Tyra Banks refused to believe initial reports Chris Brown had attacked girlfriend Rihanna - because the Kiss Kiss singer had previously opened up about the trauma his mother had experienced at the hands of his abusive stepfather.
The 20 year old is currently serving six months hard labour in his hometown of Richmond, Virginia after pleading guilty to assaulting the Umbrella beauty after a pre-Grammy Awards party in February (09).
The aftermath of the vicious attack was heavily documented in the press, with differing reports hitting the headlines every day.
And Banks admits she found it hard to believe Brown beat his lover - until she saw a leaked photo of Rihanna's injuries on a gossip website.
She tells Larry King, "It was very shocking when I first heard that it happened. There are so many rumours in the entertainment industry. And I was like, 'Oh, that's just a rumour.' And then more and more, you know, police evidence and things come out and photos and things. And I just was like in shock."
The model reveals she was devastated to learn the reports were true - because Brown had vowed he would never hit a woman after living with a father figure who beat his mother, Joyce Hawkins.
Banks adds, "I went back to the interview that I had with Chris Brown. He told me that he experienced this abuse of - I think it was a father figure - on his mother. And that he was so scared, you know, hearing his mother scream and in so much pain.
"He didn't see it, but he would always hear it. And he was so terrified that he said that he would wet his bed. And he became a bed-wetter for a long time - an embarrassingly long time. And he admitted that to me.
"So when I heard (about the attack), I said, 'Wow, the cycle is repeating.' That's the first thing I thought."
But Banks admits she pities the disgraced singer - because he is also a victim of violence.
She says, "I feel sorry for him because we all know... that it is a cycle. When you experience something, there is a large chance that you are going to become the perpetrator.
"So that is where the sympathy goes out, because he is a victim. But at the same time, your reasoning for doing something does not excuse the fate of somebody else."
As well as hard labour, Brown was also ordered to stay away from his ex-girlfriend for five years as he serves probation.