HomeArts & EntertainmentFilmWilliam Hurt Ex Recounts Abuse She Endured, 'Brutal Remnants' Following His Death

William Hurt Ex Recounts Abuse She Endured, ‘Brutal Remnants’ Following His Death

A former girlfriend of William Hurt, who died Sunday at the age of 71, recounted the alleged physical abuse she endured while dating the actor in a guest column for Variety.

Like actress Marlee Matlin — who accused Hurt of abuse in a memoir — Donna Kaz also penned a memoir, Un/Masked, Memoirs of a Guerrilla Girl On Tour, that detailed her relationship with the actor, which began in 1977 when Hurt was a theater actor in New York.

Soon after they began dating, Kaz accompanied Hurt to Los Angeles, where he filmed his big screen debut Altered States. “On his days off we swam, read poetry to each other and made love. But our relationship quickly morphed into a different cycle,” Kaz writes.

“Bill would snap, physically shove, punch and beat me, followed by tears, apologies and him offering me expensive gifts. When the battering began I sloughed it off. He said he was sorry. Perhaps I instigated it. I only had to visit the ER once. It was only after many, many years I admitted to myself that I was the victim of domestic violence.”

In 1980, “at the height of his physical abuse,” Hurt “dumped” Kaz. Decades later, Kaz — now an activist fighting domestic violence — began volunteering at the L.A. Rape and Battery Hotline. “For the very first time, I realized I had been abused. As other volunteers were introducing themselves as survivors, it hit me that I was a survivor too,” Kaz writes.

Prior to writing her memoir, Kaz opened up about being a domestic abuse victim during a CNN interview following the murder of Nicole Brown Simpson. Years later, before the #MeToo movement, Kaz wrote her memoir that in part detailed her three-year relationship with Hurt; the actor did not attempt to block the book’s publication.

“William Hurt died on March 13. There have been accolades all over social media, the press and television since then about his acting, his awards, his career. I agree with all of them. But I must also use a good deal of energy to prevent his memory from sitting down next to me and abusing me all over again. In writing this I had to let him live again for a moment or two. And in that moment there was sorrow, regret, anger and a dream of reconciliation that will never be,” Kaz added.

“I wonder about all the folks who Google-search their abusers, waiting for the day when they will no longer exist. Death humanizes people. When our abusers die we might be surprised to discover that in the end they were mortal human beings. Except for us, they are also boyfriends, lovers, spouses who tried to change the course of our lives, leaving behind brutal remnants of themselves that we will never forget.”

In Matlin’s 2009 memoir, the actress wrote about being violently sexually assaulted by her much-older then-boyfriend Hurt. (“My own recollection is that we both apologized and both did a great deal to heal our lives,” Hurt said in a statement at the time.)

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