French actor Gérard Depardieu has been charged with rape and sexual assault, the Agence France-Presse reports (via France 24 and Le Monde). The indictment against Depardieu, 72, was reportedly filed in December, although it wasn’t until Tuesday, February 23rd, that a source in the French justice system confirmed the charges.
Depardieu is accused of raping and sexually assaulting a then-22-year-old actress at his home in Paris in August 2018. The pair were reportedly rehearsing a scene for a play when the alleged incident took place, but a source told AFP “there was nothing professional about the encounter.”
Herve Temime, a lawyer for Depardieu, said the actor “completely rejects the accusations.” He is currently free but under judicial supervision. Temime did not immediately return Rolling Stone‘s request for comment.
Elodie Tuaillon-Hibon, a lawyer for the accuser, did not disclose her client’s name and said she hoped her client’s “private sphere will be respected” as the investigation is carried out.
As Deadline notes, an investigation into the accusations against Depardieu had been previously opened but dropped in 2019 due to a lack of evidence. The case was re-opened in October after the accuser re-filed her complaint.
Depardieu is one of France’s most famous and acclaimed actors, having been nominated for 17 César Awards and winning two: His first in 1981 for La Dernier Metro and his second in 1991 for Cyrano de Bergerac. Depardieu also managed to make the leap into Hollywood, earning an Oscar nomination for Cyrano de Bergerac and appearing in major films like 1492: Conquest of Paradise, The Man in the Iron Mask, and Life of Pi. But Depardieu has also been dogged by controversy: In 2011, he infamously urinated in a bottle while on a flight, and the following year he was accused of punching a motorist in a road rage incident as well as drunk driving.