'DWTS' Contestant Jana Kramer Speaks Out on Marital Troubles

The country singer turned reality TV dancing competitor opens up about her abusive first husband and caring for her daughter.
6:04 | 10/12/16

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Transcript for 'DWTS' Contestant Jana Kramer Speaks Out on Marital Troubles
On "Dancing with the stars," we've seen country singer Jana Kramer gliding across the floor. And also opening up about some wrenching moments in her personal-including she says infidelity from her current husband, and domestic abuse from her ex. Kramer sat down with ABC's Dana Whitworth. ? Hanging on when your heart is heavy ? Reporter: Jana Kramer filled with emotion has been dazzling judges with her performance on "Dancing with the stars" every week. Wowing the judges. 8! Reporter: Fst an actress, she rose to fame on the show "One tree hill." Now a country music sensation. ? You're the only part of me ? Reporter: Her single "Circles" climbing the charts. ? And I'm going in circles ? Reporter: But tonight she speaks to ABC for the first time on television about the news that she says her husband, former NFL player Mike caution, has been unfaithful. It's just this certain situation. I think what hurt the most is that I finally felt like I was in such a great mace. And I thought that I found that person. Reporter: The two have been married a little over a year and have an 8-month-old daughter Jolie. Kramer wondering how far his deception goes. I have to sit in this uncomfortable moment. To figure out where my heart is in that situation. And right now it's just about protecting Jolie. And continuing to grow personally. Reporter: This moment is also when she says she's found the courage to come forward about her first marriage. A relationship that she says nearly killed her. I'll never forget sitting in the bushes, how the heck? I'm hiding in my bushes. How in the world did I get here? Reporter: That was the night she says she was almost murdered by her then-husband Michael Gambino. This happened a lot. He would come home from a night out at the club. Literally take me out of my bed and throw me onto the ground. He said he was going to kill me. Choked me, did all those things. I was like, this is it you felt like you came face-to-face with the end of your life? Yeah. My grandpa has been my angel and I remember praying to him saying, I don't even want to be here anymore, I don't know how to get out of this situation, so -- if there is a happier place, let me come to you or save me or take me from this place so I don't have to be here anymore, because I don't know how to get out. When we were struggling, he was choking me, I see everything. I see my mom, I see my funeral. I literally have that flash of my whole life. And I just remember I screamed my mom's name. And that's the last thing I remember. Reporter: Kramer says she lost consciousness and Gambino fled. By the time he was arrested and convicted of premeditated attempted murder, she had endured years of domestic violence. She was only 19 wn they met. A rising star who had just landed her first major movie role in the Adam Sandler film "Click." He started to be verbally abusive. Then it would be grabbing the arms. Black eye. Everything I kept saying, all right, if he really gets both my eyes. Or -- I just kept making excuses. He was manipulating me to the core. Making me truly feel like it was my fault. And so many women that are in abusive situations feel like they're the reason for this. And the truth of the matter is they're not. Reporter: After five years in prison, Gambino was out on parole. Kramer says she lived in fear until she got the news that changed everything. I remember getting the call that he committed suicide. And I felt bad, because my first feeling was relief. That he was gone. That I didn't have to worry about him anymore. Reporter: After a second brief marriage and a broken engagement, Kramer thought she had finally found love with cossen. Kramer says their love life was threatened. In a statement to "People" magazine cossen says, I acknowledge that certain actions and behaviors have caused issues in my marriage and I am deeply sorry for the pain I have caused ja Jana. I have and will continue to take the steps needed to change who I am as a person in order to be a better husband and father." He has publicly acknowledged the situation and apologized. What does that mean to you? I -- appreciate the apology. Because it has been -- it has been heartbreaking. But it's nothing that I can't handle. He is doing all the work that he's supposed to be doing right now. And I acknowledge that and I see that. I see that you have the band on your hand. Yes. This band for me is -- I'm married to my daughter right now. And I don't know what the future looks like. But I do know that at the end of the day, I'll be strong for my daughter. Either way, she's going to have a happy household. ? In my daughter's eyes ? Reporter: She's taking that inspiration to the dance floor in a passionate performance on this week's "Dancing with the stars." The song "In my daughter's eyes" ends and Kramer is overcome by the image of Jolie. Now 32 years old, she's using her platform and voice to help empower women everywhere. Starting with herself. Through all of this heartache, what would you say you have really learned? What are you coming away with? That I am so much stronger than I ever thought was possible. And I am worthy of a great love. And I know that I am truly in it for just me. Reporter: ABC news, los Angeles.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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