Connery's first wife claims star bullied her
SIR Sean Connery physically and mentally bullied his first wife, she alleges in her autobiography.
The book by Diane Cilento, who was married to Connery from 1962 to 1973, will also claim the actor resented her early success and the 007 icon "wasn't able to cope with the pressure of fame brought by his Bond role".
She will blame the couple's very different social backgrounds for the differences that eventually led to the collapse of their marriage. Connery, she explains, is very much Scottish working class while she is the child of two high-profile Australian doctors.
She said: "There was physical contact but it's important to see it in context. You've got to remember he was probably twice my weight."
Cilento came to the UK in 1951 at the age of 18 to study at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art. She met the future 007 in 1957 when she appeared next to him on the television programme Anna Christie.
Cilento was already a well-established actress at that time and she had been nicknamed "the high-IQ sex kitten" by the media.
Although she was already married to someone else, her relationship with Connery flourished. She refused several of his marriage proposals, but she finally relented and they got married in 1962 after the premiere of the first Bond film, Dr No.
Speculation about Connery's supposedly rough treatment of his first wife was sparked by two separate comments given to magazine interviews. In 1965 he told Playboy: "I don't think there is anything particularly wrong in hitting a woman, though I don't recommend you do it the same way that you hit a man."
In another interview, this time with Vanity Fair in 1993, he said: "Sometimes there are women who take it to the wire. That's what they are looking for, the ultimate confrontation. They want a smack."
Connery has claimed that the remarks were taken out of context. In addition, he has always strenuously denied hitting Cilento.
The former actress's book, which is to be published next spring, claims the couple were completely mismatched and came from radically different worlds.
Cilento said: "Sean came from a Scottish working class background, and was not able to cope with the fame James Bond brought him.
"He changed, as did our relationship. It was not all his fault. He was not protected by the Bond people."
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