Murray addicted to sex and drugs, says his wife

The actor Bill Murray is embroiled in an acrimonious divorce, with his wife filing separation papers detailing lurid accusations about his behaviour.

Jennifer Butler Murray, who has been married to the Lost in Translation star for 11 years, has accused her husband of being repeatedly unfaithful, physically abusive and addicted to drugs and sex, according to the court papers filed in South Carolina.

The complaint suggests that the couple's marriage has been on the rocks for some time. The divorce papers, obtained by a local newspaper before the courts sealed them, state that Mrs Butler Murray moved out with their four children to a house in Sullivan Island, South Carolina, due to Mr Murray's "adultery, addiction to marijuana and alcohol, abusive behaviour, physical abuse, sexual addiction [and] frequent abandonment".

The papers have since been leaked to the Smoking Gun website which often posts embarrassing legal documents regarding American public figures.

One of the most serious charges accuses Mr Murray of physically abusing his wife "more than once" since their marriage in 1997, as well as making "threatening and abusive" phonecalls since his wife moved out.

The latest altercation, the papers say, was in November 2007 at Sullivan Island when Mr Murray reportedly hit his wife in the face and told her she was "lucky he didn't kill her".

One passage states that Mr Murray's "violent, abusive and erratic behaviour toward Plaintiff has destroyed the marital relationship between the parties and Plaintiff no longer feels safe being in the presence of Defendant".

Mrs Butler Murray, 42, is also seeking a restraining order which would ban her husband "from interfering with, abusing, intimidating, threatening, threatening to abuse or molesting the Plaintiff, stalking the Plaintiff, or making abusive or threatening telephone calls or text messages to her or the children".

The injunction is also seeking to forbid the star from introducing his children to anyone he has been romantically involved with outside of marriage.

Mr Murray rose to fame with the comedians Dan Ackroyd and John Belushi in the 1970s as part of the Saturday Night Live troupe and then found wider fame through comedy films such as Scrooged and Groundhog Day. He has so far remained silent about the accusations.

His lawyer, John McDougall, said: "Bill Murray is deeply saddened by the break-up of his marriage to Jennifer. They remain loving parents, committed to the best interests of their children. Mr Murray asks the public to respect his family's privacy at this difficult time."

Hollywood divorces have a reputation for acrimony and costs, with both sides often trying to outdo each other in grisly descriptions of the other's behaviour to seek the highest pay-out.

Mr Murray's wife is unlikely to receive any more than $7m (£3.5m) because of a prenuptial agreement that caps any pay-out in the event of a divorce.