In an exclusive interview, actress Jennie Marie Pacelli, 28, who dated the late Mark Salling tells Life & Style magazine that he took the easy way out by committing suicide. “I’m sad he took the coward’s way out rather than facing his problems,” Jennie exclusively reveals. She claims that Mark raped her when she was 22, though she says they continued to date for two years and that she later forgave him after he apologized in 2016, adding that she believes he had a sex addiction.

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(Photo Credit: Getty Images)

Salling’s death came a month after he pleaded guilty to possession of child pornography. At the time of his passing, had been waiting for sentencing. He was expected to serve four to seven years in prison.

Former pal Jessica Savano tells Life & Style, “he probably didn’t want to do the time because he could’ve been killed or abused in jail and just figured he would end it [himself].” She describes him as “a tormented soul” who had “a mysterious side.” Despite his time in the spotlight, Jessica says, he was “quiet and closed off.”

“He was ashamed,” close friend Randy Saab exclusively tells Life & Style of his child pornography case. “I wish there was something anybody could’ve done to prevent him from going to the extreme of taking his own life, but he was going to do what he was going to do. It just makes me sad that it had to come to that.”

Still, Jennie tells Life & Style of Mark’s softer side. The creek where he chose to end his life was special to him, according to Jennie. “He loved it, and rescued birds and a family of ducks [there],” she says. “I’m just so mad at him. I can’t believe he’s done this.”

For more on this and Mark’s troubled life, pick up the new issue of Life & Style, on stands now!

If you or someone you know is contemplating suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.