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Janay Rice Breaks Her Silence

Ray Rice's wife opens up to Matt Lauer about their infamous elevator fight

It's been nine months since that infamous elevator fight between NFL star Ray Rice and his then-fiancée, Janay, and three months since the disturbing video of the incident was leaked to the public.

At the time, we were all shocked—sickened, really—at what we were seeing: a man, on Valentine's Day, beating his girlfriend in a casino elevator and dragging her semi-conscious body out of it once they'd reached their floor.

In the wake of the leak, Rice issued a public apology, during which Janay, who is now his wife, sat silently by his side, looking profoundly sad, to say the least. He later entered a divergent program, but was never charged with a crime for his actions.

For her part, Janay has largely kept silent about what happened that night—until now. Recently, she shared her side of the story with ESPN's Jemele Hill in a written essay that describes a day in which "nothing seemed to be going right." But Monday, she gave her first on-camera interview when she sat down with Matt Lauer for the "Today" show, and opened up about the pain of that day—not just the physical pain of her husband's abuse, but the pain and hurt caused by media frenzy that followed after, the public speculation and the frustration with having to keep silent.

"That's been the hardest part," she told Lauer. "Having so much of your life made public and have it all be negative not having control over anything that has to do with you. It's a natural thing for a human to say 'No, no—that's not me; that's not true.' But it's a battle that we've had to go through."

By her side through the interview was her mom, Candy Palmer, who shared that when she was finally able to watch the security video, it made her sick to her stomach.

"I didn't want to see it at first, and it took me a while," she said. "[But] I did cause I had to. That's my child and if something happened to her, I don't care what it is, I want to see it."

Still, Palmer says her daughter is not the face of domestic violence that the public has made her out to be.

As for Janay, she insists that besides that terrible night in February when they were both "highly intoxicated," her husband has never raised a hand to her.

"No. Not at all," she told Lauer. "There's no way. He knows what he would have to deal with, you know, if this was something. You know, I'm not going to sit there in silence and let something happen to me—and God forbid, in front of my child, just like, let it happen? There's no way."

Photo via Today.com

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