“I took this photo for my daughter”

The face is closed, the text is chilling. Facing the lens of photographer Marc Melki, actress Catherine Hiegel holds in her hands a large notepad on which is written in capital letters: “He hits my head against the sink. Sewn up at the arch, several slaps. The last one, seven months pregnant, exploded my eardrum. Coline turns around in my stomach. Sentenced to a cesarean section. I did not file a complaint. I left her !! » With this image – published Thursday May 23 on the Instagram account After the violence, title of the photographic work carried out by Marc Melki, and widely relayed on social networks -, this is the first time that the former member of the Comédie-Française, aged 77, has publicly testified to the domestic violence she suffered in 1976, just before the birth of his daughter, Coline Berry-Rojtman.

The “he” in his text designates Richard Berry, his former companion, father of Coline. “I took this photo for my daughter, I can’t stand the attitude of her father and Jeane Manson anymore”explains to World Catherine Hiegel. The Richard Berry affair broke out in February 2021 in the columns of World. The daughter of the two actors reveals that she has filed a complaint against her father for “acts of incestuous rape or sexual assault, and corruption of a minor”. In particular, it describes “sex games” to which she had to submit during her childhood, notably in the company of her stepmother at the time, the American singer Jeane Manson.

The investigation targeting the actor, who has always forcefully denied these accusations of incest, was dismissed on August 31, 2022 due to statute of limitations. At the same time, Jeane Manson sued Coline Berry-Rojtman for defamation. Her complaint resulted in a conviction of her ex-daughter-in-law at first instance and on appeal but, on December 5, 2023, the Court of Cassation annulled this conviction, finding that the defamation and attack on Jeane’s honor Manson were not sufficiently qualified and that the ” sincerity “ by Coline Berry-Rojtman. The case was referred to the Lyon Court of Appeal, which is due to render its decision on July 17.

“In these situations, we are ashamed”

In the meantime, it’s his mother who speaks. “It was Coline who put me in contact with the photographer Marc Melki”explains Catherine Hiegel, who has always supported her daughter in her fight against her father. “During all these years, I never made a publicity about what I experienced, only my friends knew about it, but today I am afraid for Coline, who has become anorexic. Her father and Jeanne Manson said such horrible things about her, calling her a mythologian and a liar. That’s why I agreed to take the photo. I am rewarded because it did my daughter good, I made her feel happy”, she confides. During the investigation of World, in February 2021, the actress had already reported physical violence against her from her ex-companion, but without ever going into details. Questioned then by The worldRichard Berry had admitted to the beatings.

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