Ex-Taliban hostage mom opens up about abuse she says she suffered from husband

Caitlan Coleman said her Canadian husband Joshua Boyle subjected her to years of "extreme" abuse during and after their kidnapping: "I was actually more afraid of him than of the captors."
8:42 | 05/30/19

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Transcript for Ex-Taliban hostage mom opens up about abuse she says she suffered from husband
Reporter: Tucked away in rural America, Caitlyn Cole mp and her children live a simple life. A far cry from how the world came to know them. They are willing to kill us. Reporter: As prisoners of the Taliban. Held around the clock by armed guards, completely isolated from the outside world, unsure if they would ever be free again. I tried not to think about that possibility very much, that we might be killed. Maybe we'll be prisoners forever but they're never going to kill us. Reporter: But as the story of her and her husband Joshua Boyles and their long-awaited release played out through hostage videos and headline, Caitlyn says there was a secret struggle, a struggle she's never publicly spoken about until now. What I was going through inside the cell was more horrific. I was actually more afraid of him than of the captors. Reporter: Caitlyn and Joshua's story starts simply enough, two home schooled teenagers bonding online. I was a huge "Star wars" fan. I got involved with this online "Star wars" forum I found. And Josh was also into "Star wars" as a teenager. We were both sort of members of that forum. I was sort of looking for a Romeo. He seemed to fit the bill at the time. Reporter: Raised catholic, Caitlyn had a sheltered upbringing in southern Pennsylvania. Josh grew up in Canada. His background more complicated. He was still married at the time that he proposed to me. Reporter: Josh's wife, one of Canada's most outspoken supporters of islamic, extremism. Did you have any concerns about him, his religious beliefs, his ex-wife, his past? I had seen Josh as my quote-unquote true love. We'd had a very dysfunctional relationship, lots of fights, but I still saw him as my true love. At that time I didn't think he sympathized with the Taliban. Reporter: So Caitlyn married Josh, discovering she was pregnant in 2012. But he had other plans, a hiking trip through central Asia. How was the decision made that were you going to Afghanistan? Josh had an interest in Afghanistan for a while prior. Josh proposed the central Asia trip to me, and I agreed to it. He said we won't go to Afghanistan, okay maybe we'll just dip in for one day, but about a week after we had landed in Kyrgyzstan, Josh started talking about his plan was that we essentially going to make our way down to the border of Afghanistan and that that was his intention with the trip. He believed that the Taliban in Afghanistan were misrepresented in the west, so he saw this as he's going to get in and sort of get the real story of the Reporter: Josh later telling ABC news he believed there were no good guys in the war against the Taliban and that he wanted to document their perspective. Why didn't you say, are you crazy? What are you thinking? I did say that. And he just said essentially you're dumb, to be quiet. Reporter: So why didn't you say, I'm pregnant, no. You're dumb, I'm out of here. I wish I had the strength to do that. He made it difficult for me. He kept the passport. He didn't give me access to money. I think I recognized that things were so bad that I didn't want to deal with it. Reporter: But Caitlyn would soon be dealing with much more. After crossing into Taliban territory, the couple was captured, Caitlyn now six months pregnant. I think shock hit me right away. But it was a long time before the reality that we were taken hostage sunk in. My children have seen their mother defiled. Reporter: Caitlyn went ton give birth in captivity and have two more children. They became known as America's littlest hostages. You said you and Josh made the decision together to have kids. Was that true? I was not given a choice as far as whether or not we would have children in captivity. Reporter: Are you saying that he was raping you? Um, yes. You know, I'm not saying that I physically struggled, but I am saying that I found relations with him pretty abhorrent, but I didn't have a choice. Josh's mental state devolved to such a point that there was sort of like abuse on a constant level. Reporter: So you're not only being held captive by theical ban, but you're being held captive by your husband within captivity. Yes. Reporter: But then, in 2017, almost five years to the day after their capture. The American mother and her family held hostage for five years, freed by a terror group. Yesterday the United States government working with the government of Pakistan, secured the release of caitlan Coleman, Joshua Boyle and their three Reporter: But Caitlyn says even after their release she was still a hostage held by Josh's physical and emotional abuse. She sat down with ABC shortly after the rescue, still dressed in traditional Muslim garb. Josh seemingly controlling her every move. He restricted pretty much everything. I had no freedom as far as where I would go, who I would talk to, how I would dress, what I would say. Reporter: A few months later, Caitlyn said she couldn't bear the abuse any longer, fleeing from her husband in the dead of night. Joshua Boyle was arrested in December 2017, charged with assault and ironically, unlawful confinement along with other crimes. He has pleaded not guilty and the trial is ongoing many through his attorneys, Boyle has declined to come. Kate Lynn and her children are now adjusting to their new lives. Like army intelligence officer Chris Costa and Tom Bossert, now an ABC news contributor, they both travel to Caitlyn's home to meet her. Spent a lot of time with a lot of hostage families, and you don't always have a positive outcome. So this is, to meet the people that you get out, that's a great This is so rewarding to us. Hello! Hello. Reporter: They, too, had the same question so many Americans asked while the hostage drama unfolded. Got to ask, like what the heck did you go to Afghanistan for in 2012? I went to Afghanistan because my husband told me I had no choice. That was why I went. Josh was sympathetic to the Taliban. He would always tell me, I think they're misrepresented in the west. I think they're good people. When you meet them, you're going to see. So I saw. And they are, with the exception of my husband, the worst people that I've ever known in my life. Reporter: But Caitlyn still clings to some hallmarks of her captivity. So when you were being held captive, did you convert? I do follow a lot of Muslim rule the for morality, I'm not sure I fit in one category. Reporter: And for those that see this interview, they may see you and say she still has a scarf around her head. What is that about? So I do cover my hair as a modesty thing, and it is certainly a precept that some muslims follow, but some Christians do, some Jews do. Reporter: Have you ever thought this is Stockholm syndrome? Yeah, I've thought about that. In ten years will I look back and say covered my hair because of Stockholm syndrome? I really don't now. Reporter: But what Caitlyn does know, after years of captivity and abuse she finally has her freedom. We do have some ordeals ahead of us, but then I look at what I survived, and I don't think there's anything that I couldn't handle. Reporter: For "Nightline," I'm Kyra Phillips.

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

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