Terry Crews is well recognized for his highly muscular build and trademark shake of his pectoral muscles, but the actor’s passion for fitness began as a means of survival.
During Monday’s edition of “Running Wild with Bear Grylls,” the 52-year-old “America’s Got Talent” presenter spoke up about his “violent” upbringing, saying he concentrated on developing his strength to defend himself from his “abusive” and “alcoholic” father.
“Growing up was not a good experience. My father was very abusive, you know, he used to beat my mother,” Crews told Grylls while trekking through the Icelandic Highlands.” It was one of those things where I knew I would have to get stronger because one day I thought I’d have to fight him.
That’s how it started out.” Crews recalled experiencing the need to defend his mother as early as age 5: “I always, always had been like, ‘Be fit, be ready, be prepared, be there.'”
After his father “hit (his mother) one more time” on Christmas Day 2000, Crews claimed he and his father, Terry Crews Sr., exchanged blows.
“He had gone years without touching her, and he hit her in the mouth, knocked her tooth sideways,” Crews recalled. “I told him, ‘Get the kids out the house. Take the kids, everybody leave. Just leave me and him alone.‘”
Crews claimed that despite giving his father a taste of his medicine, the outcome wasn’t as satisfying as expected. Crews claimed that it made him feel void.
“I beat this man,” the actor said. “I remember he was begging, begging, and all I could think of was, this is how my mother felt. How do you like it? And this is the thing, Bear. I thought it would feel good. And he’s on the ground, bleeding, crying, and I didn’t feel one bit better. It left me with nothing.”
Even while their relationship is far from ideal, the “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” actor has subsequently expressed regret and forgiven his father, attributing their reconciliation to counseling.
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“We hugged, he cried,” Crews recalled of their breakthrough. “Man, all I wanted was for us to be a family and for him to love my mother as much as we loved her. And then at that moment, I knew we had transcended.”
Grylls said Crews’ vulnerability is his “real strength. I mean your abs are good, but one of the things I love about Terry is that he’s just totally himself and he is honest.”
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