'I just ended up bawling': Jana Kramer nearly gave up on her dreams after manager's sexual misconduct

Jana Kramer in Los Angeles in July. (Photo: Getty Images)

“The Harvey stuff is difficult,” says Jana Kramer. “Unfortunately, it’s not the first case and it’s not going to be the last.”

The country singer and former One Tree Hill actress recounted to Yahoo Lifestyle that, like the litany of women who have shared their stories of misconduct in the wake of the Harvey Weinstein scandal, she too has faced unwanted sexual advances in both the acting and music industries.

“The reason why I haven’t said anything is it’s just one of those things where it’s hard to talk about,” she says, revealing that she almost left Los Angeles in her early career days after an episode with a former manager.

Jana Kramer (Photo: Getty Images)

“I had a man helping me in the very beginning when I was 19, and he was like, ‘OK, I’ve done this for you. What are you going to do for me?’” Kramer discloses. “And I remember in that moment being like, ‘Oh, my God! I am going to have to sleep with this man in order to fulfill my dreams.’ I ended up just bawling, crying, and having a panic attack, and he left,” she recalls.

“I called my mom and I was like, ‘I’m coming home. I’m going back to Michigan.’ And she’s like, ‘The hell you are!’ She said, ‘Don’t let a man try and take something away from you like that. Be the bigger person. Fight back.’”

Kramer heeded her mom’s wise words and went on to find a new manager, but she was shaken to the core by the experience. “I’ll never forget that,” she says, “how easy it is for something like that to happen and for me to think ‘I can’t do this,’ and then they win.”

Kramer, who hasn’t previously spoken out about her #MeToo moment, thinks the reason so many of these stories get swept under the rug is twofold: “With a big name like Harvey, women feel silenced and they are afraid to come out because they don’t want their careers affected,” she says. “Also you kind of just feel gross about it and ashamed about it, and you are like, ‘Was it me? Did I do something?’”

Kramer recently signed on as an ambassador for female-run Little Black Dress Wines. Through that organization, she’s volunteered for Dress for Success, an organization that provides networking support, professional attire, and development tools to help women thrive in and out of the workplace.

“I love empowering women, especially women that need help and encouragement, to make them feel better and make them feel beautiful,” says Kramer, who notes this is especially important in today’s world.

“I feel like women can be just brutal to each other,” she says. “They can really tear each other down. So to be able to empower women to have a voice, to be able to speak out and to be confident with themselves and not to have to settle for anything and feel like that’s what they deserve, is just wonderful to be a part of.”

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