Tuesday, March 20, 2012

'It's not hard for a woman to make a man hit her': Minder star Dennis Waterman admits he punched ex-wife Rula

By Larisa Brown

Veteran actor Dennis Waterman has admitted slapping and punching his ex-wife Rula Lenska – and claimed it was 'not difficult for a woman to make a man hit her'.

The 64-year-old former Minder star said that because Miss Lenska was a 'strong, intelligent' woman who could argue, he resorted to 'lashing out' to stop her.

Speaking about their marriage of 11 years, he confessed he had slapped and punched her twice, but added: 'She certainly wasn't a beaten wife, she was hit and that's different.'

Stormy relationship: Dennis Waterman and Rula Lenska pictured in 1993

Former Coronation Street actress Miss Lenska, 64, divorced Mr Waterman in 1998 claiming he was a drunken wife-beater, an allegation he always denied.

His astonishing comments during an interview on Piers Morgan's Life Stories, to be aired on ITV next month, provoked an angry response from domestic violence charity Refuge.

Chief executive Sandra Horley said: 'I am appalled by Dennis Waterman's comments about his violence towards Rula Lenska, which trivialise the abuse he inflicted on her.

'No one can make their partner hit them. However angry or frustrated Dennis felt, he could have chosen to deal with those feelings another way but he chose violence.
'He alone is responsible for his behaviour.

'It doesn't matter whether he hit her once, twice or a dozen times – no man is entitled to hit his wife.'

TV classic: Dennis Waterman with George Cole in the ITV series Minder, pictured in 1993

When the couple divorced, Polish-born star Miss Lenska, who has not remarried, said their relationship had become a 'violent, abusive pattern.'

She said: 'There were times when he hit me. I became the object of his hate. It got so bad that he became abusive to me and my daughter, and the last time it happened I had to run out of the house in tears.'

Mr Waterman, who is now married to his fourth wife, Pam Flint, said in the ITV interview: 'We were going through a horrible time and arguing a lot.

Dennis Waterman and Rula Lenska, pictured here in front of their former home in Buckinghamshire, divorced in 1998

'The problem with strong, intelligent women is that they can argue – well. And if there is a time where you can't get a word in… and I… lashed out. I couldn't end the argument.

'Something must have brought it on. When frustration builds up and you can't think of a way out… It happened and I'm very, very ashamed of it.'

Describing the events, he admitted he might have 'drunk too much' to remember the details and said: 'I must have punched her one time because she did have a black eye. Afterwards, I felt utterly ashamed.'

Waterman is now married to his fourth wife, former model and actress Pam Flint

Mr Waterman, the son of an amateur boxer, added: 'I'd never done it before or since.

'But if a woman is a bit of a power freak and determined to put you down, and if you're not bright enough to do it with words, it can happen.'

In the ITV interview, the actor said of his attitudes to women: 'I'm actually quite Victorian in that way.

'It's been suggested that I'm chauvinistic but I don't think I am, I'm just… I think there is a place for women at home.'



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