Book Excerpt: 'A Promise to Ourselves'

We entered a new phase, with attorneys intruding into every aspect of our daily lives, as a bankruptcy trustee took full control of her seized assets. Kim's own bankruptcy attorney would call nearly every day regarding decisions that had to be made. Kim did not have the emotional reserves to deal with any of it. Someone had to give some direction and that fell to me. On top of this, Kim engaged more lawyers and appealed the judgment against her. She was, some time later, granted a "reversal without direction", which legally granted a new trial yet no return of her money.

The ongoing bankruptcy ordeal came packed with inexplicable malice and bad faith. The worst of it occurred one rainy afternoon when the bankruptcy trustee ordered the seizure of Kim's personal and professional property from her office.

Sheriff's deputies stormed into the building and took everything. Her files, the memorabilia she had collected from her own films and those of people she admired, antique furniture, electronic equipment and every last paper clip were flung into the back of a pick-up truck, uncovered, and hauled away in the rain. Many of the items they seized were irreplaceable and much of it was damaged or never seen again.

Kim was depressed, unemployed, and not easy to be around. Her treatment in the press did not help matters. On New Year's Day of 1995 the New York Times Sunday business section ran a front-page article about people who used bankruptcy protection to avoid paying their debts. The piece featured Kim's litigation. Accompanying the piece was a photograph of my then-home in East Hampton, New York. The article referred to it as Kim's "Hampton estate," and implied that she lived in luxury while evading her creditors. This, of course, was blatantly false.

The house was a premarital asset of mine, which I had bought for a small sum in 1987. The article was unfair to the point of ridiculous. Such articles were typical of how Kim was treated in the press during this period. Many mornings throughout 1993 and 1994, Kim's assistant and I would comb the newspapers for unfavorable depictions of Kim and her case to shield her from them.

As all of this churned around us, I found myself growing more and more frustrated with the way business was conducted in Hollywood. Anger seethed inside me over the way my wife was treated. Her agent and others, who should have stood beside her, scurried away to protect themselves, leaving her to face this all on her own.

Kim was accused of refusing to honor a contract, yet I had been on the other end when a studio chose to not honor a contract with me. The unwritten code in Hollywood, however, is that a performer can never sue the studios, not if you expect to ever work in movies again. Early on in my career, as I slowly worked my way up, I was filled with gratitude for the opportunities I received.

Yet, once I had moved up that ladder, I began to see another side of Hollywood. I believe there is more greed and dishonor in the movie business than anywhere else. In terms of honor and dignity, the illegal drug business looks like the Boy Scouts by comparison.

The pain and frustration in my work, combined with the stresses in my marriage, created the worst of all circumstances. At work, I was disappointed by a system whose games I now refused to play. I came home to share in self-pity and bitterness over the hand that we had been dealt.

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