In an exclusive interview with Closer Weekly, The WaltonsMichael Learned — one of the most iconic moms in TV history — opens up for the first time about overcoming domestic violence during a long-term relationship.

“When I learned that it’s not OK to turn the other cheek and let somebody abuse me, I began to get strong,” Michael, 77, reveals to Closer in her first interview about the experience.

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Michael on The Waltons.

“There were times where he was physically violent. He put a choke hold on me. I called the cops once, but I decided not to press charges,” she reveals. “I should have.”

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“I did leave at one point, but there was no one to turn to other than friends,” Michael explains to Closer. “There were no 12-step programs for domestic violence.”

Things eventually turned around for this mom-of-three. She’s been married to her fourth husband, attorney John Doherty, for nearly 26 years, and she’s as busy as ever, starring onstage in Driving Miss Daisy in Fayetteville, Pennsylvania, and celebrating The Waltons’ 45th anniversary reunion with her TV family.

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Michael and John in 1991.

Michael tells Closer she is no longer angry at her abuser. “If he were still doing it, I would tell you who he is, but today he’s an outstanding member of the community.”

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“If you know there’s something better out there and you’re willing to [take] responsibility for your choices, you can have a better life,” Michael tells Closer. “The life I have today is beyond my wildest dreams!”

For the full interview with Michael, pick up the latest issue of Closer Weekly, on newsstands now!

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