At age 21, she became the first deaf actress to win an Oscar, for her role in "Children of a Lesser God."
On her arm that night was her co-star, William Hurt. And in her new book, "I'll Scream Later," Matlin chronicles what she claims happened with Hurt that night and the alleged abuse she suffered at the hands of the actor.
"I was afraid. I was always afraid… of him," Matlin told Access Hollywood's Nancy O'Dell. "But I loved him. I did. Or maybe I thought I did. But look, I was 19, he was 35."
The stars first met while filming "Children of a Lesser God" and their chemistry was electric – onscreen and off.
"We had an affair that night, the last day of the audition," Matlin continued. "We were together for two years. We lived together and it was one of the most… He's one of the most complex persons that I've ever dealt with. But, at the time, living with him was different than anything I've ever experienced."
The two shared a passionate relationship. However, at times, Matlin claims it turned dangerous.
"How bad was the abuse?" Nancy asked.
"I always had fresh bruises everyday," the actress revealed. "And if I had a split lip, or if… I mean, there were a lot of things that happened that were not pleasant."
In her new book, Matlin recounts one of the couple's fights, where she claims Hurt threw her on the bed and ripped off her clothes while she sobbed, "No, no, no. Please Bill, no."
"Did you ever thing about filing charges against him?" Nancy asked.
"No, not at the time. I was so wrapped up in his world and my drugs. The drugs took over my life, took over my brain. I was 19 and I was alone in New York City. I had no friends there except my drug dealer," Matlin explained.
At the time, Matlin admits she was addicted to cocaine and pot, while Hurt was an alcoholic, but later sought treatment through Alcoholics Anonymous.
"I could say that I understand how women are afraid to leave an abusive relationship," she continued. "They should, but at the same time, I understand how they don't know how."
Matlin said the last time she saw Hurt was three years ago.
"Did you discuss with him that you were going to be putting this in the book? Does he know it's coming out?" Nancy inquired.
"I did not. I had no contact with him. Really, I had nothing to say to him. He knows what happened, I know what happened. We both were there," Matlin said.
Access Hollywood reached out to Hurt's representatives, and as of press time, there was no comment.
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