Christina Ricci obtains restraining order against estranged husband James Heerdegen citing 'physical and emotional abuse'

Suzy Byrne
·Editor, Yahoo Entertainment
·4 min read

Watch: Christina Ricci granted restraining order against estranged husband James Heerdegen, citing ‘physical and emotional abuse’

Christina Ricci has obtained a temporary restraining order against her estranged husband, James Heerdegen, citing domestic violence.

The Mermaids, The Addams Family and Sleepy Hollow actress, who filed for divorce from the cinematographer in July, alleged "severe physical and emotional abuse" that has left her fearing for her life and that of her 6-year-old son Freddie, say documents filed Wednesday and obtained by TMZ and People. A judge granted Ricci's request, and Heerdegen must stay 100 yards away from her and has no visitation rights with son. He must also stay away from the family's dog.

Christina Ricci (Photo: REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni)
Christina Ricci (Photo: REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni)

Ricci’s attorney has not yet responded to Yahoo Entertainment’s request for comment. Heerdegen's attorney told TMZ that his client "unequivocally denies all allegations of abuse made by Ms. Ricci as having occurred in 2020." The attorney added that they plan to file for their own restraining order against Ricci "detailing her abusive conduct fueled by alcohol and substance abuse. His papers will also include documentation that Ms. Ricci advised law enforcement in December 2019 that there had been no prior incidents of domestic violence between the couple, thereby calling into question her credibility."

Wednesday’s filing included a series of photos of Ricci’s alleged injuries, including black and blue marks and cuts on her hands and up and down her arms.

In her declaration, Ricci, 40, claimed that alleged abuse started as soon as she learned she was pregnant with her only child in October 2013 — which is also the month they were married.

After that, she claimed she started to think he "could kill me,” recalling an incident in which : ”he said the only way he could feel sorry for me is if I were dismembered into small pieces." It led her to hide “all the knives in the cabin where we were staying. I feared for my life and the life of our son. I slept in a separate bedroom with Freddie, and I locked the door."

WEST HOLLYWOOD, CA - FEBRUARY 24: (L-R) Christina Ricci and James Heerdegen attend the 27th annual Elton John AIDS Foundation Academy Awards Viewing Party sponsored by IMDb and Neuro Drinks celebrating EJAF and the 91st Academy Awards on February 24, 2019 in West Hollywood, California.  (Photo by Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images for EJAF)
Christina Ricci and James Heerdegen attend the 27th annual Elton John AIDS Foundation Academy Awards Viewing Party sponsored by IMDb and Neuro Drinks celebrating EJAF and the 91st Academy Awards in 2019. (Photo: Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images for EJAF)

She said the physical abuse began on Dec. 16, 2019, when Heerdegen "brutally attacked" her.

Ricci claimed that the coronavirus pandemic kept her from leaving Heerdegen sooner. While she wanted to file for divorce months after the alleged attack, she found herself "stuck in the house with a man who had physically and emotionally abused me, and knew that I wanted to end the marriage.”

She wrote that during the spring, amid the pandemic, Heerdegen "focused solely on punishing and terrorizing me 24 hours a day." Then on June 2, she claimed Heerdegen "chased me through and out of the house" while trying to take her phone while she tried to call 911.

"He grabbed my wrists and hands, dragged me, and slammed my body into the fire pit we have in the yard," she wrote. "I suffered cuts, bruising, and soreness of my hip, which still causes me pain today."

There was a second incident on June 25, she claimed, when she said Heerdegen followed her around the house "screaming at me, spitting on me, throwing coffee at me, and throwing a chair at me" while their child was present. After the second incident, in which police were called but no arrests made, she filed for divorce and was granted an emergency protective order against Heerdegen.

In Wednesday’s filing, Ricci said their issues have continued since she filed for divorce, claiming Heerdegen "continues to threaten to abduct" Freddie. Ricci also claims mistreatment to the family dog, writing that Heerdegen keeps the pet leashed to a coffee table when he has visitation with their son. The restraining order states has to stay away from the dog too.

Further, she said he became “emotionally unhinged" this month after finding out she had been spending time with a male friend, sending "hostile text messages containing veiled threats to harm my reputation in the media." She requested that the court to stop Heerdegen from releasing private audio and video recordings of her.

Ricci also asked the judge to grant a move out order, Heerdegen, who no longer lives with her, may "not return" to the home they shared. She also asked that he be required to attend a 52-week batterer intervention program and show proof of completion to the court.

On Wednesday, another document was filed in their divorce by the judge ordering them to participate in mediation.

The next hearing in their divorce case pertains to the restraining order and is scheduled for March 10.

For anyone affected by abuse and needing support, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233, or if you're unable to speak safely, you can log onto thehotline.org or text LOVEIS to 22522.

Watch: Domestic Violence Heartbreak

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