Terry Crews says he got into fitness so he could defend himself and his mother against his father

Terry Crews says he got into fitness so he could defend himself and his mother against his father
Terry Crews in 2019.Getty/PG/Bauer-Griffin/GC Images
  • Terry Crews says he decided at age five to start working out so he'd be prepared to fight his father, who he says was abusive.
  • The actor and bodybuilder says his father was an alcoholic who beat his mother.
  • Crews says he did fight his father once, but said he didn't feel good about it.

Terry Crews is known for being in incredible shape.

The actor, bodybuilder, and former NFL player recently opened up about why he first got into fitness - and it wasn't so he'd have a greater shot at career success.

In fact, Crews says he originally started working out because he thought he might one day have to fight off his father, who he said was abusive. Crews said he wanted to be prepared for that fight.
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He came up with this strategy at just five years old, Crews told Bear Grylls on an episode of National Geographic's "Running Wild with Bear Grylls."

"You've got to know, growing up was not a good experience," he said. "My father was very abusive. He used to beat my mother. So 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 continued: "I always, always had been like, 'OK, be fit, be ready, be prepared, be there,' But even then it's hard, because certain things did trip me up that I had to get over."
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He has previously spoken about how he wet the bed until the age of 14 because he was afraid of his father.

Crews says he once fought his father after he beat his mother

In a 2014 essay for HuffPost, Crews wrote about how things came to a head between him and his father, Terry Crews Sr., over Christmas 2000."My dad had beaten my mom - again. This happened all the time growing up, because Big Terry was an alcoholic. But now he was doing it in front of my kids," he said.
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This time, Crews did fight his father.

A post shared by Terry Crews (@terrycrews)

"I beat this man," he told Grylls, USA Today reports. "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."

Crews says he has forgiven his father

Despite having confronted his father multiple times over the years, Crews said in his 2014 essay that he'd always been left dissatisfied with the outcome.
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But when he took the conscious decision to forgive and reframe how he thought of his father after the Christmas fight, Crews Sr. then changed his ways.

"By finding my own compassion for him, I had broken down everything that needed to be broken within him," Crews wrote. "Before that, I'd always hoped that when he got himself together, he'd come to me. I'd always been waiting for him. When, really, he was just waiting for that from me."

Anyone affected by abuse and in need of support can contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233). Advocates are available 24/7 and additionally reachable by texting LOVEIS to 1-866-331-9474 or via live chat on thehotline.org.
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