Rita Moreno has opened up about the abuse she received from Marlon Brando.
Moreno joined Jessica Chastain for Variety‘s “Actors On Actors” series where she looked back at her almost eight year relationship with Brando. They two first met on set of 1954’s “Désirée”.
“I think you are every bit of the actor Marlon Brando was. That must have been so difficult for you in a time where you’re seeing all of these opportunities being given to him,” Chastain said to Moreno.
“Ultimately, it was exciting to be with Marlon. Oh, my God, it was exciting,” Moreno replied. “He was extraordinary in many, many ways, but he was a bad guy. He was a bad guy when it came to women. I was such a different person then. I had all the makings of a doormat.”
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Moreno noted that the way Brando “mistreated” her caused her to try and end her life.
“So whenever he lied, I would look at him and I’d say, ‘Marlon, look at me.’ And he’d start to grin this kind of — I don’t want to use the bad word — that poop-eating grin,” Moreno continued. “I could read him like a book and that’s why he loved me, and that’s why he mistreated me in so many ways. I tried to end my life with pills in his house. That’s how I tried to do it.”
She added, “I didn’t understand that if I was going to kill this pathetic, sad, trod-upon Rita, the rest of Rita was also going to go with me. I really didn’t seem to understand that. But that’s what the attempt was. It was an attempt.”
Years later, Brando tried to get back together with Moreno but she was married to Leonard Gordon.
“What’s interesting is that he wanted to renew. I was now married. I had a beautiful child, Fernanda. He was ready to have a go again,” she said. “I didn’t want that. But he did. He lost a big part of himself, I think. The good part of him, the good Marlon that Rita loved. It was very complicated. Really, really complicated.”
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Moreno has previously spoken about her relationship with Brando and attempted suicide in the 2021 documentary “Rita Moreno: Just A Girl Who Decided To Go For It”. She also shared that Brando made her get an abortion after she became pregnant.
The Canadian Association for Suicide Prevention, Depression Hurts and Kids Help Phone 1-800-668-6868 all offer ways of getting help if you, or someone you know, may be suffering from mental health issues.