"[Joss] used his relationship with me as a shield, both during and after our marriage, so no one would question his relationships with other women or scrutinize his writing as anything other than feminist," Cole wrote in a guest blog for The Wrap.
Whedon filed for divorce back in December 2012, listing the date of separation as April 20 of that same year. At the time, he was making the transition from the small screen to the big screen and would often mention his wife in interviews.
"He never conceded the hypocrisy of being out in the world preaching feminist ideals, while at the same time, taking away my right to make choices for my life and my body based on the truth," she revealed. "He deceived me for 15 years, so he could have everything he wanted. I believed, everyone believed, that he was one of the good guys, committed to fighting for women’s rights, committed to our marriage, and to the women he worked with."
Cole said that Joss lied often and made her doubt herself.
"I loved him. And in return, he lied to me," she said. "A lot. He said, after he left, he understood: 'It's not just like I killed you, but that I'd done it subtly, over years. That I'd been poisoning you. Chipping away at you.' He made me doubt my own instincts and watched me move further away from my personal values and social mores, trying to connect with him, never telling me it was impossible. By the time he finally confessed the truth, 15 years after his first affair on the set of 'Buffy,' I was broken. My brain could not fit my experience of our life together, through the new lens of his deceit."
Cole said she went from being "a strong, confident woman to a confused, frightened mess" nearly overnight. She was diagnosed with Complex PTSD as a result of the messy marriage and divorce battle. She decided to speak out publicly because "people only know [Joss'] superficial presentation" and represents himself "as the lovable geek-feminist" while she remained his faithful "wife and supporter."
"Until recently, Joss was still letting the illusion of our marriage stay intact," Cole said. "Now that it is finally public, I want to let women know that he is not who he pretends to be. I want the people who worship him to know he is human, and the organizations giving him awards for his feminist work, to think twice in the future about honoring a man who does not practice what he preaches. But no matter what happens, or how people interpret this statement, I no longer have to carry the burden of Joss' long-term deceit and confessions. I am free."
Whedon fans are already feeling Cole's pain. Fan site Whedonesque announced on Monday morning it would be shutting down.
"So farewell then. 15 years is a long time and a lot of water has flowed under the bridge. But now it's time to say goodbye. No more threads after this one, we're closing down," the administrator wrote fans.