HOUSTON - Carmen Maria Montiel Lechin was a former news anchor and Miss Venezuela and her husband Alex Lechin is a prominent doctor in the Houston area.
Both were used to the spotlight, but she said there was a dark painful part of her marriage she was forced to cover up.
"It was a nightmare," Lechin said. "I remember clearly what happened. "Twenty-five years of abuse where I was not only beaten. I was kicked, bit. I had guns put to my head and inside my mouth."
On a United Airlines flight from Houston to Bogota Colombia, where the abuse became too much for her to bear.
"I turned to lay my head on my husband's shoulder, and my husband slapped me and with his finger he hit me," Lechin said. "He called the flight attendant and proceeded to tell the flight attendant that I was bothering him."
The flight attendant got involved, but not to help Carmen -- to restrain her.
"Instead of having a nice flight attendant give me a back of ice, I end up arrested," she said.
Court documents reveal she was charged with interfering with the duties of a flight attendant.
She was facing up to 10 years in federal prison. The government then filed an additional assault charge. The case was later abandoned.
The trial ended after two years and Carmon won the case, but the fear of losing her children and her life paralyzed her from leaving her husband until now.
"It's not just the physical abuse," Lechin said. "It's emotional and psychological abuse. The abuser starts to destroy your self confidence."
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