Hilary Bronwyn Gayle/courtesy of HBO

Celeste & Perry's Relationship On 'Big Little Lies' Brings Attention To A Very Real Problem

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Big Little Lies certainly lives up to its name: it seems that every character has something to hide, and Celeste and Petty are no exception. The couple, played by Nicole Kidman and Alexander Skarsgård respectively, are part of the first-grade parent community in Monterey, California. This is no ordinary, quiet town: someone is murdered during what was supposed to be a school Trivia Night. Their twins attend the school, and other parents envy their relationship... but is their envy misguided? Celeste and Perry's relationship on Big Little Lies actually brings attention to a very real problem.

Who are Celeste and Perry to begin with? Celeste is Madeline's best friend and a former lawyer. She gave up practicing when she had her twin boys, Max and Josh. Perry is a wealthy banker, and is often away from Monterey on business. From the outside, they seem to have the perfect relationship: they're beautiful, and have a passionate love life. What goes on in their home, however, is downright scary. Staying true to the novel, Perry is an abusive husband. A glimpse of this is seen at the end of the premiere episode after he gets enraged with Celeste over a conversation about Ziggy (who, ironically, is accused of bullying).

Hilary Bronwyn Gayle/HBO

During Sunday night's episode, we saw more of Celeste and Perry's unhealthy relationship. We get a hint of their past in one of the first scenes where they're driving their sons to school. Perry plays nice, like he's going to miss Celeste during his work trip — and then Celeste suggests they go to therapy again. Perry then becomes angry when he realizes he can't get out of the car to walk his boys to class; he wasn't there for orientation day. At home, he claims Celeste told him the wrong day on purpose, and quickly becomes violent.

Immediately after the abuse, the two have sex (which appears to be consensual). In a later scene, Celeste admits to Madeline that fighting then having sex is a pattern between them. Big Little Lies may appear to be a glossy show about rich California parents, but it addresses a real, tragic problem. According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, 1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men have been victims of domestic abuse. Celeste, unfortunately, is not alone in her experience. What comes of the relationship, we have to keep watching the series to find out — and we can only hope that Perry's abuse is addressed.