Tess Holliday Says Marriage to Ex Was ‘Abusive’: ‘Healing Is So Much Harder Than I Imagined’
After they wed in 2015, the model said that her relationship with ex Nick Holliday became "toxic"
Over the weekend, the model shared a lengthy statement on social media about her marriage and how she's been "healing" since it ended.
"Coming out of such an abusive, unhealthy, toxic marriage and finding love through my friendships and more importantly myself has been such a freeing experience," Holliday wrote. "I'm choosing to share all of this with y'all because I know so many people are going through similar things."
"I can't say that it's as easy as leaving, because for some, they don't get that choice, it's stolen from them. Not everyone gets to walk away (claw my way out in my case) and feel the sun kissing their skin, and I hold space for those that we have lost to intimate partner violence," she continued. "I know how lucky I am, and it's not something I take for granted. If you are in this situation, you are so loved and your feelings are valid, even if you can't see that right now. This isn't your fault."
Holliday did not provide details of the nature of the alleged abuse, and a rep for the model did not immediately respond to PEOPLE's request for comment.
Holliday, who wed Nick in 2015, went on to say that the "healing" process "is so much harder than I imagined."
"Abuse is so subtle sometimes that it bleeds into our lives slowly, disguising itself as love," she wrote. "It doesn't matter how 'powerful' you are. It doesn't matter how much you 'love yourself.' It doesn't matter if you think 'it will never happen to me.' It happens."
"It happened to me. I watched my career, my friends, my finances, literally everything vanish and I couldn't stop until it was almost too late. It was humbling, gut wrenching and honestly, a little embarrassing (still dealing with that part)," she continued.
Holliday said she "always tried to be as transparent as I could," but she added that what she shared publicly didn't always match what was going on behind the scenes.
"How can I be a beacon for a loving yourself when at home my life looked a lot different than what was shared online?" she asked. "I always tried to be as transparent as I could, but unless you've ever been in my situation, no one can really say for sure what they would do."
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As for how she's doing now, the model shared that while it's been a "long, confusing" journey, she's filled with "tremendous gratitude."
"The road back to myself has been a long, confusing & hard path. I still don't recognize myself in the mirror most days. But I'm happy, I'm safe and yea I'm a hell of a lot fatter (making peace with this part too) but I'm still standing," she wrote. "Fear doesn't take up space in my home anymore, it's been replaced with gratitude. Tremendous gratitude."
Hours after releasing her statement on social media, Holliday wrote that she felt "so free now."
Last January, Holliday told Parents that Nick had been living in his native Australia since the previous September while "working on himself."
Although she declined to comment on the status of their relationship at the time, the following month she opened up about focusing on self-love after having "let go of something that was hurting me."
"I wish I could stand here tell you that loving myself was the only key, and from that point on, I never allowed anyone else to treat me poorly… but that's not the case," she shared at the time. "I'm writing this as someone who is learning to let go of the life I had planned so I can make room for the life that's waiting for me."
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Last month, Holliday — who seemingly confirmed their divorce late last year — spoke about her "guilt" over not using her platform to address a number of topics, including the dissolution of her marriage.
"I know that social media is all about being authentic and sharing your life, and I know in order to 'gR0w My NuMbErS' I need to share more but I cannot bring myself to document my day or create content when I'm barely even eating or looking after myself properly," she wrote on Twitter.
"The guilt and my inner dialogue tells me 'post your kids more' 'talk about your divorce bc it can help others' 'share your cooking/working out/getting ready' tips but god I just don't want to. At all. I have no desire but then I see others doing it and blah blah it looks so easy," she added.
Days later, she made a light-hearted reference to her relationship status, crediting "divorce / cutting off toxic relationships" as being her "number one skincare tip"
If you are experiencing domestic violence, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233, or go to thehotline.org. All calls are toll-free and confidential. The hotline is available 24/7 in more than 170 languages.