Actor Laurence Fishburne revealed that his 20-something self was similar to his character, Ike Turner, from Tina Turner’s 1993 biopic What’s Love Go to Do with It.
During his appearance on the Jemele Hill Is Unbothered podcast, the Akeelah and the Bee spelling mentor got candid about how he used to physically abuse his first wife, Hajna O. Moss, and had to undergo a few years of therapy.
The topic came up after Hill asked Fishburne about how he emotionally dealt with portraying Ike, a musician and abuser.
“Having had some experience with that, as a young man, I did a lot of counseling,” he responded. “I found a great African American therapist who helped me deal with my anger issues because I had been physical with my first wife.”
Fishburne disclosed that he and Moss got married when he was 23 and she was 21.
“Our relationship was very volatile,” he continued. “I was physically abusive with my first wife, to my regret and to my shame. And because of that, I had to look for some help. I had to find a therapist, and I worked with this man for four or five years on all of those issues.”
The 61-year-old actor added, “So, I was very familiar with the territory, the emotional landscape of what brings a person to that place where they feel the need to be abusive to their partner.”
He was able to do the abusive scenes but only for a limited amount of takes. He didn’t want himself nor his co-star Angela Bassett submerged in the tense and traumatic moments.
Hill asked Fishburne if he had ever found his anger source during therapy.
“I don’t really work on the source of my anger,” he answered. “It was really about how to recognize it when it was coming up, what my triggers were, and what were the behaviors that I could use that would counter it. That would help me to move in a different direction.”