A representative for former "Desperate Housewives" star Nicollette Sheridan has defended the actress' decision to sue the show's creator amid allegations of assault and wrongful termination, insisting she felt "compelled" to stand up for her rights. The actress, who played Edie Britt on the hit show, claims Marc Cherry slapped her during an argument about a script he had written and then fired her when she complained to producers.
In the legal papers, obtained by TMZ, Sheridan alleges Cherry "forcefully hit her with his hand across her face and head". She is suing for more than $20 million for assault and battery, gender violence and wrongful termination.
The actress also maintains that Cherry created a hostile work environment by "behaving in an extremely abusive and aggressive manner toward the individuals who work on the show". A spokesperson for the ABC network, which airs the show, admitted on Monday, April 5 that Sheridan had made "similar" claims in the past, but they were found to be "without merit".
Sheridan is now facing a backlash from members of the production crew, who have accused the star of making up the accusations. One unidentified staff member tells TMZ that "verbal tiffs" have taken place between Cherry and the show's stars, but there was never any violence.
But Sheridan's rep is adamant the actress was "a model employee" who found Cherry's behavior and attitude towards her "abusive and appalling". Her rep says, "It will not be a surprise if ABC and Mr. Cherry try to depict Nicollette to be something other than a team player and a long-standing industry professional."