"I was going to die." The biggest revelations from Evan Rachel Wood's new documentary.

CONTENT WARNING: This post deals with sexual and domestic violence, mental health and self-harm and could be triggering for some readers.

For several years, Evan Rachel Wood spoke of suffering sexual abuse and violence in a past relationship.

For just as long, people speculated about who she was referring to. It wasn't until February 2021 that Wood put a name to her allegations. Her ex-partner Marilyn Manson "started grooming me when I was a teenager and horrifically abused me for years," she said in a statement posted to social media.

Since then, more than a dozen other women have shared similar stories and accusations against Manson. Four filed civil lawsuits against him in 2021.

Manson has denied all allegations against him and in early March 2022 sued Wood for defamation and emotional distress among several other charges.

Manson - real name Brian Warner - and Wood dated on and off for four-and-a-half years, starting in mid-2006 when she was 18. He was 37.

A decade after leaving the relationship, Wood has released Phoenix Rising. The two-part documentary follows Wood as she takes her experience as a survivor of domestic violence to pursue justice, bring visibility to violence against women and reclaim her story.

The documentary shows Wood's journey in lobbying for The Phoenix Act, which extended the statute of limitations for domestic violence cases in California, and her decision to publicly name Manson as her alleged abuser after years of fearing the consequences.


Here are 17 key things we learned from Phoenix Rising, which is now streaming on Binge:

Wood said Manson threatened her against speaking out.

Early in the documentary, Wood claimed she received threatening messages from anonymous accounts online telling her to not come forward.

She also said Manson personally warned her against naming him.

"He once told me that he would f*** up my whole family from the bottom up and he would start with my dad. I have a child and it's really scary. Naming Brian without support is too much of a risk."

She named him in February 2021.


Wood and Manson met at a Los Angeles party.

When Wood was 18, she went to a party at the Chateau Marmont, where she was first approached by Manson.

"He starts talking about the film I did called Thirteen, saying, 'I'm a big fan. I love your work,'" Wood said. "And he said 'I have a project that I’m working on that I would love to talk to you about, Phantasmagoria, a movie about Lewis Carroll and his subconscious.'"

Wood starred in the 2003 film Thirteen, about a troubled teenager, when she was 14. 

She looked through a journal entry she wrote about that night in the documentary's opening scene, where she said she wasn't a fan of Manson's music and didn't feel attraction to him at first.

They bonded over his unmade film.

Manson's Phantasmagoria film was never actually made, but Wood said he used the project as a way to spend time with her. This is a recurring theme among many of his accusers.

Wood said Manson asked her to cowrite the screenplay, and he made his first 'move' while they were working on the collaboration.

"I'm, like, a teenager in a room with a 37-year-old man drinking absinthe," she recalled. "It was about time for me to go and after he put his arm around me, he said, 'I'm gonna miss you.' And I said, 'I'm gonna miss you t—' and before I could get 'too' out he just kissed me. He just stuck his tongue down my throat. 


"And I was shocked honestly. I had a boyfriend. He knew I had a boyfriend. He was married. I'm 18. I just remember, like, everything went white. And I just didn't know how to respond. I think I was scared and excited at the same time because it was like being kissed by a God. 'You were supposed to like this. This guy can have whoever he wants, and he's chosen you, you're special now.'"

Wood said Manson 'love-bombed' her.

Marilyn Manson and Evan Rachel Wood. Image: Getty.


After that night, Wood said Manson intensely love-bombed her, by saying things such as how she had inspired him to make music again and became his muse.

"The only person who really cares, I mean believes in me and cares, is you," he supposedly told her.

She read a series of things he told her in the documentary, including "You are the blood in my heart. I wanted to be with you. I want to stay with you forever" and "I can assure you, this love we have is unheard of and more important than life."

Blood and sacrifice were 'themes' in their relationship.

Wood alleged Manson encouraged her to carve an 'M' into her skin, and showed her scar in the second part of the documentary.

"Scarification and branding was a part of it," she said in part one.

"He carved an 'E' and I carved an 'M' as a way to show ownership and loyalty, and I carved it right next to my vagina to show him that I belong to him. So it's January 2007. I really want to get that scar removed."

Other accusers have also spoken of 'branding'. In the documentary, other accusers claim to have initials and the word 'fat' carved into their legs.

Wood also confirmed friend Illma Gore's claim that there was a blood pact.

"Yeah, drinking blood is definitely a thing," she said.

Manson allegedly isolated Wood from her support network.

Wood claimed Manson would 'fake empathy' to distance her from her support systems.


She said her relationship with her mother was instantly "severed".

"He would fake empathy in the way of like, 'I can't believe the people around you that are trying to manipulate and use you and I have to save you,'" Wood said.

She labelled it "Fake empathy in the form of manipulation, trying to isolate me from my friends and family."

Wood said Manson "essentially raped" her on the set of his 'Heart-Shaped Glasses' music video.

Wood was 19 when she appeared in the music video for 'Heart-Shaped Glasses'. Manson has spoken about how the song was inspired by reading the book Lolita and his relationship with the "much younger" Wood.

"We had discussed a simulated sex scene, but once the cameras were rolling, he started penetrating me for real," Wood said of the day on set.

"I had never agreed to that. I’m a professional actress. I’ve been doing this my whole life. I’ve never been on a set that unprofessional in my life, like, up until this day. It was complete chaos. No one was looking after me. It was a really traumatising experience filming the video."

She recalled feeling "disgusting" and "shameful", but feeling conditioned to just 'soldier through'.

"I felt disgusting and like I had done something shameful. And I could tell that the crew was very uncomfortable, and nobody knew what to do. I was coerced into a commercial sex act under false pretenses. That's when the first crime was committed against me, and I was essentially raped on camera."


In the documentary, Wood's mother said her daughter was shaking when she confided in her about the experience. 

Wood said Manson told her she needed to tell the media the music video was 'romantic' and they had a good time filming it.

After sharing anonymous allegations, other alleged Manson accusers reached out to her.

Evan Rachel Wood testifies during the House Judiciary Committee hearing on Sexual Assault Survivors Rights in 2018. Image: Getty.

In 2016, Wood shared her story of domestic violence publicly. She did not, at that time, name anyone.


She was then invited to speak at the Sexual Assault Survivors' Bill of Rights Hearing before Congress in 2018. 

"After I testified, I started hearing from numerous women who had been abused by my abuser because they heard my story and they knew exactly who it was because the same thing had happened to them," Wood said.

"There were also numerous women on the internet sharing their stories, and I when I started to read them I knew they weren't lying because they were almost word-for-word my story. It was like finding out that you had dated a serial killer."

Wood claimed Manson spoke about Hitler and had a fascination with Nazism.

Wood said Manson believed "Hitler was the first rock star".

"He always said that Hitler was the first rock star," she stated, stating that she was "born Jew" because her mother is Jewish. 

"[Manson believed] Hitler was stylish, he was well-spoken, and he knew how to manipulate the masses to do what he wanted. And that's why he had an obsession with him. Any sort of Nazi paraphernalia or imagery, I thought, was ironic. I thought his whole spiel was taking the image of Nazis and of Hitler and spinning it on its head."

But Manson would "make fun" of Wood's Jewish heritage, she said, got multiple swastika tattoos and acquired Nazi paraphernalia during their relationship.

"Things like that are not ironic anymore. At what point are you doing it as commentary and at what point are you just a Nazi?" she said.


Manson's former assistant claimed Manson would steal people's personal information.

Dan Cleary worked directly with Manson in the late 2000s, and became Manson's personal assistant from 2014 until 2015.

In 2020, he shared a Twitter thread about being a witness to alleged abuse.

In the documentary, Wood shared how important it felt to have someone in 'the inner circle' validate her story. 

She and Cleary met and embraced. In conversation, Cleary said Manson stole people's personal information.


"When I was his assistant, anyone who hopped on his wi-fi, he had your information and was able to clone phones or laptops or something," Cleary claimed.

Wood replied: "I've seen him hack into people's laptops and gather information on them as blackmail. He's hacked into my computer and social media accounts; he was monitoring my every move. I couldn't reach out to anybody to say 'I need help' because if he caught me doing that it would be two days, up for two days getting yelled at, pleading my case."

Manson allegedly coerced people into saying things he could blackmail them with.

Phoenix Rising includes Wood in discussion with a number of other Manson accusers in a survivor's support group. Image: Getty/Facebook/Mamamia.


In 2021, a number of Manson accuses told Rolling Stone he had tried to collect dirt on them as potential blackmail.

In Phoenix Rising's second part, Wood said she saw this happen, and it was a reason she and others felt so uneasy about coming out with their stories.

"The three main things that I saw him get on people so they couldn't say anything were naked photos, drugs, and 'I'm going to get you to say the n-word on camera,'" she said.

"It starts off as, 'Well, it's ironic. Oh, it's a commentary on the Nazis. Oh yeah, we're taking the piss out of the Nazis. This is anti-Nazi. And then it turns into I'm just being shocking using the n-word; you don’t get the joke.

"That evolved into 'I'm going to get mad at you if you don't laugh at this joke' and then it was 'Oh, I have to laugh at this joke', and then it was 'I don't trust you if you don't make the same joke'. I felt like I had to participate in that to show him that I was loyal."

Wood alleged she was drugged, raped and tortured.

Wood said drugs were a common part of their relationship and she begged Manson multiple times to allow her to get clean.

She claimed Manson would put meth in some of the drugs she took. She also said he would give her pills to help her sleep, but she claimed that led to sexual assault.


"I didn't know what the pills were, so I was always pretty out of it. I'd wake up, and I just remember doing the mental math quickly and thinking, 'Just stay asleep… just don't move,'" she said. "So I would just lie limp and still until it was over. And then I swear to God he would just fling my leg and walk out of the room."

She also said Manson used military tactics like sleep deprivation as torture.

"I started to realise that if I stayed there I was going to die," she said.

Wood first left Manson in 2009.

In 2009, Wood felt ready to leave. Her aunt helped her, and she then went home to North Carolina to stay with her father.

In Phoenix Rising, Wood's mother recalled how Manson had called her and told her he was self-harming every time Wood did not answer the phone.

"He called me 158 times and cut himself every time I didn't pick up the phone and said he was going to kill himself. This is when people in my life starting saying 'you need to get a restraining order' and I said 'absolutely not'. Getting a restraining order seemed crazy to me because I was like 'you're only going to make him more mad'. I think a lot of women feel like that."

She returned to Los Angeles to try to 'defuse the situation', but this is when she said the torture began.

Wood claimed that when she returned, he tied her to a kneeler, hit her with a Nazi whip, and shocked her genitals.


In 2011, Wood fell pregnant.

Wood discovered she was pregnant while filming Mildred Pierce in 2011.

"From the beginning of our relationship, he had an issue with whatever birth control I was taking," Wood said.

"I went through every type to see which one he liked, and he didn't like any of them. So essentially he didn't want me using birth control. He refused to wear a condom ever, and it was very much sex on demand, and it was gonna cause more problems if I said no. You don't have time to use birth control when somebody is just penetrating you while you sleep. Or if they've given you a pill that made you black out."

Wood said that she still tried to prevent a pregnancy, but her methods didn't work.

"He flew out for an abortion. I was just so scared and sad. I obviously believe in a woman's right to choose, but that doesn’t mean that it wasn't devastating," she recalled. 

"The second it was over it was like, 'Make me dinner.' And I remember being like, 'I'm supposed to be resting. My body's been through some trauma... And he didn't care."

Wood said that was when she started feeling suicidal. 

After an attempt, she said her attitude changed. She no longer laughed at his jokes. When he threatened to kill her, she said 'okay'. She said after this the relationship was no longer fun for him.

When she left to film The Ides of March, she knew she was leaving for good.


The first time she cried about some parts of her experience was in an FBI interview.

The documentary featured Wood speaking directly after an interview with the FBI in late 2020.

She said it was the first time she had ever shared parts of her story, and the first time she had been able to cry about others.

"That was intense but cathartic," she said. "They always ask you, 'And after this happened, did you seek medical attention or tell anyone?' The answer was almost always no."

She said the empathy of the interviewers surprised her.

"You could tell it wasn't accusatory. They just needed to corroborate my story.

"This is the first time I haven't been doubted or questioned or shamed. This is the first time that someone was really listening and they had support there. I was like, 'what is this feeling?' and it's this feeling of being believed."

Her team tried to talk her out of naming Manson.

As 2021 rolled around, Wood finally felt ready to come forward publicly and name Manson.

"Ever since this happened it's always been 'don't say anything', 'stand down, stand down, stand down'. I'm just f***ing tired of standing down. I'm tired of everyone being like 'we have to protect your career and reputation so just stay away', and it's like that's what's kept me quiet this whole time. It's kind of like, when am I going to get to stand up?"

Wood ultimately went against any contrary advice and released a statement to Instagram on February 1, 2021.


The documentary captured the exact moment Wood hit 'post', with her dad next to her.

"I did it," she said, before breaking down in tears.

The Marilyn Manson statement.

Filmmakers contacted Manson, but he did not respond to specific allegations. 

Instead, the film features a statement from his lawyers: "Mr Warner vehemently denies any and all claims of sexual assault or abuse of anyone". 

His lawyer described the claims as "part of a coordinated attack by former partners and associates of Mr. Warner who have weaponised the otherwise mundane details of his personal life and their consensual relationships into fabricated horror stories." 

To date, no charges have been laid against Manson.

Manson sued Wood in March 2022. 

Phoenix Rising is now streaming on Binge.

If this post brings up any issues for you, or if you just feel like you need to speak to someone, please call 1800 RESPECT (1800 737 732) – the national sexual assault, domestic and family violence counselling service. It doesn’t matter where you live, they will take your call and, if need be, refer you to a service closer to home. 

You can also call safe steps 24/7 Family Violence Response Line on 1800 015 188 or visit www.safesteps.org.au for further information.

Feature image: Binge.

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