Jana Kramer shocked fans when she revealed that her first husband went to prison after trying to kill her, and now she's speaking out about why she stayed with him in an effort to help other women in that position.

Kramer revealed to People magazine that her first husband, Michael Gambino, used to routinely beat her, and eventually went to prison after choking her into unconsciousness in 2005. He was convicted of attempted murder and sentenced to six years, and eventually committed suicide two years after his 2010 release.

Kramer tells People that like so many other abused wives, she stayed in the relationship out of fear and shame.

"I was so ashamed," the 32-year-old singer says. "I literally walked around on eggshells, terrified to tell anybody, because I was so ashamed of the situation I had put myself in. I was like I put myself in this and now I have to figure out how to get out of it, or stay in it and make it better."

The "Circles" singer — who was also briefly married to actor Jonathon Schaech in 2010, and engaged to country singer Brantley Gilbert later — recently separated from her third husband, Michael Caussin, after 15 months, amid press allegations that he was repeatedly unfaithful during their marriage and has entered rehab for sex addiction. She says her childhood and a difficult relationship with her father, Martin Kramer, helped set negative patterns for her relationships.

"Nothing was ever good enough for my father," she says. "I was always trying to get his attention and, through therapy, I realized that followed through into my relationships …. When I met Mike, he was that older guy I was trying to impress."

The singer and actor is trying to change her old patterns now.

"All I’ve ever wanted is to be loved, to love someone and to have a family," Kramer says. "I don’t have everything figured out obviously, but I feel like I’m in a place where I don’t have to be ashamed. I don’t want to play the victim ... Even though my past isn’t pretty, it’s shaped me into the person I am today, and now I want to help people. I want to help women out of bad situations."

Kramer and Caussin welcomed a daughter, Jolie Rae, in January, and Kramer is currently competing on Season 23 of Dancing With the Stars, which she is balancing against her singing career and being a newly-single mother.

“I’m trying to manage it the best that I can and show single moms out there that we can do it,” she says. “We can do it all, hear us roar.”

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