War on Wisteria Lane: 'Housewives' star claims she was hit and then written out

On screen, the cast of Desperate Housewives gossip, sleep around, and peer enviously at neighbours over their impeccable white picket fences. But the real drama begins when the director shouts "cut!" and they return to their highly strung lives away from Wisteria Lane.

That, at least, is the view of Nicollette Sheridan, who played estate agent Edie Britt in the hit programme and has filed a lawsuit claiming she was sacked after being physically assaulted by the show's creator.

Sheridan's character was killed off last year by electrocution from a falling telephone wire. She now claims this sticky end was deliberately engineered by the creator of Desperate Housewives, Marc Cherry, as payback for a long-running and, at one point, physical dispute between them.

The British-born actress alleges that she and Cherry's tense relationship spilled over during rehearsals for its fifth series in September 2008. "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," reads the 18-page suit filed at Los Angeles Superior Court on Monday. "Sheridan was physically and emotionally injured, humiliated and stunned."

After she complained to bosses at the broadcaster ABC, Sheridan alleges that Cherry retaliated by having her fired. "It is exceptionally unusual for a popular character to be killed off or written out of a television series unless the actor has requested to be released," the suit continues.

Sheridan claims she suffered "wrongful termination", "assault and battery" and "gender violence" and is seeking compensation totalling $20m (£13.3m).

The actress alleges she responded to Cherry's attack with the comment: "You just hit me in the head. That is not ok. That is not ok!" Shortly afterwards, the lawsuit claims that the director "acknowledged that he had gone too far and went to Sheridan's trailer in an effort to, as he put it, 'beg forgiveness'".

Since the launch of Desperate Housewives in 2004, public fascination with the show, about a prosperous suburban cul-de-sac, has consistently revolved around the allegedly fraught relations between its female leads.

A Vanity Fair profile published at the peak of the show's popularity saw all five of the stars posing in swimwear. "You wouldn't believe what it took just to get this photo!" read the headline.

ABC responded to the lawsuit last night with a 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," it read.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Media

Marketing Account Manager / Client Liaison Manager

£25 - 32k DOE: Guru Careers: A digital-savvy Marketing Account Manager / Clien...

Business Development Manager / Sales Executive

£23-30k (DOE) + Bonus: Guru Careers: We are seeking bright Business Developmen...

Senior Developer/Development Lead - C# ASP.NET. SQL

Circa £55,000: Ashdown Group: Lead Developer requirement - C#, ASP.NET, SQL - ...

DFA Ad Operations Manager

38,000: Sphere Digital Recruitment: My client is an agency that handles the me...

Day In a Page

Isis in Syria: A general reveals the lack of communication with the US - and his country's awkward relationship with their allies-by-default

A Syrian general speaks

A senior officer of Bashar al-Assad’s regime talks to Robert Fisk about his army’s brutal struggle with Isis, in a dirty war whose challenges include widespread atrocities
‘A bit of a shock...’ Cambridge economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

‘A bit of a shock...’ Economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

Guy Scott's predecessor, Michael Sata, died in a London hospital this week after a lengthy illness
Fall of the Berlin Wall: History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War

Fall of the Berlin Wall

History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War
How to turn your mobile phone into easy money

Turn your mobile phone into easy money

There are 90 million unused mobiles in the UK, which would be worth £7bn if we cashed them in, says David Crookes
Independent writers remember their Saturday jobs:

Independent writers remember their Saturday jobs

"I have never regarded anything I have done in "the media" as a proper job"
Lyricist Richard Thomas shares his 11-step recipe for creating a hit West End musical

11-step recipe for creating a West End hit

Richard Thomas, the lyricist behind the Jerry Springer and Anna Nicole Smith operas, explains how Bob Dylan, 'Breaking Bad' and even Noam Chomsky inspired his songbook for the new musical 'Made in Dagenham'
Tonke Dragt's The Letter for the King has finally been translated into English ... 50 years on

Buried treasure: The Letter for the King

The coming-of-age tale about a boy and his mission to save a mythical kingdom has sold a million copies since it was written by an eccentric Dutchwoman in 1962. Yet until last year, no one had read it in English
Can instilling a sense of entrepreneurship in pupils have a positive effect on their learning?

The school that means business

Richard Garner heads to Lancashire, where developing the 'dragons' of the future is also helping one community academy to achieve its educational goals
10 best tablets

The world in your pocket: 10 best tablets

They’re thin, they’re light, you can use them for work on the move or keeping entertained
Lutz Pfannenstiel: The goalkeeper who gave up Bayern Munich for the Crazy Gang, Bradford and a whirlwind trawl across continents

Lutz Pfannenstiel interview

The goalkeeper who gave up Bayern Munich for the Crazy Gang, Bradford and a whirlwind trawl across continents
Pete Jenson: Popular Jürgen Klopp can reignite Borussia Dortmund’s season with visit to Bayern Munich

Pete Jenson's a Different League

Popular Klopp can reignite Dortmund’s season with visit to Bayern
John Cantlie video proves that Isis expects victory in Kobani

Cantlie video proves that Isis expects victory in Kobani

The use of the British hostage demonstrates once again the militants' skill and originality in conducting a propaganda war, says Patrick Cockburn
The killer instinct: The man who helps students spot potential murderers

The killer instinct

Phil Chalmers travels the US warning students how to spot possible future murderers, but can his contentious methods really stop the bloodshed?
Clothing the gap: A new exhibition celebrates women who stood apart from the fashion herd

Clothing the gap

A new exhibition celebrates women who stood apart from the fashion herd
Fall of the Berlin Wall: Goodbye to all that - the lost world beyond the Iron Curtain

The Fall of the Berlin Wall

Goodbye to all that - the lost world beyond the Iron Curtain