Evan Rachel Wood Details Horrific Abuse Allegations Against Marilyn Manson in "Phoenix Rising"

Olivia Fougeirol | Courtesy of Sundance Institute
Olivia Fougeirol | Courtesy of Sundance Institute

If you or someone you know would like to speak with someone who is trained to assist sexual assault survivors, please call the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-4673.

Evan Rachel Wood is speaking her truth. In her "Phoenix Rising" docuseries, which premiered at this year's Sundance Film Festival, the 34-year-old actor and activist details the horrific years-long abuse and trauma she says she suffered at the hands of Marilyn Manson (née Brian Warner). Wood first met Manson in 2006 when she was 18 — Manson was 37. They were together on and off for about four and a half years before Wood eventually made her "final escape" in early 2011. HBO released the trailer for the docuseries on Feb. 22 ahead of the streaming-service debut.

In 2016, Wood wrote a letter to Rolling Stone in which she opened up about suffering abuse and being raped by a significant other but did not mention any names. Five years later, Wood came forward with allegations against Manson in a statement on social media. "The name of my abuser is Brian Warner, also known to the world as Marilyn Manson," she wrote. "He started grooming me when I was a teenager and horrifically abused me for years. I was brainwashed and manipulated into submission. I am done living in fear of retaliation, slander, or blackmail."

Wood is now using her experience to stand up for victims of domestic violence and sexual assault — "Phoenix Rising" serves as validation for those suffering in silence. She created the Phoenix Act, a group of survivors and advocates who "work together to organize and pass legislation" across the nation. She also testified before the House Judiciary Committee to support the Sexual Assault Survivors' Bill of Rights Act.

Since Wood came forward with her allegations, Manson has denied any wrongdoing. "Obviously, my art and my life have long been magnets for controversy, but these recent claims about me are horrible distortions of reality," Manson wrote in a February Instagram post. "My intimate relationships have always been entirely consensual with like-minded partners."

In a statement to POPSUGAR, Manson's attorney, Howard King, stated that Manson "vehemently denies any and all claims of sexual assault or abuse of anyone." The statement continues: "As we detailed in our lawsuit, nothing that Evan Rachel Wood, Illma Gore or their hand-picked co-conspirators have said on this matter can be trusted. This is just more of the same. But, then again, what else would you expect from a group who have spread falsehood after falsehood about Brian and even went as far as to forge an FBI letter to further their phony claims?"

Part one of "Phoenix Rising" premiered at the 2022 Sundance Film Festival. The two-part docuseries is now available on HBO. See the biggest takeaways from "Phoenix Rising" ahead.

Part 1: "Don't Fall"
Olivia Fougeirol | Courtesy of Sundance Institute

Part 1: "Don't Fall"

  • Manson allegedly made it very clear to Wood that if she ever came forward, he could come after her. He reportedly threatened Wood by telling her that he would "f*ck up" her whole family "from the bottom up," starting with her dad. "I have a child and it's really scary," Wood says, referencing her 8-year-old son, Jack Matfin Bell, with ex-husband Jamie Bell. "Naming Brian without support is too much of a risk."
  • From an early age, Wood learned to always keep going even if the situation made her uncomfortable. The actor explains that this mentality was instilled in her very early on, referencing an incident on the set of 2003's "Thirteen." "I had to make out with a 23-year-old man when I was 14 in front of a room full of people. And I remember not wanting to do it," she explains. "But I knew that the character needed to do it, so it didn't matter what Evan wanted. It just had to be done. And that set a tone for not-good situations as an adult."
  • Wood met Manson during a very vulnerable time in her life. Wood recalls meeting Manson for the first time at a party at the Chateau Marmont in Los Angeles in 2006. Wood says she was "so insecure" and "had no core identity," but she desperately wanted to be seen. At the party, Manson talked to her about a project he was working on called "Phantasmagoria: The Visions of Lewis Carroll" and asked for her contact information. Both Wood and Manson were in relationships at the time; Wood was with Bell, and Manson was with Dita Von Teese. However, the two still formed a friendship. "I was able to have conversations with him about art and about music, and about film that I wasn't able to have with people my own age really. And so that definitely boosted my ego and confidence," Wood notes.
  • Manson allegedly tried to split her and Bell up. According to Wood, when she sought relationship advice from Manson, she wasn't aware that he "could possibly be purposely trying to break us up." She adds, "I didn't know what preyed upon was. I didn't know what being groomed was."
  • Manson reportedly groomed Wood for several months before he eventually crossed the line. Wood alleges that she once visited Manson at his home before going off to shoot a movie. She went there under the guise that they were working on the script for "Phantasmagoria: The Visions of Lewis Carroll." They hung out, talked about art and movies, and drank absinthe, as they usually did, but as she was leaving, Manson reportedly put his arm around her and kissed her. "I think I was just shocked, honestly. I had a boyfriend. He knew I had a boyfriend. He was married. I'm 18. I just remember just like everything went white," Wood recalls. "I just didn't know how to respond. I think I was scared and excited at the same time because it was like getting kissed by a god. You're supposed to like this." Even though Wood and Manson didn't sleep together that night, she claims she let things go further than she wishes they had. "Phantasmagoria: The Visions of Lewis Carroll" never got made.

  • Shortly after, Manson allegedly began love-bombing Wood. This reportedly included scarification, branding, and drinking each other's blood. In January 2007, Wood carved an "E" on Manson, and he carved an "M" near her vagina as a way to "show ownership and loyalty." Wood really wants to get the scar removed, but she can't because it's considered evidence.
  • Wood claims Manson "essentially raped" her on camera while shooting the music video for his 2007 song "Heart-Shaped Glasses (When the Heart Guides the Hand)." Wood was 19 at the time, and even though she and Manson had previously agreed on the initial concept of the video, Manson allegedly went off script and penetrated her without her consent. According to Wood's mom, Manson gave Wood absinthe and "whatever else." "We had discussed a simulated sex scene, but once the cameras were rolling, he started penetrating me for real. I had never agreed to that," Wood says. "It was complete chaos, and I did not feel safe. No one was looking after me. It was a really traumatizing experience filming the video. I didn't know how to advocate for myself or how to say no because I had been conditioned and trained to never talk back, to just soldier through . . . That's when the first crime was committed against me."
  • Wood also claims Manson got violent with her when she went on tour with him. She references an incident in which Manson allegedly started throwing things inside of a tour bus and dragged her by the arm after drinking almost a bottle of liquid Vicodin for his throat problems. "In front of everybody, he's dragging me by my arm into the hotel, and no one's doing anything," Wood say. Once they got into the hotel and it was just Manson and Wood, she knew she "wasn't safe."
  • Manson is reportedly "very afraid of the survivors organizing." The musician is apparently aware that people are coming forward with new allegations against him, so he's trying to instill fear in them by sending packages to their houses and sending messages that say, "I'll kill you."
  • Wood's decision to come forward isn't about getting revenge but rather ensuring history doesn't repeat itself. "If we can't get justice, we at least need to make sure this doesn't happen to anybody else," Wood says. "Manson needs to be held accountable."
Part 2: "Stand Up"

Part 2: "Stand Up"

  • During their relationship, Manson allegedly hacked into Wood's emails and had people watching her.
  • Wood also alleges that Manson would isolate her in his house for months. As a result, Wood says she got really sick and couldn't get out of bed. Wood also alleges that Manson began raping her in her sleep during this time.
  • Wood found out she was pregnant when she left to film 2011's "Mildred Pierce." "He flew out for the 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," Wood says. "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 gone through this trauma. There's aftermath here.'" According to Wood, that's when she started "getting really suicidal," so she eventually checked herself into a mental health facility.
  • Wood left Manson for good when she went off to film 2011's "The Ides of March." Manson allegedly called her yelling when she was on set, but Wood hung up on him and changed her number. "That was it. That was the last time. That was my last leaving," she recalls. Wood ended up reconnecting with Bell shortly after.
  • Despite breaking things off with Manson, Wood still suffered from PTSD. "My night terrors were really bad. I had a lot of chronic pain. I would lie about things that I didn't need to lie about and I didn't know why, so I went downhill. I put myself in therapy three times a week," she says. "I don't know if I would have dove into self-help that deeply had I not been so desperately trying to keep our relationship together. Jamie and I loved each other so much. I couldn't fathom a life that didn't involve him." Wood and Bell were together for a couple of years before they eventually had a wedding ceremony in 2012, though they were never legally married. They welcomed their son in 2013, but ended up separating a year later.
  • Authorities launched an investigation into the claims made against Manson, but no charges have been brought against him.
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"Phoenix Rising" Official Trailer