It took surviving an abusive ex to make Jenny McCarthy learn how to love herself.
Speaking at a product launch for hair product brand Schwarzkopf Gliss' "Beautiful by Choice" campaign Tuesday, the Sirius XM radio host and TV personality opened up about a four-year toxic relationship with an ex-boyfriend, who she did not name.
"What I thought was gonna be a typical relationship, turned into a relationship that you would never think you would get yourself into. Especially me. I mean, I really consider myself to be pretty strong-willed and confident, even back then," McCarthy said. "But I did find myself being slowly manipulated in to a very, very dark, abusive—verbally abusive—relationship that could have easily killed me."
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She later told E! News exclusively that she decided to open up about her ex because she felt empowered by Schwarzkopf Gliss' campaign slogan.
"It reminded me that beauty is not just a physical attribute, it's something much more deeper and expands beyond anything on the outside," she said. "And I thought about the things that I thought were beautiful and things that I overcame and I wanted to share something that I thought was beautiful, which is self-love."
In her speech, McCarthy said that her mind was "turned completely inside out" throughout her abusive relationship.
"I no longer had my own thoughts. They were replaced with his thoughts about me," she said. "That I was worthless, disgusting, talent-less, ugly, fat, smelled so badly. I was no longer worthy of being kissed."
She later realized that it took her "four years of excruciating, verbal abuse" to learn what self-love means.
"In that moment, I found my accountability in the hell I was living in," she said. "The path to loving yourself requires you to stop putting the blame on others and observe the choices you make that got you there. It wasn't his job to love me. It was mine," she said. "So I chose to finally get the hell out of that relationship. I chose to be powerful not powerless."
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She then gave a shout-out to her husband, Donnie Wahlberg, who she called the love of her life.
"I love you baby," she said.
McCarthy and Wahlberg began dating in 2013 and wed the following year. She previous dated her manager Ray Manzella for four years in the '90s and later dated and married actor and director John Mallory Asher for seven. They share a 14-year-old son, Evan. Also before Wahlberg, McCarthy datedJim Carrey for about five years, until 2010, and dated former NFL player Brian Urlacher for a few months in 2012.
"I got to a place in my life where I learned that I deserved love given the right way, the healthy way, and I wasn't going to settle anymore until I got The One," she told E! News. "And I literally said that out loud. I said, 'God, I'm not helping. I don't want to be a teacher to any more guys. I want to just love. I want someone that reflects the love that I have inside of me.' That's it. A reflection of where I'm at, because I felt like I was at a really great place and within probably a month, I met Donnie.
"We quickly, quickly knew on a deeper level that this was something very special and something that we didn't want to screw up," she continued. "So we made sure that we did things the right way."