Mother-of-one Mia Boardman feared she’d never see her daughter again when her jealous ex-lover pinned her to the floor and strangled her after she refused to have sex with him.
Christopher Brooks squeezed the neck of the former star of MTV’s Teen Mom UK so hard he left finger imprints and severe bruising.
The vile attack was the culmination of 10 months of manipulation and abuse, which 25-year-old Mia says “felt like a lifetime”.
The ordeal has had a devastating lasting impact on her and she’s struggled to move on, despite the fact Brooks was sentenced to a year behind bars.
In a new documentary, Domestic Violence & Me: Mia’s Story, she opens up about that horrendous night, admitting she thought her ex would squeeze the life out of her.
She says: “I remember I was stood in the bedroom, he threw me to the floor and just started strangling me.
“I don’t think I’ve ever feared for my life the way I did then.
“After that, he just got up and said, ‘Get up, fix yourself up,’ and left.”
“I got a manly vibe from him and saw him all the time,” she recalls. “It felt like a luxury lifestyle, we had the best dinners, went to the best bars, I loved it.”
Looking back, Mia says Brooks was trying to control her “from the very start”.
“He would tell me what to wear and what not to wear, and my logic would be, ‘Oh, he loves me, why would he want any other man seeing his girlfriend’s body?’” she explains.
Brooks – who was jailed for a year in March – even ordered Mia to get a tattoo of his initials, then complained “you can’t even see it, it’s tiny” when he saw the finished result on her arm.
Mia kept the true nature of her relationship with Brooks a secret from those closest to her and didn’t tell them what he was really like until they broke up.
But the night he strangled her, it was her friends who came to the rescue.
In the documentary, Mia’s friend explains how she had 53 missed calls from her pal after the incident.
“I remember walking into your house, and you were curled up in a ball in the corner of the kitchen with your hands on your face,” she says to Mia.
“I immediately saw the massive mark on the corner of your neck.”
She adds: “It could’ve gone a different way. You may not have been here telling us what happened.”
Over time the physical marks on Mia’s body disappeared, but her mental health was in tatters.
“I would genuinely rather have been strangled 10 times over than deal with the emotional abuse I received,” says Mia.
“The scars on my neck healed. It was scary. It hurt. But that had nothing on the emotional side of it.”
Speaking exclusively to The Sun, Mia explains how even now, when she feels like she’s “starting to move forward with her mental health” her mind will pull her back to the night of the attack.
“Sometimes I pinch myself because I feel like I’m back there,” she tells us.
“It’s easy to get into day-to-day life, but I still get messages every day from people who’ve gone through similar experiences, and sometimes it’s so overwhelming.”
In the documentary Mia goes to see a therapist for the first time, and she tells us how much speaking to a professional has helped her.
“I used to really brush my feelings under the carpet,” she explains. “But I went to therapy for the first time, which was so scary, and she told me that you can put all your emotions behind a door, but eventually that door’s going to fall open.
“And I remember that every day now.
“So now, if I’m feeling down, I allow myself to feel sad for a bit.
“I think the more you try and cover it up, the worse it gets eventually.”
It was also Mia’s five-year-old daughter Marliya, whom she shares with her ex Manley Geddes, who helped her get through each day following the brutal attack.
“The thought that I wouldn’t be here to see Marliya grow up makes me feel sick,” she confesses.
“Everything became about Marliya and keeping her safe.
“She became my priority. There’s no one in this world I love more than her.”
She continues: “I look at life differently now. I think before I looked at life very baby pink, like everything’s just great.
“But when something happens to you like that, it does change your perspective on life, and she is there to remind me that life’s good.
“She’s my reason for everything.”
Spotting red flags
Marliya was part of the reason Mia decided to make her new documentary, which airs on MTV this Wednesday.
“For a long time I always thought I’d shield her from all of it,” she tells us.
“But I look at her and I think, ‘I never want her to go through anything like that,’ but if anything ever happened to her, I want her to know that she shouldn’t be ashamed and there’s so many people that can help.