Nicollette Sheridan sues Desperate Housewives creator for alleged abuse

Nicollette Sheridan has filed a lawsuit against Desperate Housewives creator Marc Cherry and ABC for $20 million. Sheridan alleges that Cherry hit her on the face during an argument on set in September 2008. According to Sheridan’s lawsuit, her character’s death last season was in retaliation for complaining about the incident.

Former “Desperate Housewives” co-star Nicollette Sheridan has filed a lawsuit so over-the-top it seems perfect for Wisteria Lane.

The actress has sued ABC Entertainment Group, ABC Studios, Touchstone Television and series creator Marc Cherry for $20 million, claiming that she was physically assaulted by Cherry and fired when she complained about it.

The complaint was filed today in Los Angeles Superior Court by attorneys Mark Baute and Patrick Maloney.

Sheridan alleges Cherry struck her in the head in September 2008 on the set of the hit ABC series. “After she complained to her employer about Cherry’s improper behavior, Cherry arranged to have Sheridan terminated from the show, resulting in her losing millions in future earnings,” the complaint says.

ABC did not immediately respond to a request for comment. UPDATE: ABC Studios just gave us the following statement: “While we have yet to see the actual complaint, we investigated similar claims made by Ms. Sheridan last year and found them to be without merit.” Cherry could not be reached.

Sheridan says Cherry punched her in the head during production on the the series’ fifth season. He allegedly apologized but then arranged for her character, Edie Britt, to be killed off the show. Sheridan claims that she informed ABC about the whole mess, but producers did nothing.

The seven-count complaint alleges causes of action for wrongful termination; assault and battery; gender violence; discrimination based on sex, sexual orientation and age; retaliatory termination; breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing; and intentional infliction of emotional distress.

Some other allegations from the complaint:

  • Sheridan says the assault went down like this: “On September 24, 2008, during a rehearsal for the show, when Sheridan questioned Cherry about something that was in the script, Cherry took her aside and forcefully hit her with his hand across her face and head.”
  • She says she was “physically and emotionally injured, humiliated and stunned by Cherry’s sudden physical violence and stated, ‘you just hit me in the head, that is not okay. THAT IS NOT OKAY!’ ”
  • Sheridan says Cherry’s abusive behavior was well-known on the set: “After an incident where Sheridan’s co-star on the show Teri Hatcher went above Cherry’s head to speak to ABC executives, Cherry told Sheridan, ‘I hope Teri Hatcher gets hit by a car and dies.’ ”
  • Sheridan, whose character was killed off near the end of Season 5, also says her compensation for the show was $175,000 an episode for her fifth year, $200,000 for her sixth season and $250,000 for her seventh. She claims she stood to earn millions if she hadn’t been fired.
  • [From The Hollywood Reporter]

    If this is as cut and dried as Sheridan claims then of course she’s entitled to compensation. I’m not sure $20 million is at all warranted, but if she’s telling the truth and she was fired for complaining about physical abuse from a supervisor then she has a right to sue. That’s a big if though, and given the things we’ve heard about Sheridan I wouldn’t put it past her to either exaggerate, misrepresent, or make up something like this in order to get a big cash settlement. I’m thinking we haven’t heard about this until now because Sheridan was hoping that ABC would settle her claim with seven figures or more. Maybe when they refused to give in she decided to make this public.

    Last year, Sheridan made some bitchy comments about Cherry. She said that he had personal issues that led him to kill off her character. “I think whoever Edie represented in Marc’s life was somebody he didn’t like. And he had a very difficult time distinguishing between fact and fiction.” Cherry claimed that he axed Sheridan’s character in order to cut costs, but he also gave her a backhanded compliment, and said she “performed the aging, neighborhood tramp better than anyone has ever done before.” Given the expense involved with defending the network against Sheridan’s lawsuit, it may have been cheaper to keep her on.

    Nicollette Sheridan is shown outside the Ivy on 3/11/10. Credit: Fame Pictures

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    15 Responses to “Nicollette Sheridan sues Desperate Housewives creator for alleged abuse”

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    1. canadianchick says:

      Hmm, well if he did it then they should pay instead of covering it up. I think they’ll settle out of court. I guess that’s why they call it Hollyweird…

    2. miranda says:

      If true then Cherry should be punished for what he did but, given DH’s declining ratings, it’s pretty laughable to think that she’d be getting a quarter-mil for season 7, and surely if you’re “injured” it’s a matter for the police on the day in question, not a writ 18 months later when it’s slowly becoming clear that you’re not going to get any more good work?

      And by “work” I mean a job in TV, not another round of dodgy cosmetic surgery…

    3. Hautie says:

      I am going to call this bullsh*t.

      Had anyone touched Nicollette in that way, slapping her across the face with witnesses, she would have went to the media wayyy before now.

      What I am thinking she has found out that no one wants to hire her. She is past her prime to still trying desperately to be 25.

      Then of course there was that issue of her being nasty while having the job on the show. Alot like Terri Hatcher.

      They assume that they can’t be fired. That ABC will put up with bad behavior for the sake of the show.

      Now she wants money for nothing. And I hope there is no settlement and it has to go to court.

    4. scout says:

      Can’t stand her….she is way overrated in the looks department for sure – can’t act all that well, comes across totally in love with herself…and this sounds like a contrived bullshit story if I ever heard one.

    5. princess pea says:

      I find the assault doubtful, for sure. Like Hautie says, there would have been witnesses; a television set is a crowded place. And he would have to be totally unstable to punch her for a little question, there’s definitely more being unsaid here.

      It’s so conceited of her to think that the only possible reason she might be cut is because the writer hates her/Edie. Of course.

    6. smith says:

      Apropos to nothing, the six inches of skin visible in the first picture (from the top of her knee to the bottom of her thigh) scares me to no end.

      Does it bother no one to have frozen, overly-smooth wrinkle-free faces but the hands, neck and body of the elderly? Madonna springs to mind – these women look like they’ve been devouring virgins to stay young and the restaurant ran out halfway through the meal …

    7. Mrs.Darcy says:

      I have to say I miss her character on the show,it has really gone downhill fast due to crappy storylines as well. It did seem like a weird decision at the time, if he said that about Teri Hatcher he does sound a bit unprofessional/capable of doing something to get payback.

    8. lucy2 says:

      I don’t doubt that Cherry is kinda bitchy, but at the same time, I have to wonder about this story. If he struck her, she should have called the police. If the producers/network did nothing, why wait so long to make it public? If it happened at a rehearsal, wouldn’t there be at least a few witnesses? Even if he pulled her aside, if someone hits you like that in the face, it leaves a red mark.
      I’ve heard stories about both Nicolette and Teri being difficult, so maybe they just had enough and fired her. Who knows.
      If he really did hit her, then he and those who ignored her original complaint, need to be held accountable.

    9. Tia C says:

      Who knows what to believe? My inner snark thinks meh, if he really did hit her, she probably deserved it. (kidding!)

      And he was right that she played the “aging, neighborhood tramp better than anyone” – LOL!

    10. Ron says:

      Now how can this possibly be true? If Nicolette had been slapped by anything other than a peen, Nicolette’s cheek implants would have ruptured, and sent her to the emergency room, and TMZ would have filmed her there!

    11. Dawn says:

      I ain’t buying this story it one bit. She waited until now? She didn’t call the police? Lay hands on me like that and I’m calling the cops!

    12. snowball says:

      I always heard from various gossip stuff when she was on again, off again with Michael Bolton that she was more than a little nutso.

      Wasn’t she engaged or something, then she dumped the guy to get back with Bolton? It was some weird situation, but around that time, she was doing something else, I don’t know if it had to do with a lawsuit or something, but she was acting more than a little cuckoo.

      How’s that for vague? Sorry about that, I’ll see if I can look it up.

    13. I Choose Me says:

      “While we have yet to see the actual complaint, we investigated similar claims made by Ms. Sheridan last year and found them to be without merit.”

      So she complained about him being abusive more than once? Hmm something’s fishy here. I realize that a lot of people don’t seem to like Sheridan for some reason but that doesn’t mean that there’s not some truth to this.

    14. Sumodo1 says:

      Simple answer to why it often takes so long to file suits like this: confidentiality agreements from actual witnesses. People don’t want to jeopardize their jobs. One witness won’t do, so,theoretically, when a few people get cut, and their confidentiality agreements lapse, BOOM. Sheridan has her case.

      She’ll make bank.

    15. jane says:

      I’ve heard this is true. That he grabbed her by the arm & hit her forehead with his open hand. I’ve also heard that this guy is a 1st class pig & treats women like dirt. I hope she wins & wins big.