Patrick Swayze’s widow Lisa Niemi Swayze has revealed that the late actor was abused by his mother when he was a child. According to the Daily Mail, Lisa participated in the filming of a new documentary titled I Am Patrick Swayze, and shared the heartbreaking information.
“She could be very violent,” Lisa states in the film, scheduled to air on the Paramount Network, Aug. 18. Swayze’s mother, Patsy, was a choreographer who founded the Houston Jazz Ballet Company. Later on in life, Swayze would praise his mother for instilling a strong work ethic in him, but Lisa says that Patsy’s methods were too extreme.
Lisa also spoke with PEOPLE about the abuse allegations, with the outlet reporting that on occasion Swayze had privately recounted one particular story wherein his mother was “laying into him” on his 18th birthday, prompting his father to come to his defence and threaten to divorce Patsy if she ever harmed Swayze again.
“She never hit him after that,” Lisa went on to tell the outlet.
Patsy “was really an example of what happens in families in a cycle of abuse,” Lisa says in the documentary. “She could be very violent, but it was nothing compared to what she endured growing up and the stories I heard about what she went through with her own mother.”
Lisa met Swayze at his mom’s dance studio when she was 15 years old, later going onto marry him in 1975. “He became very aware of the positive and the negative aspects of how he was raised” when he moved out on his own, Lisa added of Swayze’s life. “But you know what, if somebody pushes you that hard, like his mom did, it could make some people cave, but it made him fight harder.”
As the years passed, Swayze and Patsy “came to have a much better relationship,” Lisa shared. “Patsy could be extremely critical and negative. But she figured out that if she was going to be around us, she needed to be a little nicer, and that’s what she did.”
Sadly, Swayze passed away in Sept. 2009 at the age of 57, after a fight with pancreatic cancer. In the end, Swayze “showed himself to be a true hero in how he approached his disease,” Lisa also said. “The amount of lovingness and kindness, I saw wisdom in him that was beyond anything I’d seen before.”
Patsy passed away four years after her son, in 2013. She was 86 years old at the time of her death.
Photo Credit: Jean-Paul Aussenard / Getty