Lifetime’s Gaslit by My Husband: Morgan Metzer’s True Story, Explained

‘Gaslit by My Husband: The Morgan Metzer Story’ follows Morgan Metzer as her life begins to go downhill with abuse from her husband, divorce, and a masked intruder assaulting her in her own home. Morgan and Rodney Metzer are childhood friends turned lovers who get married at 21. After grieving the loss of their first child shortly after birth, they are overjoyed to eventually welcome twins into their family. However, when Rodney loses his job and goes into debt, his behavior becomes erratic and highly concerning.

Rodney blames Morgan’s drinking for all their fights and gaslights her into thinking of him as the victim. Barely a month after Morgan divorces Rodney, her house is broken into by a masked man who assaults her and ties her up before leaving. Soon afterward, Rodney rushes over and calls the police, starting an investigation that makes shocking revelations. The Lifetime thriller, directed by Lee Gabiana, narrates a story of deception, manipulation, and abuse, prompting our own investigation into its real-life inspirations.

A Downwards Spiral of Manipulation and Deceit

‘Gaslit by My Husband: The Morgan Metzer Story’ chronicles the real-life case of Morgan Metzer’s abuse and assault. Lead actress Jana Kramer has survived domestic abuse herself, which is one of the reasons she took up the role. She met Morgan Metzer before working on the film to ensure she did justice to her story. “I was nervous to talk to her just because I am telling her story and I wanted to be respectful of her story and tell her story how it happened,” she said in an interview. “She was familiar with my domestic abuse background, (and) where we got to in the end was we both were doing it because we wanted to shed light on this topic and what’s going on.”

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Kramer added, “And she was gracious to share her story, but we all know that it’s a lot of women’s stories that we’re telling. I love Morgan, she’s a very strong woman.” As depicted in the film, developed for the screen by Benjamin Anderson, Morgan and Rodney were childhood sweethearts who got married at 21 and had twins together. The loss of Rodney’s job and his debt reportedly made him prone to violent outbursts, which at one point left Morgan hiding in the closet with the children.

Further strain was put on Morgan’s emotional state as Rodney began to manipulate and gaslight her into believing their fights were a result of her reported drinking. As per reports, he would levy blame on her even if she only had one glass to drink. With the once-small negative traits compounding, Morgan divorced Rodney after 10 years of marriage in 2020.

The Abuser Acted as the Knight in Shining Armor

Rodney’s insecurity and manipulation seemingly went into overdrive after the divorce. He resorted to twisted plans to win Morgan back. As shown in the movie, he faked a cancer diagnosis to gain Morgan’s sympathy, and she allowed him to sleep on her couch. As per reports, she would later find out that he had taken inappropriate pictures of her during this time, including in the shower. Still no closer to having her back, Rodney devised a truly disturbing plan. He bought zip ties and a mask and found a means to mechanically change his voice. Just a month after their divorce, Morgan was celebrating New Year’s Eve and feeling optimistic about her future.

Alone in the house, she was woken by the silhouette of a man standing in her doorway, speaking in a gravelly, distorted voice. Morgan screamed as the man beat her with a pistol before attempting to strangle her twice. Just as she thought she was about to die, he zip-tied her and put a pillowcase over her head before leaving while saying, “You messed up. You’re going to be fine, but we can’t say that about your ex-husband. You’re really going to miss him.” Minutes later, Rodney came in, apparently shocked at her state. He freed and consoled her before calling the police. When the authorities arrived, they asked Rodney how he had known to come to Morgan’s house.

Rodney said that someone had tapped at his window and shouted her name, so he rushed over. The investigators were completely unconvinced by his explanation. A thorough search revealed that Rodney had bought the same zip ties used on Morgan days prior and had searched the internet for how to change one’s voice and how to choke someone. He had also written a suicide note, prompting them to believe he may have initially planned to kill her and himself since he couldn’t fathom losing her to someone else. Rodney was arrested for lying to investigators.

Such was the extent of his gaslighting that even after the arrest, Morgan still couldn’t bring herself to see the evidence and believe he was responsible. Confronted with damning evidence in court, Rodney Metzer pled guilty to all charges, including aggravated assault and kidnapping. He agreed to a sentence of 70 years, with 25 of those in prison. He would not reveal why he attacked Morgan or what became of his disguise. Rodney is serving time in Augusta State Medical Prison in Grovetown, Georgia, and will not be released before 2045. While recreating the assault scene for ‘Gaslit by My Husband: The Morgan Metzer Story,’ Jana Kramer had a panic attack on set.

When co-star Austin Nichols was on top of her for the pillowcase scene, Kramer’s own trauma of domestic abuse was triggered, and she screamed so loud that the director immediately called cut. She has worked with Nichols on ‘One Tree Hill’ and noted that she could ultimately pull the scene off because of her repo with him. “There was no one else I could have done this role with because even that moment having that panic attack on set and having to essentially run outside, knowing he was there, (I felt like), ‘OK, he’s a safe person for me,’” she said in the aforementioned interview.

Kramer was assaulted by her first husband, Michael Gambino, who was convicted on attempted murder charges in 2005. He was released from prison in 2010 and took his own life two years later. While minor alterations and dramatization of interactions and events may be present, Lifetime’s ‘Gaslit by My Husband: The Morgan Metzer Story’ remains largely true to the real-life sequence of events, shedding light on an egregious case of manipulation and violence.

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