During a recent interview on The Dr. Phil Show, set to air Monday, the 31-year-old actress says her former lover was aiming to ruin her through what she called “complete emotional blackmail.”
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“It was a crime. It is a serious crime to tape people without their knowledge like that and I had made the mistake of putting myself in the situation with the person so I just removed myself as quickly as I could, and then it just continued to be complete emotional abuse after that for the last several, several months,” she explained.
Barton also recalled the alarming way she learned of the sex tape’s existence. “Somebody came up to me on the street… and said there’s something I need to tell you and I didn’t believe it at first, I couldn’t believe it,” The O.C. alum recalled. “Because I had loved this person and I didn’t think it was possible.”
She added, “And I later learned it was entirely possible.”
Barton retained attorney Lisa Bloom, who issued a statement on behalf of the actress announcing that they plan on prosecuting the alleged “revenge pornography” peddler under “every available civil and criminal law.”
“I just want to say that I’ve been put through an incredibly hard and trying time,” Barton said in a press conference earlier this month. “This is a painful situation, and my absolute worst fear was realized when I learned that someone I thought I loved and trusted was filming my most intimate and private moments, without my consent, with hidden cameras. Then I learned something even worse: that someone is trying to sell these videos and make them public. I came forward to fight this not only for myself but for all the women out there.”
The reports come less than two months after Barton willingly went to the hospital the morning after celebrating her birthday in January, later telling PEOPLE that someone allegedly drugged her with GHB while she was out drinking with friends the night of the celebration. Two weeks later, Barton was involved in an accident in which she crashed a U-Haul truck into an apartment building while moving out of her apartment.
A source told PEOPLE at the time that Barton was trying to put her troubled past behind her. “She’s fragile but she doesn’t show it. It can’t be easy for her,” said an insider. “She just wants to get her career going again, change people’s perception of her and move on.”