'He could kill me': Christina Ricci describes 'hiding knives' from husband on holiday in NZ, files restraining order

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)
Photo credit: Getty

Warning: The following article discusses domestic violence and may be distressing for some readers. 

Christina Ricci has obtained a restraining order against her husband after revealing she "hid all the knives" from him, fearing he could kill her on a family holiday in New Zealand. 

According to People Magazine, the Sleepy Hollow star detailed years of alleged physical and emotional abuse by her husband James Heerdegen in court documents, claiming many of the alleged incidents took place in front of the couple's young son. 

Ricci reportedly said she felt "extremely isolated" while visiting Aotearoa with her family towards the end of 2018 , where she claimed Heerdegen said something that made her think "he could kill me". 

"He said the only way he could feel sorry for me is if I were dismembered into small pieces," Ricci wrote in her declaration for the restraining order filing. 

"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 40-year-old actress also claimed she was "brutally attacked" by her husband at the end of 2019, accusing him of beating her, spitting at her and making pig noises at her. 

Ricci reportedly told Heerdegen she wanted a divorce some months later, only to find herself quarantined with him due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

"[I was] 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. 

Ricci said that during lockdown, Heerdegen was allegedly "focused solely on punishing and terrorizing me 24 hours a day," leaving her "afraid to sleep at night". 

The Monster star said that she was chased through the house by Heerdegen in June last year while calling 911, in an attack that culminated with her being dragged by the wrists and slammed into a firepit. 

"I suffered cuts, bruising, and soreness of my hip, which still causes me pain today," she wrote. 

Heerdegen's attorney Larry Bakman said that his client "unequivocally denies all allegations of abuse made by Ms. Ricci as having occurred in 2020" in a statement given to People. 

Meanwhile, TMZ reports that Heerdegen's lawyer said they will be filing 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," Bakman said. 

Ricci and Heerdegen married in October 2013 - the same time Ricci alleges the abuse first started. 

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