Christina Ricci Obtains Restraining Order Against Estranged Husband, Alleging 'Physical and Emotional Abuse'

Ricci filed for divorce from James Heerdegen in July

Christina Ricci
Christina Ricci; James Heerdegen. Photo: Getty Images (2)

Christina Ricci has filed a request for a domestic violence restraining order against her estranged husband James Heerdegen six months after she filed for divorce.

A judge granted Ricci's request and under the restraining order, Heerdegen must stay 100 yards away from Ricci, and he will also have no visitation rights with their 6-year-old son Freddie and must stay away from the family's dog, PEOPLE confirms.

The 40-year-old actress alleges she was physically abused by Heerdegen, in the request on Tuesday by Ricci's attorney Samantha Spector and obtained by PEOPLE.

A rep for Ricci did not immediately respond to PEOPLE's request for comment. Heerdegen's attorney Larry Bakman said in a statement obtained by PEOPLE that his client "unequivocally denies all allegations of abuse made by Ms. Ricci as having occurred in 2020."

In the filing, Ricci claims she was subjected to "severe physical and emotional abuse" by Heerdegen with "many of these acts of abuse" taking place in front of their son.

In her declaration in the filing, Ricci claimed the alleged abuse started as soon as she learned of her pregnancy in October 2013.

"I began to feel extremely isolated," Ricci wrote of the alleged subsequent abuse, describing a family vacation in New Zealand where Heerdegen "said something that made me think" he "could kill me."

Christina Ricci and James Heerdegen
Christina Ricci and James Heerdegen in 2019. Rich Fury/Getty

"He said the only way he could feel sorry for me is if I were dismembered into small pieces," wrote Ricci in the declaration. "That night I hid 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."

The Addams Family star alleges Heerdegen "brutally attacked" her on Dec. 16, 2019.

Months later, Ricci said she told the cinematographer she wanted a divorce only to find herself "stuck in the house with a man who had physically and emotionally abused me, and knew that I wanted to end the marriage" when the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown began.

Ricci wrote in her declaration that once the lockdown commenced, Heerdegen allegedly "focused solely on punishing and terrorizing me 24 hours a day," adding, "I was afraid to sleep at night."

On June 2, the actress alleges Heerdegen "chased me through and out of the house" while trying to take her cell phone from her while she was trying 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 in her declaration. "I suffered cuts, bruising, and soreness of my hip, which still causes me pain today."

On June 25, Ricci says Heerdegen followed her around the house "all morning, screaming at me, spitting on me, throwing coffee at me, and throwing a chair at me" in the presence of their son.

At the time, Ricci said she called 911 and was granted an emergency protective order against Heerdegen.

In the filing, Ricci also alleges Heerdegen "became emotionally unhinged" earlier this month after finding out she had been spending time with a male friend, becoming "increasingly hostile and erratic" including sending the actress "hostile text messages containing veiled threats to harm my reputation in the media."

Ricci has stated in the filing that she fears for their son, writing Heerdegen "continues to threaten to abduct" Freddie. She has also asked the court to stop Heerdegen from releasing private audio and video recordings of her and to return them to her.

She has asked a judge to grant a move out order so that he may "not return" to the home she currently resides in and has requested the court order Heerdegen to attend a 52-week batterer intervention program and show proof of completion to the court.

In his statement, Bakman said Heerdegen would be "filing a competing request for a domestic violence restraining order against Ms. Ricci detailing her abusive conduct fueled in part by alcohol and substance abuse. My client's allegations are supported by documentation written by Ms. Ricci reflecting her apologies for her abusive conduct, coupled with James' contemporaneous written accounts of Ms. Ricci's verbal, emotional and physical abuse. Many of these documents will be attached to Mr. Heerdegen's moving papers."

In her declaration within the filing, Ricci denies Heerdegen's allegations.

"Mr. Heerdegens' papers will also reflect Ricci's attempts at coercive control through the use of the couple's six year old son," the statement continued. "Unfortunately, Ms. Ricci has a propensity to utilize the child as a pawn in order to punish and control James."

"My client unequivocally denies Ms. Ricci's allegations of abuse either in 2020 and/or since the inception of the couple's marriage as claimed in Ricci's moving papers filed yesterday. Ricci's request for a domestic violence restraining order is nothing more than Ricci's latest attempt to control James and interfere in his relationship with the couple's son through the use of fabricated domestic violence allegations," the statement concluded.

Ricci and Heerdegen married in October 2013. The actress filed for divorce in July 2020.

If you are experiencing domestic violence, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233, or go to All calls are toll-free and confidential. The hotline is available 24/7 in more than 170 languages.

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