Exclusive: Charisma Carpenter Opens Up About How She Survived Evil, Plan to Tell Others' Tales

PHOTO: Charisma Carpenter by Jim JordanI Survived Evil is not just the title of the new Investigation Discovery series that Charisma Carpenter will be hosting — it’s also a declaration the actress herself can make.

Back in 1991, years before she traded barbs with Buffy, Carpenter and two friends were swimming at Torrey Pines State Beach in San Diego when they were violently attacked by Henry Hubbard Jr., then a 29-year-old police officer.

During the encounter, Hubbard, brandishing a gun, ordered Carpenter to tie up her male friends. But Carpenter refused, affording her companions opportunity to jump and overpower Hubbard, ultimately leading to his capture and arrest — even as the young men suffered non-fatal bullet wounds along the way.

Carpenter meanwhile held onto the police-issue flashlight Hubbard used, to help seal his conviction for that assault which, when combined with a string of others, earned him a 56-year prison sentence.

Though Carpenter has never openly discussed the harrowing incident, “Now I’m in a place where I could. I have enough distance — and a lot of therapy — between then and what happened and now,” she tells TVLine. “It’s not as fresh. It’s not as painful.”

RELATED | Lying Game Season 2: Charisma Carpenter’s Mystery Mom Is Out for ‘Revenge’ — But Why?

Investigation Discovery’s I Survived Evil, which starts production later this summer with an eye on a 2013 bow, will chronicle similar true stories of ordinary people who successfully warded off attackers. That Carpenter, given her own such scare, was approached to host the series was pure coincidence. “I don’t think [the producers] knew,” she ventures. “And when I told them, they were like, ‘This makes perfect sense. We want you to be even more a part of the process.'”

Indeed, Carpenter — who currently stars on ABC Family’s The Lying Game — hopes her new gig will not explore just the surviving but also the evil at hand.

Reflecting on Hubbard’s string of sexual assaults and violent attacks, she cannot help but wonder, “What happens in a life that a person can get to a place where it’s a good idea to become a serial rapist? I mean, I have a child, so how does a kid go from normal to not?”

Though Hubbard revealed in testimony that he grew up with an alcoholic father, “It seemed like his life was back on track” at the time he unleashed his reign of terror, Carpenter recalls. “He was top of his class in police academy, he was married with a baby on the way…. From an anthropological point of view, I’m very curious what happened.”

Carpenter may get her answers, since I Survived Evil‘s very first episode will delve into the nightmare she lived through at the Torrey Pines beach.

While she herself will not participate in any reenactment of that assault — “It’d be a little creepy,” she admits — Carpenter does plan to have the cameras “walk along that very beach” with her and, hopefully, address Hubbard himself.

“I’m interested in a sit-down, to ask him myself questions [I have],” she says. “Whether or not Hubbard will let me [I don’t know], but my producers are interested, though they’re treating it very delicately. I think they’re worried about me, but really, I’m OK with it.”

Or at least she at this instant believes she is. “You don’t really know until you’re in a chair opposite someone like that… but I think I’m OK with it,” she clarifies. “I just want to say to him, ‘What happened to you? Tell me your cautionary tale.'”

Subsequent installments of the 10-episode series will cover two stories apiece.

“It’s about empowerment, about victims who take fate into their own hands and rescue themselves, or seek justice and find it,” Carpenter says of I Survived Evil‘s mission. “It’s about heroes, stories of survival. And happy endings.”

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  1. Jarrod says:

    I’ve loved Charisma since Buffy and fell in love with her even more on Angel. It was a shame they killed her off. Either way, I look forward to Charisma having her own show. One potential loyal viewer already!

  2. dude says:

    Isn’t this kind of like I Survived… just with more attackers and less cougar attacks?

  3. Shannon says:

    Glad to see her beautiful face back on TV!

  4. MelindaB says:

    I’ve got to give her credit for even thinking of sitting across from her attempted attacker to ask him, “Why?” Were I in her shoes, I’m not sure that I could confront him, or that I would want to explore his thought process.

  5. LizA180 says:

    Wow, She’s a survivor. Long live Cordelia! Thanks Charisma, I’ll be sure to tune in!

  6. a says:

    Charisma is wonderful! So sorry to hear about her ordeal, but glad she is able to move on from it and educate others about potential dangers. Kudos to her!

  7. Lori says:

    I swear I saw her talking about this on some Discovery type show a few years before she hit it big on Buffy. It was her and the two guys on a beach talking about what had happened to them. I never could find any info about it, now I know I wasn’t dreaming!

  8. Angela says:

    I’ve always wondered about that, too, what factors drive someone to become so violent and evil.
    Scary, scary story. So glad she made it through all right.

  9. Linda Frazzo says:

    I’ve loved everything I have seen Charisma in and I look forward to seeing more of her, although I am not really in to reality shows. I would prefer to see her in a sitcom or such.

  10. Tommy says:

    I too have been a long fan of Charisma since her days on Buffy, I still remember throwing my remote across the room when I realized she was being killed off on ‘Angel’ – and I’ve never heard anything about this story before. She definitely got a viewer in me and I wish her and show luck :)

  11. TigerNightmare says:

    Oh man. The world would be a much better place if people who crave power and authority never get what they want.

  12. Velvet says:

    I look forward to watching it.

  13. Ella says:

    How is she STILL so stunningly beautiful?! I love Charisma, will watch her in anything.

  14. hmmmm says:

    I love Charisma but isn’t this just ID’s version of I Survied which is on the Biography channel? Just sayin….

  15. dai_joy says:

    aww! I so love Charisma! I do agree with everyone ’bout Cordelia’s death in Angel. She and Boreanaz work amazingly 2gether! BONES’d be more exciting if these 2 were there. Hoping against hope that some wise producer could see it and try working something out with ’em in a good future sitcom. Would be a dream come true cuz I gotta tell ya, Angel, talk about be frustated! Well,all said… Charisma,good luck on your new show!!

  16. Mikael says:

    I’ve loved Charisma since before Buffy, when she was on a short-lived show called Malibu Shores, which also starred pre-Felicity Keri Russell. I agree, it’s a shame the way the show Angel treated Cordelia in the final seasons.

  17. Thea says:

    I love how well spoken and deep this woman is. Just more reasons to love her. Will definitely be watching!

  18. Love Carpenters’ other work but it won[‘t be enough to make me want to sit through the very real pain of others. It’s way too much like digging through the remains of a train wreck for a bloody shoe to keep as a souvenier. This kind of ‘entertainment’ doesn’t make anyone a better person, it just provides bored people justification to hate. Icky.

    • Michaela says:

      Justification to hate bad people??
      I see it as a way to learn how other people got away, so if I am every in a bad situation I will have ideas.

      • AmyWhedonite says:

        I agree with U, Michaela! Is a proven scientific fact that we learn from watching others. It’s as simple as that. From infant to adult, we have learned everything we know by watching our parents/others.(Being a mother & watching my 5yr old grow up mimicking everything my husband & I do, has forced me to step back a bit & watch her from a scientific POV)
        Someone who watchs an episode of this show, or any similar show, may walk away a survivor from watching & learning how others did it.
        I’m a HUGE Whedonite & Charisma fanatic so I will def watch this show. I wish Charisma would get a drama (or any genre) series of her own!! I like the idea someone mentioned about she & David Boreanaz doing something together someday or maybe even join cast of BONES. I’m also a big fan of Charisma & Nicholas Brendon working together. They have great on-screen chemistry!
        Ok, sorry for the BabelFest;)

  19. Shauna Moen says:

    I REALLY hope they air this show in Australia. I’m a big Charisma fan, have been since Buffy & I think this show in general sounds good to watch.

  20. I always loved Charisma Carpenter ‘s character on Buffy and Angel. She was strong and opinionated and spoke her mind with no apologies and I admired her for that. Now that I’ve heard her harrowing tale of survival I admire and respect her even more. She is a fighter both on screen and in real life.

  21. Bibi says:

    Wooooow I knew I recognized her when I kept seeing this show advertised!!! I was like isn’t that Cordelia! At first I thought it was the other show on ID named ” I survived”…. I’m so glad she made it through!! God bless her… I always am deeply touched by people’s courage on these type shows to speak out…. It took me over 11 years to even reveal a situation that happened to me openly…I understand her completely….. people can REALLY be EVIL!!

  22. Dayna says:

    I’m surprised she was able to go on and act in some pretty scary scenes in Buffy after a real life attack like that. She’s a strong woman.

  23. Where is Henry Hubbard, jr.? Has he been released from prison?

    • Jim says:

      Dude, someone should slap your math teacher.. The assault happened in 1991.. the guy still has like 30 years left locked up… Google “Henry Hubbard jr.” for more info… (duh)..

  24. sigh says:

    Why i adore her as an actress, I am a fan of the I.D. channel where her show airs and her story in comparison to those that the show depicts ARE NOTHING ALIKE. She sustained no injuries and had others with her to help. Most of the women on her show were kidnapped or robbed and were either with children or ALONE. Its a little disappointing that she is comparing her ordeal with women who have suffered real loss and real physical pain. Not saying being held at gun point isn’t scary. I have personally been held at gunpoint. at the age of 13 my older sister and I walked in on a robbery in progress while Christmas shopping. I would never compare that to a person shot in a robbery or kidnapped. It’s just NOT on the same level

    • Ashlyn says:

      I couldn’t agree more! I will agree that being held at gunpoint is quite traumatic, but being kidnapped, raped, and/or tortured (like most of the other episodes) is quite a different and more extreme!

  25. Rob Cohen says:

    I can’t wait to see your show, charisma! you look beautiful as ever. maybe someday we’ll get a chance to talk about it at some party or something. I guess anybody can be a criminal it seems; even a police officer. i hope it never happens ever again!

  26. jared pitts says:

    wow telling someone u love them without ever even meeting them is as creepy as what happened to her. shes an actress guys calm down. i was interested in her story and all you creepers are commenting on her looks.

  27. Gary Sellars says:

    She doesn’t understand? It’s not that hard.

    When one listens to thoughts that one KNOWS are wrong, those thoughts, with time and attention, get more and more attractive and appealing.

    When one moves beyond the occasional thought to fantasy, they get stronger and still more appealing.

    When one breaks the “boundaries” to commit the deed (whatever it may be–the commonality here is “wrong/evil/sinful”), *that* is when the bondage is set and the person will, typically, do it again until they get caught.

    Everyone has evil thoughts and it’s everyone’s responsibility to resist evil thoughts. Good parenting from a God-fearing heritage (where ancestors remained moral and resisted evil thoughts) gives grace and helps to not make those bad decisions.

    Those evil thoughts are the voices of demons; the more they’re entertained, the stronger the demon’s (or demons’ [as demons usually travel in packs]) influence. When the “boundary” is broken, the demonic influence is strengthened. When it gets to where a person cannot stop the oppressive thoughts and compulsion, the person is demonized. (This is the proper term for the KJV calls “demon possessed.” Very, very few people are demon possessed.)

    Many are demonized and it starts with entertaining the wrong thoughts.

  28. David says:

    I actually went to high school in Lancaster, SC with Charisma’s attacker. I knew his family, and as well. When all of this came down in ’91 it was one of those crazy moments. Charisma’s story line was fascinating and horrifying whereas before it was only headlines that described what I knew that Henry got into, I am so happy Henry was caught. Just terrible. Deepest respect to Charisma and thanks to her and her friends in to standing up to this horrible criminal. – David

  29. Buttcrack Obama says:

    In the post reformation west , rapists are evil. In the jihadist medieval Muslim rapists are heros. They worship one of the most heinous murderers and rapists in history called Mohamed . So it’s about culture and religion or lack of them.

  30. Watching I survived evil makes you think how lucky you actually are that nothing like that has happend to you but you dont know when anything can happen my heart goes out to all those people who have gone through such a tough time, they are all so brave for telling their storys especially charisma how she hosts the programme aswell as telling her story….such a brave woman to want to sot in front of the attacker to be honest I dont think I could be responsible for the actions I would take…but on the other hand I would want to know why that person is the way they are, what ever made them so evil for them to want to hurt another human……

  31. christina says:

    I respect what you are doing.as a small child I was molested by my brother. I don’t talk bout it. i honestly think my brother riealized he made a mistake. but unfortuneately it impact my entire life. I am 65 now and I know my entire life was because of what my brother did to me as a little girl