Elizabeth Chambers says marriage to Armie Hammer imploded during COVID lockdown: 'He was the worst'
Elizabeth Chambers is finally ready to talk about "the events" — her divorce from Armie Hammer and the subsequent rape allegations against him by his former partner.
On the heels of the Call Me By Your Name actor's first interview, published by Air Mail on Saturday, in which he again denied having non-consensual sex with any past partners, Chambers opened up to Elle about their troubled marriage imploding during COVID lockdown, hearing the allegations against Hammer for the first time as the rest of the world did and where things stand today as they co-parent their two children.
Chambers, an entertainment news correspondent who now owns the BIRD Bakery chain, met The Social Network actor, four years her junior in 2007, they married in 2010, had daughter Harper in 2014, son Ford in 2017 and those early years were "completely magical," she told the outlet. Until they weren't. While she didn't pinpoint exactly when things started to fall apart, she did say, "Marriage is always going to be difficult ... especially if you throw success and fame into the mix."
Hammer, the grandson of an oil tycoon whose acting career hit a high point with his Golden Globe-nominated role in 2017's Call Me by Your Name, has admitted to an extramarital affair with a woman he met on social media which began in 2016. The next year, he publicly liked a bunch of tweets about bondage, which made headlines.
Elle noted that Chambers wouldn't talk about their sex life or his proclivities, but would say that "boundaries are everything" in a relationship. As partnerships evolve, "Your partner is learning things about themselves. They're growing, you're growing; you hope that you're growing together." She also said that for most of their marriage, they saw famed psychotherapist and relationship/sexuality specialist Esther Perel.
The couple announced their separation, after 10 years of marriage, in July 2020. She told the magazine they were St. Barts on vacation when COVID cases started to pop up in the U.S., so they went to the Cayman Islands, where Hammer's father and stepmother lived. Quarantining together was not a good recipe, which Hammer himself has acknowledged, comparing it in 2020 to being a wolf "caught in a snare" that wanted to "chew his own foot off."
Chambers had a simpler take: "He was the worst," she said. He ended up leaving her and their kids to travel back to California and help a friend restore a motel outside Joshua Tree National Park.
"My heart was broken in nine million pieces, and I still drove him to the airport," Chambers said. "You can give, you can love, you can be there for someone, but you also need to hold people accountable for their actions."
In addition to working on her own projects, she was busy raising their kids — while her estranged husband — from whom she is still not officially divorced — enjoyed his newly single status. He started seeing a string of women. In January 2021, unverified social media messages in which Hammer allegedly described sexual fantasies that included violence, rape and cannibalism were leaked. Multiple women accused him of emotional manipulation. In March, one woman came forward and publicly accused him of sexual assault, claiming he raped her for more than four hours in 2017. Hammer's attorney denied it. The Los Angeles Police Department began an investigation into his accuser's claim. A spokesman for the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office told Elle that a "specially assigned prosecutor is working with law enforcement to investigate the allegations," but investigators have "not yet presented a case against Mr. Hammer to our office."
Of that time, Chambers said, "I was learning things as the public was. I was like, ‘There are no words. What the f***?'"
Her sister Catherine was interviewed for the piece and said her sibling was trying to piece together her own timeline while being contacted by Hammer's accusers via social media DMs.
"She put on her support hat to be there for these women who had gone through terrible, terrible situations that were brought on by her former husband, but Elizabeth chose to be there for them rather than for herself first," Catherine said. "She listened to horrible, deep, dark details regardless of what it meant for her own life."
Chambers said "the dissolution of my family was literally my biggest fear of my whole life."
Hammer spent six months in treatment in 2021 for drug, alcohol and sex issues. The exes still spend time together as they work to co-parent. She's planning to move back to California, from the Cayman Islands, to improve that relationship. (Hammer was reportedly living in one of Robert Downey Jr.'s guest house in L.A. after he finished treatment.)
"I support Armie through his journey and I always will," said Chambers. "All I've ever wanted is for him to be sober, healthy, and happy. And he is that. He's really present when he's with the kids, and that's all I can hope for. All you want is for your children to have two solid parents, right? That's always the goal, so anything I can do to support that, I will."
As for her own love life, she revealed she is "in love" with the 26-year-old European physical therapist she has been dating for the last year, Ricardas Kazinec. While her children don't knew they are a couple — because she doesn't want to upset their healing from the divorce —her new man is helping heal "my body, my heart and my mind."
But she's taken what she's learned in her marriage into future relationships, saying, "I'm not taking any bulls*** from anyone. You stand up for what you deserve, for what you know is right." She's also trying to separate herself from her ex-husband's alleged behaviors. "The last thing I ever want to do is let someone else’s actions, which have nothing to do with me, make me angry. It’s not going to help me, and it's not going to help anyone around me."
Over the weekend, Hammer's first interview since he was accused of rape and emotional abuse ran in Air Mail. He insisted had a consensual relationship with his accuser which involved "consensual non-consent" role play. He claimed the rape she alleged was not just consensual but "her idea."
He claimed he disclosed the affair to Chambers after the woman threatened to tell her. He also said he asked Chambers for help, saying, "I don't like who I'm becoming. I'm f***ed up every single day, all day. I'm miserable, I'm unhappy, and I'm having an affair. And I don't know how to stop any of these things, and I can't do this alone."
In the interview, Hammer spoke about his interest in BDSM, and connected it sexual abuse he said he experienced, by a youth pastor at his family church when he was 13, and said it "set a dangerous precedent" for his future relationships.
Hammer said that his relationships were consensual, though acknowledged that his behavior towards his partners outside of his marriage could be "one million percent" considered emotionally abusive. "I'm here to own my mistakes, take accountability for the fact that I was an a**hole, that I was selfish, that I used people to make me feel better, and when I was done, moved on," he said. "And treated people more poorly than they should have been treated."
The woman who accused Hammer responded to his interview via Instagram calling him "manipulative" and saying he will do whatever it takes to "evoke sympathy" from the public.