When Jana Kramer fell for former NFL player Mike Caussin in 2014, she thought she’d finally found the one.
“I was swept away by Mike,” the country star tells PEOPLE exclusively in this week’s issue.
After two failed marriages – to her first husband, Michael Gambino, who was horrifically abusive, and then to actor Johnathon Schaech – Kramer believed Caussin would finally offer the security and true love she’d always longed for.
And then, she says, he cheated.
“Mike was the biggest of the betrayals because it was the first time in a relationship where I truly loved the version of me,” she says. “I didn’t feel I had to prove that I was good enough, I was vulnerable and finally at peace with myself.
“But I was fooled.”
- For much more of Kramer’s journey and story of surviving abuse, please pick up the latest issue of PEOPLE, on stands now.
In August, she separated from Caussin, with whom she has a 9-month-old daughter, Jolie Rae, as he entered a rehabilitation center “for undisclosed reasons.”
For his part, Caussin is contrite. “I acknowledge that certain actions and behaviors have caused issues in my marriage and I am deeply sorry for the pain I have caused Jana,” he tells PEOPLE exclusively in this week’s issue.
“I have and will continue to take the steps needed to change who I am as a person in order to be a better husband and father.”
Kramer hasn’t given up on love. “I am truly starting to figure out my worth,” she says, while acknowledging that her desire for a family may have led to poor choices.
“My main problem, which is one reason why I’ve been in bad relationships, is that a family is all I want. It’s all I’ve dreamed of. I wanted to be loved and I wanted to love someone.”
For more information or to seek help for domestic violence, contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline 24/7 at 1-800-799-SAFE, or go to www.thehotline.org.