While on the red carpet for the 2022 Critics’ Choice Awards on Sunday, March 14, Marlee Matlin, 56, was asked about the death of her ex William Hurt. “You’re the first person to ask me about him,” the Deaf actress said via sign language to an Entertainment Tonight reporter. Marlee, after taking a brief pause, went on to speak fondly about William, whom she previously accused of sexual assault.
“We’ve lost a really great actor and working with him on set in ‘Children of a Lesser God’ will always be something I remember very fondly,” she said. “He taught me a great deal as an actor and he was one-of-a-kind.”
This was Marlee’s first statement regarding William’s death. His son Will announced the tragic passing in a statement from the family. “It is with great sadness that the Hurt family mourns the passing of William Hurt, beloved father, and Oscar-winning actor, on March 13, 2022, one week before his 72nd birthday. He died peacefully, among family, of natural causes,” the statement read.
Marlee and William’s romance was born on the set of their 1986 movie Children of a Lesser God, for which Marlee won the Academy Award for Best Actress. The pair officially started dating when Marlee was 19, while William was 35. Years after their split, Marlee claimed in her 2009 memoir I’ll Scream Later that William violently abused her during their relationship.
“I was scared, I was sobbing,” Marlee wrote in her memoir, when recalling a time that William allegedly raped her while he was drunk. “Then he threw me on the bed, started ripping off his clothes and mine. I was crying. ’No, no, no. Please Bill, no.’ The next thing I remember is Bill ramming himself inside me as I sobbed,” she added, per Page Six.
William never denied Marlee’s allegations but did issue an apology to her after the memoir was published. “Of course, I did and do apologize for any pain I caused. And I know we both have grown. I wish Marlee and her family nothing but good,” he reportedly said in a statement.