Joan Crawford’s Daughter Christine Once Revealed the Real Tyrannical Mother behind Her Popular Image

While the world remembers Joan Crawford as a legendary Hollywood star with amazing good looks and charm, who starred in over eighty movies during her lifetime, her daughter, Christine, has a different image of her.

To actress Christina Crawford, the worst part of being abused as a child was having no one intervene despite knowing about her mom's callous side. But the Hollywood icon was forced to endure that, and more, with her mom's life still engulfing her years after breaking away from her shadow.

In her infamous memoir, "Mommie Dearest," the actress unpacked unbelievable facts about her adoptive mom, Joan Crawford, painting the Hollywood veteran as a bitter and abusive woman caught in the throes of alcoholism and obsessive compulsion.

Joan Crawford sits and holds hands with her adopted daughter Christina at their home | Source: Amomama

Joan Crawford sits and holds hands with her adopted daughter Christina at their home | Source: Amomama

Despite having several close acquaintances and relatives dispute it over the years, the memoir, which was the first-ever celebrity tell-all, gained so much popularity. Eventually, it was adapted into the 1981 film of the same title, which has become a cult classic.

CHRISTINA RECALLS BEING ABUSED AS A CHILD

At 82, Christina remembers her rough childhood vividly, especially her ordeal in the hands of her mom, who the rest of the world considered an angel. The Hollywood star is one of late actress Joan Crawford's four adopted children. As the oldest of the brood, Christina seemed to have it rougher than the rest.

In 1978, a year after Joan's death, Christina published "Mummy Dearest," where she recounted harrowing details of her abusive childhood. She labeled her mom as a cruel, abusive, perfectionist, who began abusing her as early as nine, at the slightest provocations.

Christina Crawford speaks about Turner Classic Movies original documentary, "Joan Crawford: The Ultimate Movie Star". | Photo: Getty Images

Christina Crawford speaks about Turner Classic Movies original documentary, "Joan Crawford: The Ultimate Movie Star". | Photo: Getty Images

"Mommie Dearest" chronicled incidents of Christina getting kicked, slapped, punched, and strangled by her mom, who also subjected her to scheduled cleaning and other grueling household chores.

Notably, most of these treatments were informed by the Hollywood legend's alcoholism, perfectionism, and control freak tendency. The repeated abuse led to an estrangement between Christina and her mom, with the former leaving home to lead an independent life the first chance she got.

BULLIED INTO SUBMISSION

Detailing some of the atrocities her mom committed against her, the 82-year-old recalled the disturbing moment she realized her mom hated her.

American film actress Joan Crawford (1904 - 1977) at the Oscars award ceremony in Hollywood | Photo: Getty Images

American film actress Joan Crawford (1904 - 1977) at the Oscars award ceremony in Hollywood | Photo: Getty Images

She was thirteen at the time. She remembered Joan walking into her room, grabbing her by the throat, punching her face, and slamming her hard on the floor. At that moment, all she could see in her mom's eyes was a woman trying to kill her.

Christina recalled the aftermath of the attack, saying her mom went on to call officers to arrest her and put her in juvenile detention. The officer declined, leaving the 13-year-old with a warning that she would end up in juvie if Joan called again.

After listening to Christina's side of the story, the kind officer advised her to hold on tight until she was eighteen and able to break free, as there were no laws protecting her. Instead, the encounter made Christina grow up with the fear of being locked up.

Joan Crawford helping her daughter Christina during her piano lesson in the United States on July 25, 1947 | Photo: Getty Images

Joan Crawford helping her daughter Christina during her piano lesson in the United States on July 25, 1947 | Photo: Getty Images

CHRISTINA'S PAINFUL PAST

Before that incident, she had endured similar encounters in her mom's hands but simply dismissed them as discipline. One of her earliest memories of abuse happened at the age of nine when her mom roughly dragged her out of bed in the middle of the night and hit her on the head for leaving scouring powder on the bathroom floor.

As Christina geared towards teenagehood, she became rebellious, prompting her mom to send her off to boarding school. However, her stay was short-lived, as she was soon withdrawn after the school caught her in an awkward position with a guy. Of course, that led to another round of violence.

There was also the infamous "wire hanger" scene which she recounted in her book. Joan allegedly beat Christina with a wire hanger after discovering the young girl's dresses hung from wire hangers. The famous meme "no wire hangers" originated from that incident.

 Christina Crawford speaks during the documentary screening of "Christina Crawford: Surviving Mommie Dearest" at St. Luke's Theater on November 20, 2013 | Photo: Getty Images

Christina Crawford speaks during the documentary screening of "Christina Crawford: Surviving Mommie Dearest" at St. Luke's Theater on November 20, 2013 | Photo: Getty Images

THE IMPACT OF HER ABUSIVE CHILDHOOD

Aside from nursing the fear of being incarcerated throughout her childhood, which admittedly kept her "straight and narrow," being abused also affected Christina's life in other ways.

Another feeling that constantly dwelled with her was uncertainty, as no one who witnessed the abuse seemed willing to come to her rescue or admit it was happening at all.

While she understood that most of the staff kept mute for fear of losing their jobs, she never understood why others chose to turn a blind eye to her predicament.

At some point, Christina questioned her sanity, given that no one else seemed to notice what was going on except for her brother, Christopher. Admittedly, knowing that Christopher, who died of cancer in 2006, was her living witness helped her keep her sanity and survive her harrowing childhood.

| Photo: Getty Images

| Photo: Getty Images

Christina described her circumstances surrounding her childhood and her mom's perceived image as chronic "gaslighting," a manipulation tactic too cruel for a child to experience.

WHAT HER FAMILY THINKS

Aside from Christina and Christopher, who became estranged from their mom once they attained adulthood, Joan's two other kids, Cathy and Cynthia, believe Joan was the sweetest mom ever.

In fact, the twins have disputed Christina's claims on occasions, with Cathy countering her big sister in an interview, describing their mom as "very loving."

Portrait photo of Joan Crawford | Photo: Getty Images

Portrait photo of Joan Crawford | Photo: Getty Images

Other relatives, friends, and staff of the deceased actress have also debunked the claims, calling Cristina out for defaming her mom posthumously due to their strained relationship.

Many believe the actress wrote the memoir out of spite after discovering that her mom dis-inherited her and Christopher "for reasons known to them."

Christina couldn't care less about what everyone else thought about her "truth," as she was only glad she survived the grueling years and lived to tell the tale.

ⓘ NEWS.AMOMAMA.COM does not support or promote any kind of violence, self-harm, or abusive behavior. We raise awareness about these issues to help potential victims seek professional counseling and prevent anyone from getting hurt. NEWS.AMOMAMA.COM speaks out against the above mentioned and advocates for a healthy discussion about the instances of violence, abuse, sexual misconduct, animal cruelty, abuse etc. that benefits the victims. We also encourage everyone to report any crime incident they witness as soon as possible.

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