William Hurt’s Palimony Trial Erupts in Screams

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From United Press International

Actor William Hurt and the lawyer for his former lover screamed at each other during cross-examination today on the opening day of the Oscar winner’s palimony trial.

Hurt, dressed in a dark pin-striped suit, took the stand without looking at ballerina Sandra Jennings, the mother of his 6-year-old son, Alexander.

He sat with his arms crossed and his head down between questions by Jennings’s attorney, Richard Golub, about the early days of their relationship.


Jennings, 32, claims she and Hurt, 39, lived together as common-law husband and wife for about two years, mostly in New York, and claims half of his $10 million in earnings.

Jennings, dressed in a blue skirt and polo shirt, was smiling and appeared cheerful. She kept taking furtive glances at Hurt.

Hurt told Golub the two met in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., in June, 1981, when she was dancing with the New York Ballet and he was acting in a play. He said they began dating and discussed marriage at one point.

“Did you discuss your philosophy toward marriage?” Golub asked.

“I made my position very clear to her,” said Hurt, who married band leader Skitch Henderson’s daughter, Heidi, in March.

“What was your position?” asked Golub.

“That I wasn’t going to be married again,” Hurt answered, referring to his separation from his first wife, actress Mary Beth Hurt.

“What was that based on?” asked Golub.

“My failure at marriage and my family’s failure at marriage. I had gotten burned,” Hurt replied.


Golub asked, “You had gotten burned--or your family had gotten burned.”

“We all had been burned,” Hurt said.

“What do you mean by burned?” Golub pressed.

“Scorched,” Hurt said as the courtroom erupted in laughter.

“Scorched?” Golub asked.

“Wounded. Hurt,” Hurt said.

“Body heat!” Golub screamed, invoking the title of one of Hurt’s movies.

Flushes With Anger

Hurt’s faced flushed with anger.

“Get off it!” the actor shouted.

Hurt, who won an Oscar in 1986 for his performance in “Kiss of the Spider Woman,” currently pays $65,000 a year in child support. Jennings is seeking to prove the marriage existed in her efforts to claim half his earnings over the last six years.

Jennings claims that Hurt forced her to get two abortions before she became pregnant with their son and that she fled the relationship to escape his physical abuse during drunken rages.