was so horrific that my brain said no, she can’t feel, so we’re gonna shut off feeling.
‘I just stopped feeling pain,’ she said. ‘People laugh and say, “Oh, I have a high tolerance for pain,” you should ask yourself why. Because that’s not a good thing. You should ask yourself why. We have pain for a reason, it’s to let us know something’s wrong. And you don’t win awards for having a high tolerance for pain. That’s unkind to your body.’
Even as she rose to fame on 90210, she was unknowingly struggling with dissociative identity disorder, or DID, which meant there were multiple versions of herself that would come out in various situations.
‘You are not multiple personalities when you experience DID. You are fragmented versions of yourself,’ she explained. ‘The reason that the brain splits in this regard, it’s always a protective mechanism.’
She described suffering from severed depression, having ‘blackout panic attacks where I was losing time’
What is dissociative identity disorder?
Dissociative identity disorder (DID) was previously known as multiple personality disorder and is classified by the presence of two or more distinct personality states in those who have it.
Dissociative disorders – including DID – usually develop as a reaction to trauma, as a means of keeping difficult memories at bay.
As well as the presence of alternate identities, DID symptoms can also include amnesia and other mental health problems such as depression and anxiety.
The most commonly used treatments for DID are talk therapy and medication; however, other methods may be suggested depending on the individual and their symptoms.
For example, she went on, ‘If I’m on a red carpet, I have to say everything just right… But my nervous system was so overwhelmed by people, humans around me … so I just felt really comfortable in my body.’
She would go on autopilot, and suddenly it would be hours later and she would be at home.
‘I wouldn’t fully black out,’ she said. ‘I could remember things, but my life in a lot of ways was a blur.’
A version of herself she calls ‘Little Anna’ — who employed baby talk — would mostly come out when she was dealing with men, or if she had to express a need for something.
‘I had this mechanism with men where I thought I had to be really small. And it wasn’t a conscious thought. Bad things happened if I wasn’t a good little girl, who was the special girl, who did the things that she was supposed to do,’ she explained.
‘I didn’t know why I had to just give my body to people and I didn’t realize that I was doing it because I was hoping that I’d get some love back. And I was so desperate to be loved because I was so alone and had been so alone for so long,’ she added.
There was also a 13-year-old version of herself, whom she has previously described as ‘balls to the wall, middle fingers to the sky, anarchist from hell who will stab you with the spike ring that she wears, and you’ll like it.’
‘I was ice cold and I could be a real c**t,’ she said on Call Her Daddy.
Candid: AnnaLynne has shared details of her journey toward healing
‘[That version of myself] had enough and she became the thing that terrified her. I became a bully, I could be very emotionally, psychologically abusive… I would go into an alter that was just ice cold and impossible to get through to.
‘And I thank her now, I have so much gratitude to her,’ she added, saying it was this tough personality that saved her.
It was while visiting Cambodia on volunteer trips that she realized she might need some help.
‘I realized from former slaves how enslaved I was. I was a total prisoner to my mind. I was so rigid, I had all these standards of perfection, I was so abusive to myself,’ she said.
She was suffering from severed depression at the time, having ‘blackout panic attacks where I was losing time.’
She also realized that it might not be OK that her legs would go completely numb when she would sleep with a man.
So she started seeing a doctor who explored her repressed memories with her. Among the tactics they used was EMDR, or eye movement desensitization and reprocessing, the same practice Prince Harry demonstrated in the Apple TV+ series The Me You Can’t See.’
Moment of truth: It was while visiting Cambodia on volunteer trips that she realized she might need some help
‘I realized from former slaves how enslaved I was. I was a total prisoner to my mind. I was so rigid, I had all these standards of perfection, I was so abusive to myself,’ she said
On August 16, 2018, everything about her childhood abuse started coming back to her.
‘The memories of a trauma survivor are fragmented. They come in pieces, they come in waves, they come in impressions, they come in sounds, they come in smells, they come in all of this different imagery, whatever. There are no two experiences alike,’ she said.
AnnaLynne has shared few specifics about what she endured, but indicated in the podcast that she was choked with a rope during this time.
She also said that said her mom had had no idea what was going on, but has since been great about helping her.
In April, AnnaLynne first spoke openly about how her trauma has continued to impact her, divulging her battle with DID, which was formerly known as multiple personality disorder.
Dissociative identity disorder (DID) is characterized by alternating between multiple identities, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI).
A person with the disorder may feel like one or more voices are in their head and have gaps in memory of events, including trauma.
Scary: AnnaLynne previously spoke about how her abuse led to her having dissociative identity disorder
Candid: The star publicly revealed her diagnosis on in a YouTube video she filmed with brain disorder specialist Dr. Daniel Amen
She shared her diagnosis in a YouTube video that was posted by brain disorder specialist Dr. Daniel Amen.
She said she is now examining how the sexual abuse she suffered may have led to her dissociative identity disorder.
She discussed her memory loss, explaining that she doesn’t remember anything about her life before the age of five, and after that, she can only remember several ‘incidents’ of abuse, recollections that were triggered by her rape at age 18.
‘I don’t have anything until around five, and then from five to 11. I recount incidents throughout,’ she said, noting that she also has gaps in her memory after age 11.
‘And then when I was 13, I have a singled-out memory that was just one thing, that I don’t have a sense of anything else at that time.’
The actress, who received her DID diagnosis before meeting with Dr. Amen, revealed that her doctor told her she suffered from it ‘pretty seriously,’ and that she likely had ‘definitive splits’ prior to her memory returning.
Although she can now identify she had a split personality from the age of 13, she can look back on her childhood behavior and see evidence of the disorder at an earlier age, before her memories came back.
‘Before my memories came back, I had definitive splits. In my history, you’ll see me, I would just show up with the black wig and a new personality and I was this tough little baddie, and then I’d be the bohemian flower child,’ she explained.
Looking back: The 33-year-old actress has also shared details of the night a friend raped her in her own bed at age 19
The anti-trafficking activist now believes that her disorder also played a part in her work as an actress, explaining that all of her roles, in one way or another, were ‘splits’ — split personalities ‚ although she was not aware of it at the time.
Dr. Amen explained that he scanned AnnaLynne’s brain and the results are ‘not like many of the other multiples he has seen,’ before questioning whether the actress has ever been given a bipolar diagnosis, which she confirmed she had.
‘In 2017, I actually went [to a psychiatrist], knowing for years that I felt like I was [bipolar], considering the fact that I have family history and the symptoms seemed to line up,’ she said.
She added that she had struggled with symptoms of bipolar disorder for years, but admitted that she actually relied on her ‘manic’ behavior as a means of pulling herself out of a depressed state.
‘I would use my manic symptoms to get me out of depression, I would kind of manipulate my symptoms,’ she explained. ‘I knew that if I went on a crazy sex spree, or a shopping spree, or any kind of heightened thrill-seeking type things, I could always manipulate myself out of depression so I never really got too stuck.’
However, in 2017, she ‘went down a depression spiral’ that she could not bring herself out of ‘no matter what she did.’
‘I tried to go on no-sleeping benders to activate my mania, I tried sex, spending [sprees], I tried traveling all over the globe the first part of that year but I could not get out of the depression.’
‘From my point of view, [they] deserve an opportunity for redemption,’ she said of her abusers (pictured in Las Vegas on June 10)
Referring to AnnaLynne’s brain scan, Dr. Amen said that he believes the actress used her split personalities as a means of ‘managing’ her childhood sexual trauma.
‘When you’ve had intense childhood sexual trauma, you split as a way to manage it,’ he said. ‘And the brighter you are, the more you split.’
He also suggested that the actress may have had an undiagnosed brain injury, which could also be an underlying cause of her condition.
The star, who noted that there is a ‘massive spectrum obviously’ of disorder in how it impacts people battling it, said that her goal is to shift the way society views people dealing with the disorder.
‘For me, my heart is to change this narrative around these behaviors that follow trial of the trauma, and not treating someone or responding to someone or judging someone from their actions but asking, “What happened to you? How did we get here?’ she said.
Then in July, she spoke to creative agency House of Influence, sharing a very magnanimous perspective on the people who sexually abused her as a child and raped her as a teenager.
‘The truth is, we’re not good and we’re not bad. Even the person who sexually abused me as a child, and the person who sexually assaulted me when I was 19, they’re not bad people,’ she said, according to The Sun.
Triggering: The actress recalled a triggering moment on the show 90210, when her what happened to her in real life happened to her character
‘They make bad decisions from bad places that they were in at the time. From my point of view, [they] deserve an opportunity for redemption,’ she added.
AnnaLynne has managed to find it in her to be forgiving towards her abusers despite years of trauma.
‘I came from horrible abuse. I grew up going through all of these horrible things that… that caused me absolute terrible pain,’ she said.
She’d blocked out her childhood abuse for years, but it all came pouring back in when she was raped at 19.
AnnaLynne first shared story in essay for Cosmopolitan in 2014, recalling how a man in her friend group whom she had considered a friend needed a place to sleep for the night, so she invited him over.
‘We sat on the bed and talked for a while, then I fell asleep. When I woke up, he was inside me,’ she wrote for Cosmo.
‘At first, I felt so disoriented and numb, I closed my eyes and pretended to be asleep,’ she went on. ‘I wondered if I had done something to give him the wrong idea. I felt afraid of making him angry. Believe it or not, I didn’t want to offend him. I just wanted it to be over.’
Finally, when she worked up the nerve to tell him to stop, ‘He stopped and went in the bathroom and finished.’
‘I did nothing, I laid there until 5:00 AM, until the sun started to peek through, and I could feasibly, in my mind, explain that I got up early,’ she said.
‘I wrote a note like I suddenly had to go to a meeting at 5:00 AM. It wasn’t really making any logical sense, but I had to get out of my own house.
‘I sat in my vehicle down the street hidden by a bush, waiting to see his car leave and then I went back to my place and showered and tried to pretend like that had never happened.
AnnaLynne said she didn’t acknowledge what had happened until ten months later, when a mutual friend speculated that she was in love with the man who raped her — and she correct him.
‘I was like, “No, he… Yeah, no he raped me,”‘ she said.
A couple of years later, AnnaLynne was on 90210, where no one knew about her history. But coincidentally, the script featured a storyline in which her character was raped by her English teacher. After, she, too, was accused of being in love with him.
‘The showrunner literally writes my story in the script of 90210 without knowing it, unfortunately, because it is so common,’ she said.
‘It was as if I got thrown back to when I was 19 in this moment with my friend, and this whole thing happened. I went into hysterics, just my whole body was wrapped with tears.’
The star noted that it’s a prime example that ‘you never know what someone’s battle is, you never know what someone’s going through.’