For many years, Oprah Winfrey says she was obsessed with All My Children, which featured one of the first African-American super couples in daytime, Angie and Jesse. In 1989, Debbi Morgan, the actress who portrayed Angie, became the first black actress to win a Daytime Emmy Award, tying Santa Barbara's Nancy Lee Grahn in the supporting actress category.
From the outside, Morgan seemed to have a life worth emulating, but most people never knew the dark family secret she was keeping. In her memoir, "The Monkey on My Back," she writes candidly about the violent cycle of domestic abuse that existed in her family for generations. Debbi says her grandmother, mother and aunts all married men who abused them.
“Not only that, there were nine siblings, four of the five sisters married abusive men,” she says. “And all of the brothers turned out to be abusive husbands, except for one.”
Morgan admits that, for years, she also attracted violent men into her life. This pattern began when Debbi was just a little girl. “The first love of my life was this little boy named Butch, who I just adored. One day my father walked me to nursery school … and I hear somebody saying, ‘Debbi, Debbi,’ and I’m like, ‘Daddy, Daddy, here comes Butch!'” she says. “It’s like in a movie in slow motion. I’m running towards Butch, and he’s running towards me, he gets up to me and he goes pow and punches me in the stomach.”
After Morgan recovered from the blow, she says she got up and went chasing after Butch. “Even though he had hit me, I looked at him as my protector,” she says. “Ultimately, I would find out that they were the person that I needed to be protected from.”
Watch below as Morgan shares more about her history with domestic violence.
Morgan also played the role of Angie on Loving and The City. Her other soap roles include Harmony Hamilton on The Young and the Restless, District Attorney Jennifer Tartaro on The Bold and the Beautiful, Dr. Ellen Burgess on Port Charles, and Chantal Marshall on Generations. She currently stars as Estelle in the Starz drama Power.