William Hurt issues apology for abusing Marlee Matlin over 20 years ago

Renowned deaf actress Marlee Matlin has a new biography out, I’ll Scream Later, in which she details the abuse she suffered over twenty years ago at the age of 19 from a then 35 year-old William Hurt. They were together for over two years, and Matlin says that during that time she “was always afraid,” and “had fresh bruises everyday.” Details about the book seem to suggest that he raped her as well, although the example given only goes as far to say that he ripped off her clothes. Commenter gg mentioned that this isn’t new information and that Matlin briefly talked about the abuse to People Magazine at the time without going into great detail.

For his part, Hurt has acknowledged Matlin’s claims with a brief statement that he apologizes for his actions. It also sounds like he is trying to distance himself from the past:

The actress, now 43, recounted one particular incident on the night of her Best Actress win for Children. She claimed Hurt threw her on a bed and stripped her naked as she cried, “No, no, no. Please Bill, no.”

In a statement to E! News on Tuesday, Hurt said that both he and Matlin had moved on.

“My own recollection is that we both apologized and both did a great deal to heal our lives. Of course, I did and do apologize for any pain I caused. And I know we have both grown. I wish Marlee and her family nothing but good.”

Matlin, whose credits also include The West Wing and Dancing With the Stars, also said she eventually became addicted to cocaine while Hurt had his own struggles, and the combination proved dangerous.

“I was so wrapped up in his world and my drugs,” she told Access. “The drugs took over my life, took over my brain.”

Matlin said that she hasn’t seen Hurt in three years.

[From E! Online]

As far as apologies go, it’s not bad and at least he said something. Why did he say “we both apologized,” though? What did she have to apologize for as his target for two years, that she didn’t always get out of the way? He could have added “there is no excuse for my actions,” “I am ashamed of that time in my life,” etc. but maybe he doesn’t want to admit how terrible he was or simply doesn’t remember. It was a long time ago. I stand by my statement yesterday that this is her story and she has every right to tell it when she’s comfortable. It still amazes me that people feel otherwise.

Marlee Matlin is shownat Bookends bookstore in Ridgewood, NJ yesterday, 4/14/09. She is shown on the header in NY on 4/13/09. William Hurt is shown on 9/11/08. Credit: PRPhotos.

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13 Responses to “William Hurt issues apology for abusing Marlee Matlin over 20 years ago”

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  1. Rosanna says:

    Well Marlee herself said that she became addicted to coke *while* she was with him, so that’s what she apologized for I suppose. In case anybody wonders, addicts are hard to live with. I imagine an addict who is a woman is as hard to live with as an addict who is a man.

  2. geronimo says:

    Yes, she of course has the right to tell her story. But Hurt also has the right to limit what he says in public about the part he played in it – he’s not under any obligation to elaborate on a situation for which he’s already apologised, just to please the media.

  3. Terri Bedwell says:

    There are 2 sides to every story. She admits that she was addicted to drugs at the time, so there is no telling exactly where the truth lies. Only a fly on the wall knows what really happened. That being said, drugs or no drugs, one person never has permission to abuse another.

  4. DD says:

    There are no excuses for abuse and William Hurt got off easy for his part since he was never prosecuted for it. She probably apologized for her addiction to cocaine, she couldn’t have been a pleasant person to have been around. I’ve had a significant other addicted to cocaine too and trust me it’s not fun.

  5. Wif says:

    I wonder if the “we both apologized” comment meant that the relationship was mutually volatile. I like Matlin a lot, but she’s a very straight forward, forthright kind of woman and I can imagine her not being easy to live with. With addiction issues on top for both of them, and a language barrier (because you know she’d be yelling at him in ASL and he wouldn’t get it), I can’t imagine the entire relationship was very difficult.

    I’m not saying that he was right to abuse her, hell no. But the abuse aside, I think it would have been a difficult relationship.

  6. Dan says:

    I’m with geronimo & Terri

  7. n says:

    how can a man hit a woman? i just don’t get it. and someone who appears to have intelligence, such as William Hurt?

    guess under the sophisticated veneer, he’s a seething hitter of any and all members of the so-called weaker sex.

    i’d say he has some problems — regardless of who he hits. problems with women, no doubt.

  8. Chiara says:

    Matlin admitted she had struggled with drugs. I haven’t read the book, but I would imagine under the influence of coke her behavior was less than stellar.

    Simple acknowledgement, apology, move forward … good examples, and unique in celeb world.

  9. gg says:

    Sorry, but she was a shy deaf teenager at the time, and is a very small woman. Hurt looks quite large. Can’t feel sorry for poor little Mister HURT.

  10. LondonParis says:

    This was a THIRTY FIVE year old man and a NINETEEN year old girl. It’s obvious that before the abuse ever started they both had some issues.

  11. Vanessa says:

    She must need money to write about all that stuff that happened over 20 years ago and name names to sell books. I have had severe trauma from sexual abuse as a little girl and am still working it out. But, for some reason, it really turns me off that she is hawking her book. I am sorry for her, and I know Mr. Hurt has always had problems over the years and that stuff gets out. But it sounds like there are details and complexities we will never know on both sides individually and as a couple. I haven’t read the book but it feels weird to me she is capitalizing on sensationalizing her early problems. Celebrity memoirs are rampant and commonplace. I don’t even begrudge her needing to vent and process it all. But, for some reason, it feels like maybe, just maybe, she is still acting like the victim.
    If she needs to, that’s okay, too. I guess I never liked her as an actress.

  12. lynnifer says:

    I read some startling statistics the other day that 33% of women who have a disability live or have lived in an abusive situation. It was actually for those with mobility challenges, but anyone who has to rely on another would be at risk. It goes unreported many times because that person relies on the abuser for care. Brutal.

  13. Leader says:

    Really, How can a man REALLY hit a woman? Men (some) think of women as a punching bag at a local gym. Well obviously that’s why Williams last name is ‘hurt’