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Evelyn Lozada is done hiding from the spotlight, after her husband Chad “Ochocinco” Johnson allegedly abused her during an argument earlier in the month. The reality star already clocked an appearance on Oprah’s OWN channel (airing in mid-September), but granted ABC’s Nightline her very first post-abuse interview, airing Friday (Aug. 31)

The teary-eyed New York native explained that she had no choice but to leave Johnson, in spite of her love for him. “It’s the hardest thing in the world, to walk away from someone that you really love,” she said. “But you walk away because I have to protect myself.”

Lozada, a mother to a daughter in college, refuses to communicate with the former Miami Dolphins player, but believes that he does care for her. “I believe he loves me,” she continued. “I believe he needs help. He’s a good guy that made a bad choice. He loves football and he’s very driven, and a great dad. He made a bad choice that destroyed his life, and I hate that I’m connected to that.”

With a reputation for fighting, which she exhibited several times over on VH1’s Basketball Wives, Lozada has been accused of instigating the altercation, and possibly being the one who actually attacked Johnson. “He’s taking the rap for it,” said former NFL player, Warren Sapp. “We don’t do that. She did it. That’s a woman that is going to depend on her beauty for the rest of her life to open any door she wants to walk through, and she is going to do what to her forehead? I’m done. [Johnson] is a bunch of fun and I am sorry this had to happen to him.”

Johnson has been taking all the personal and professional blows in stride and announced on Twitter that he has to “start life over and create a new one.

Lozada’s interview airs tonight at 11:35 p.m. EST.


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Photo: ABC News