Dennis Waterman has provoked anger after admitting that he punched his ex-wife but claiming that it is "not difficult for a woman to make a man hit her".
The veteran actor was speaking during an interview with Piers Morgan when he made the startling comments about the relationship with his former wife, actress Rula Lenska.
The 64-year-old New Tricks star said that because Lenska was a "strong, intelligent" woman, he resorted to lashing out to win an argument.
Seemingly attempting to defend his actions, he said:
"She certainly wasn't a beaten wife, she was hit and that's different."
The former Coronation Street actress divorced Waterman after 11 years of marriage, claiming he was a drunken wife-beater.
Now, domestic violence charity Refuges Chief executive Sandra Horley has hit out at the actor, saying:
"I am appalled by Dennis Waterman's comments about his violence towards Rula Lenska, which trivialise the abuse he inflicted on her.
"No one can make their partner hit them. However angry or frustrated Dennis felt, he could have chosen to deal with those feelings another way but he chose violence.
"He alone is responsible for his behaviour.
"It doesn't matter whether he hit her once, twice or a dozen times no man is entitled to hit his wife."
The former Minder star went on to say that he is "very, very ashamed" of his violence, and said that he may have "drunk too much", adding:
"I must have punched her one time because she did have a black eye. Afterwards, I felt utterly ashamed."
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