Yesterday we heard that Modern Family actress Sarah Hyland, 23, had obtained a temporary restraining order on Friday against Matthew Prokop, 24, a former live-in boyfriend of five years. Prokop was due to be released from rehab, and the rehab director had advised Hyland to take out a restraining order before Prokop left the facility. At that point all we knew about the restraining order were second hand details from TMZ, and they were disturbing. Prokop had allegedly verbally abused Hyland for four out of the five years that they were together. TMZ revealed that Prokop had choked Hyland earlier this year, damaging her voice and leaving her with a sore throat. When Hyland attempted to break up with Prokop, he ranted and screamed. He did this in front of witnesses including Hyland’s co-star Julie Bowen, who had come to lend support.
Now the full restraining order has been released. Reading it makes my heart sink and a lump form in my throat. I can only imagine when Hyland went through the past few years. The sad highlights include a cycle of abuse that Hyland endured for years, and a detailed account of manipulative threats by Prokop. Prokop threatened to commit suicide if Hyland left him. When Hyland attempted to contact Prokop’s mother, his mother told Hyland that it would be her fault if Prokop killed himself. Some passages from the restraining order are below. Trigger warning – many descriptions are disturbing.
Cycle of abuse
Over the course of the relationship between 2010-2014, Mr. Prokop habitually verbally abused me, called me vile names and degraded me in public. Frankly, I am a little embarrassed to even state here the kinds of foul names Mr. Prokop repeatedly called me; however, they included such names as” “c-”, “w-”, “s-” and many others. Over that time, he also repeatedly exhibited significant anger management issues which included things like throwing objects in my direction in anger, pushing me, punching walls and slamming doors. He would make vague threats saying that he would “never hit a woman, but [that I] deserve” to be beaten or that he “would beat the s- out of [me]“. I was often scared and confused and didn’t quite know what to do and he would apologize and beg forgiveness, so I stayed.
He choked her
On or about May of 2014, Mr. Prokop and I had an argument in the garage of my home wherein he was critical of an outfit that I was wearing. He began calling me vile names including shouting “[redacted]” at me over and over again. I asked him to stop and finally I approached him and demanded that he stop. Mr. Prokop grabbed me by the shoulders and slammed my back into the side of my car. It bears note that I have a history of medical problems stemming from a kidney disorder about which Mr. Prokop was aware when he slammed me into the vehicle.
Mr. Prokop pinned me against the car and though I struggled to get free, I could not. He is 5’11″ tall. I am about 5’2″. Mr. Prokop outweighs me by over 50 pounds. Once he had me pinned against the car he placed both of his hands around my throat and began to choke me. His grip was so tight I could not breathe or speak. I was scared and infear for my life. I struggled to get free and continued gasping for breath, but he would not let go. Finally, after what seemed like an eternity, I kicked him in the leg and he let go and went into the house. I was extremely scared and confused and did not know what to do. I was going to call the police, but he apologize, swore it would never happen again and begged me not to call the police, so I did not. I did suffer injuries to my voice and a very sore throat following this event.
She tried to break up with him but he threatened her
Over the course of the next few months, I tried to end the relationship several times without igniting his temper, but I could not get him to leave and he would apologize and ask for another chance.
On or about August 4, 2014, after more public name calling, emotionally abusive behavior and exhibitions of his temper, I tried again to break up with him and asked him to leave. He began slamming doors and throwing objects including his phone in my direction. I was in fear for my safety. He began texting me non-stop while I was working and verbally threatening me. I was extremely scared, so I baked away from the breakup.
His mother threatened her too
Then, on or about August 11, 2014, he again started calling me names saying that I was “s- looking” and calling me “c-”. We had an argument at that point and he again began punching walls and slamming doors in my home. So, I called his mother and advised her that I was breaking up with him and I requested that she come to California to help me get him help. She initially said that she would come in a couple of days, but two days later, on August 13, 2014, she sent me a text stating that if I broke up with him, he would kill himself, that it would be my fault and that she was not coming. I let her know that I was scared for my personal safety and had reached the point where I could not take it anymore and that I was going to end the relationship whether she came or not.
She tried to break up with him with the help of some colleagues
I had asked some colleagues (Julie Bowen, Erica Wright and Mr. Konigsberg), who also know Mr. Prokop to come to my house on Saturday to intervene and help me peacefully end the relationship. I even had purchased a plane ticket to give to Mr. Prokop at this meeting for him to travel home to Texas the next day to be with his family. On Saturday August 16, 2014, I was present at my home with [colleagues] for our planned meeting… However, when Mr. Prokop arrived at the house for the meeting and saw my colleagues, he ran outside into the backyard and began screaming. I followed him and told him that he scared me and that I could not take it anymore. Mr. Prokop threw a lighter at me. Ms. Bowen spoke with him and then advised me to leave immediately, implying that it might not be safe for me to stay. She said that Mr. Prokop made a comment to the effect that I needed to suffer as much as he had and that he wanted to make me so miserable that I would take a shotgun and kill myself. I left the property because he refused to leave and I stayed with a friend that night.
Prokop threatened to burn down her house and harm her dog
Later that day, in the evening of Saturday, August 16, 2014, Mr. Prokop texted me from outside of another house I own that is undergoing construction and said he was there to pick up his belongings. He said that if I did not come to that house within 10 minutes he would drive through the garage door to get inside and set the house on fire. He also threatened that if I did not comply, I would never see my dog again.
He threatened suicide
The rest of Saturday and all day and night Sunday… he relentlessly bombarded me with vile, threatening and emotionally disturbing texts and voice mails including his own suicide threats… over those two days… he also told my colleague, Ms. Wright, more than once that I deserve to die. Ms. Wright also informed me that he made numerous menacing statements to her directly about me and my dog. I was very frightened and upset and sought some counseling to help deal with the situation. Also installed new alarm systems and changed my gate code…
Prokop deleted all his threatening texts to her
The next day, on Sunday morning, I went to the rental house where we lived to say goodbye to Mr. Prokop and to make sure he was going back to Texas… Erica Wright was there as well. While I was there, I received a message on my phone and accessed my phone to see the message. At that point, Mr. Prokop grabbed my phone from me and deleted all of his texts to me. I tried to get my phone back, but he kept it away from me until he had completed deleting the messages…
The rehab director told her to get the restraining order
On August 18, 2014, he formally moved out of my house and directly into the rehabilitation facility where he has been since. I had hoped that the rehabilitation program would help him, but as mentioned above, I received word from the director of the facility… that Mr. Prokop is set to be discharged on Sunday, September 21… and that I should seek this order immediately due to Mr. Prokop’s mental state and attitude toward me.
[From restraining order as posted on NY Daily News]
I’m sorry that’s so long, I didn’t know what to cut out because it was all so powerful and I wanted you to be able to read it in context. At least this case is getting publicity for the sake of victims everywhere. I hope this isn’t a blow to Hyland’s privacy, I hope she’s not mortified that this got out, but she has absolutely no reason to be embarrassed. So many women have been in her situation, and I hope this case helps victims realize that they are not alone, that they have nothing to be ashamed about and that they can escape from their abusers. If you suspect you are in an abusive relationship, please get help. (You can use an incognito window in most web browsers to ensure that your surfing history is not traceable.)
Photos are from 2013 and 2014, except for the event photo with the Elle backdrop, that’s from 2010. Credit: WENN.com and PRPhotos
Sarah Hyland’s restraining order reveals ex threatened to kill her, commit suicide