In 2002, Michelle Knight became a household name for all of the wrong reasons. At the age of 21, she was kidnapped in her hometown of Cleveland, Ohio by Ariel Castro. Along with two other victims, Amanda Berry and Gina DeJesus, Knight was confined – sometimes by chains– in Castro’s dark and sinister home for 11 years. At the hands of Castro, she was repeatedly raped and tortured. Castro was ultimately convicted of nearly 1,000 counts of rape, kidnapping and aggravated murder after the victims' monumental escape in 2013. One month into his sentence to life in prison, Castro committed suicide. Now, nearly five years after Knight's first taste of freedom, RadarOnline.com has uncovered shocking details about the Ohio native's new lease on life, including her astonishing decision to change her identity.
Knight, 36, has made it crystal clear she is not the same woman she was when she was locked inside Castro's house of horrors. According to her personal website, the survivor changed her name to Lillian "Lily" Rose Lee. The name symbolizes her "favorite flowers and representing patience and love," says her website.
Knight admits on her site that her healing has been a "tremendous roller coaster." A part of her healing journey is art therapy. She shows off of her work occasionally on Instagram, shown here. She captioned the photo, "Painting is so peaceful to me."
The former victim also spends a lot of her days surrounded by animals. She has four dogs, three bearded dragons, three hermit crabs, two guinea pigs, a snake, "a lot" of fish and turtles, according to her site.
Knight has also become a public speaker as a means to heal herself and help others. "She strives to inspire others by sharing her story about how she found the courage to persevere and how to remain hopeful in hopeless situations," her website states.
In 2017, Knight revealed how she spent her fourth anniversary of freedom. "I took part in a rally to advocate for missing women and children," she captioned this Instagram photo. "I planted lilies and roses to encourage those who are suffering that there is hope."
In 2014, Knight revealed harrowing details about her years in captivity in her first memoir, Finding Me. The survivor is now a #1 New York Times bestseller.
Knight announced she is releasing her second book on May 1, just days before her fifth anniversary of the her escape.
Knight's body is now covered in tattoos. The kidnapping survivor painfully revealed each rose tattoo symbolizes "every abortion I had" inside Castro's home, Radar reported.
Knight is also a lover of the outdoors, according to her Instagram. Being surrounded by nature and wildlife is a grave comparison to the two-story home of 2207 Seymour Avenue she was forced into.
The home was 1,796 square feet with only one bathroom and an unfinished basement, Radar reported.
The disturbing residence was demolished in 2013 as part of Castro's plea deal. What do you think of Knight's new life? Sound off in the comments!
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