Tragic details that have come out about this former NCIS star

For 15 years, actress Pauley Perrette delighted fans as the surprisingly bubbly goth forensic scientist Abby Sciuto on the CBS crime procedural NCIS. It was a bit of a surprise when she exited the show in May 2018, but not as surprising as the claims she later made about how she was allegedly mistreated during her time on the show. 

However, diehard Perrette fans know that she's something of an open book. Channelling her unfortunate personal experiences with sexual assault, stalking, and domestic abuse, the primetime star became an outspoken advocate for fellow victims. In doing so, she made some very candid confessions about her sometimes turbulent offscreen life over the years, including how her efforts at outreach work with the homeless have gone terribly wrong, and how her marriage became a living nightmare. 

Fortunately, Perrette is as strong in real life as her character on a fictional crimefighting task force was, and she's doing just fine, as of this writing. But for now, let's train the microscope on some of the details that have come out about this former NCIS star. 

Her marriage sounds like an episode of Law & Order: SVU

Pauley Perrette's first and only marriage — to musician and DJ Francis 'Coyote' Shivers — ended dramatically and disastrously in 2004 when the couple decided to split. According to Fox News, Perrette obtained a restraining order against Shivers the same year they divorced. Perrette, along with another ex-wife of Shivers, Bebe Buell, told Fox that he "stalked them and inflicted upon each of them endless mental distress," as well as "terrorized them sexually during their respective relationships." Yet another ex of shivers, former girlfriend Angela Garber, accused him of rape and physical assault.

But the alleged acrimony goes both ways. Shivers, who has been arrested on multiple occasions for violating Perrette's longstanding restraining order, has repeatedly challenged Perrette's claims, even going so far as to file his own lawsuit against her in 2014. In his lawsuit, Shivers claimed Perrette engaged in a "decade-long campaign of harassment … intended to financially, physically, and emotionally ruin [him]." Ultimately, the court dismissed Shivers' lawsuit.

A violent attack changed her life forever

In early November 2015, Pauley Perrette was physically assaulted and threatened by a man outside her home in Hollywood Hills, Calif. Shortly after the incident, Perrette described the event on Twitter, writing that a homeless man allegedly "grabbed me so forcefully, pinned my arm, punched me in the nose [and] forehead [...] repeatedly telling me he was going to kill me." She went on to describe the incident as "life changing."

The accused, David Merck, 45, was subsequently charged with felony counts of making a criminal threat and false imprisonment by violence, but was later "found incompetent to stand trial," according to LA Independent. He was then sent to Patton State Hospital for psychiatric treatment.

In February 2018, Fox LA exclusively reported that Merck had been released from the hospital and was back out on the streets. When reached for comment, Perrette refused to talk about it on camera "over fears for her safety," but she did release the following statement: "It changed my life forever. I don't walk outside my house. I think it's entirely possible that the next word I hear about this guy is that he'll kill a female."

Unfortunately, Perrette's ordeal with Merck wasn't the only frightening run-in she'd have with a homeless person.

She was attacked again... by another homeless person

In February 2016 — only a few months after she was attacked by a homeless man outside of her own home — Pauley Perrette tweeted about another attack by another allegedly homeless person. According to her terrifying account, she was sitting in a row of cars at a stop light when she pulled out a dollar bill to give to the man, who was asking for money from drivers. She waved him over and when she did, he grabbed her wrist, leaned into her car, and demanded to know what time it was.

"He was in my car and I was scared," Perrette wrote. "I looked at my dashboard and first said, 'I rebuke you satan in the name of Jesus Christ,' Then said to him, 'It's 5:37.' He held my wrist for a moment, then released and left." Perrette also wrote that she is "learning", and that she is more aware than ever that she needs to be "smart" and "safe," while giving, all at the same time. 

It's unclear what, if anything, happened to her alleged attacker.

What happened behind the scenes at NCIS?

Pauley Perrette shocked NCIS fans a second time — the first was her exit from the show — when she seemed to imply that the reason she left was, in part, due to "multiple physical assaults." While Perrette didn't name the show in the series of cryptic May 2018 tweets in which she said she wasn't "spilling the beans" in order "to protect my crew, jobs and so many people," the network that owns the show replied anyway.

According to USA Today, CBS issued a statement two days after Perrette's tweets, which read: "Over a year ago, Pauley came to us with a workplace concern. We took the matter seriously and worked with her to find a resolution. We are committed to a safe work environment on all our shows."

That was pretty much the last word on the matter, despite another of Perrette's tweets that left many questions unanswered: "There is a 'machine' keeping me silent, and feeding FALSE stories about me," she wrote. "A very rich, very powerful publicity 'machine.' No morals, no obligation to truth, and I'm just left here, reading the lies, trying to protect my crew. Trying to remain calm. He did it."

She is a rape survivor

In a move of solidarity with petitioners looking to block Mike Tyson from appearing on 2013 episode of Law & Order: SVU, Pauley Perrette revealed that she is a rape and domestic violence survivor. She returned to the painful subject years later, to speak out in support of other victims of sexual assault and harassment, specifically in the wake of the Harvey Weinstein scandal.  

Penning a lengthy note that she shared on Twitter via screenshot, Perrette described how she was raped in high school when she was 15 years old. The trauma led her to "a series of abusive relationships," as well as self-esteem issues, and a lifelong battle with bullying. "These awful sexual assault revelations are not only common in the entertainment industry, but everywhere," Perrette wrote, claiming it took her a long time to be able to reckon with abuses of power, especially in the workplace. After finding the resolve to speak up for herself, Perrette now issues the following call to action other survivors and witnesses of abuse: "These predators must be stopped and we must start respecting each other's humanity and dismissing the illusion of power that makes abusers think they are untouchable."

Setting her sights on stalkers

In September 2017, Pauley Perrette revealed her decade-long ordeal with a stalker. Without giving specific details about her case in order to not "give her tormentor the attention she says he craves," Perrette said she "100 percent" believes her life is in danger. It was only after the the tragic shooting death of singer Christina Grimmie, which Perrette called "a cold reminder that stalking is a deadly problem" (per CBS News) that she could overcome her constant state of fear to speak out. 

Along with California Congressman Adam Schiff, Perrette works to strengthen existing laws related to stalking, as well as put new ones on the books to address the new ways that stalkers are harassing their victims. "[Stalking laws] not been updated in 20 years," Perrette told CBS. "In that 20 years, so much has happened — mainly the internet."

Additional measures Perrette has called for include restraining order reforms; third party culpability to hold responsible anyone who "knowingly and willingly helps a stalker;" and stopping abuse of the court system, which she claims stalkers use as a way to see their victims.

Beauty is pain

Pauley Perrette is arguably best known for her NCIS character's signature black hair, but like we just mentioned, that's all make believe. The New Orleans-born actress is actually a natural blonde and for years, Perrette dyed her hair black to maintain her character's look. However, in a 2014 interview with Extra, Perrette revealed that she developed an allergy to black hair dye.

Perette also took to Twitter, sharing a few scary photos (one of them is above) of just how bad the reaction got. "I almost died from Black #HairDyeAllergy," Perrette wrote. Later, speaking with CBS News, Perrette revealed that she had a more minor reaction six months earlier when she "broke out into a rash all over her neck and scalp." This time, she said, "The other half of my face had become twice the size of my head."

The solution ended up being something called Elumen, which Perrette tweeted about, describing it as "an ionic infusion of color, not dye. Based on +ionic magnetic charge not dye Only safe one." Why didn't producers just write it into the show that her character becomes a blonde? 

"I don't think the world is ready for a blonde Abby. I'm not ready for a blonde Abby," Perrette told Queen Latifah. Now, that's dedication to a role right there.

Single and not even close to ready to mingle

When Pauley Perrette announced her engagement to actor and former British Marine Thomas Arklie, she also announced that they wouldn't get married until everyone else had the right to marry, too. 

When the Supreme Court "struck down a key part of the Defense of Marriage Act" (per The Washington Post) in July 2015, effectively ruling in favor of gay marriage, it was the outcome Perrette and many other LGBTQ+ activists had long awaited. However, she described the occasion (via Fox News) as "the strangest day." She and her husband-to-be also didn't rush to set their own wedding date. In fact, that never wed at all, and, as of this writing, Perrette and Arklie are no longer together.

Perrette was nearly radio silent regarding her rumored split with Arklie until a 2018 CBS News interview in which she finally opened up a bit. "Nope. Tried it. Not for me. Not at all," she responded to a question about "a love life," saying that choosing the single life was "the best decision [she] ever made in life."