Bette Battles May Have Driven Hubby Away

ByABC News
December 4, 2000, 8:04 PM

December 4 -- Bette Midler's last film role was that of hideous Mona Dearly in Drowning Mona, a heartless woman who may or may not have been killed by the townspeople who detest her. In real life, Midler's being accused of using her clout to bump off her TV husband, actor Kevin Dunn, due to behind-the-scenes hatred on the diva's CBS sitcom.

Dunn left Bette two weeks ago after completing just 10 episodes. Though the show's producers said his termination was a "mutual decision," some sources claim it came about because Dunn and his on-screen wifey were having ugly, off-screen communication breakdowns.

According to MSNBC gossip columnist Jeannette Walls, Midler and Dunn "absolutely detested" each other. One set insider confesses to seeing the two have a shouting match in front of the entire crew during a script run-through. "It disintegrated into 'I hate you!' 'And I hate you!' levels," the source notes. "This all happened at about 6 p.m. The next day it was announced Kevin would be leaving the show."

The ailing sitcom, which has dropped significantly in the ratings since its Oct. 11 debut, is apparently getting to Midler. The Divine Miss M recently told late night talk show host David Letterman that her series is "the lowest thing that ever happened to me in my life," adding, "I'm like a dung beetle pushing this ball of dung up a mountain."

A CBS rep wouldn't comment on the rocky relations between Midler and Dunn, but the show is apparently searching for a new hubby. Dunn is the second Bette caster to get pink-slipped Midler's TV daughter was portrayed by Lindsay Lohan for two episodes, only to be yanked for replacement "daughter," actress Marina Malota.