Blake's First Wife Denies Abuse Tales

ByABC News

June 1, 2001 -- The ex-wife of Robert Blake said today she never told tabloids the former Baretta star abused her during their 22-year marriage.

Sondra Kerr Blake broke her silence at a news conference today, saying she did not tell tabloids about her marriage to the actor, whom police have so far refused to clear in the slaying of Bonny Lee Bakley, his second wife.

The Star, citing anonymous friends of Robert Blake, reported that Blake once threatened Kerr Blake by putting a gun in her mouth. Other tabloids, citing similar sources, said Kerr Blake talked of being terrified by the time her marriage was ending, and of Robert Blake forcing her at gunpoint to tell their two children they had to live with him.

Sondra Blake, who was married to Robert Blake from 1960 to 1982, said she was not one of the sources, and that she has turned down numerous interview requests from the tabloids.

She said she didn't want to talk about their marriage, and refused to comment on whether their relationship was abusive.

Robert Blake's lawyer, Harland Braun, told Reuters his client still has a good relationship with Kerr Blake and "fond memories" of their marriage.

"It was a lengthy marriage, and like all lengthy marriages, it had its ups and downs," Kerr Blake said at her news conference. "I do not wish to speak about my personal relationship with Robert, at this time. … I'm not denying them or saying they're true or confirming. I'm just saying I didn't give them to the press."

Still No Arrests, One Month Later

Blake's former wife refused to speculate on the 67-year-old actor's involvement in Bonny Lee Bakley's shooting death on May 4. "It is a horrible tragedy. I was in shock. … My heart goes out to the baby and to the family. … I am in support of finding whoever did this," she said.

Bakley, 45, married Blake last November after DNA tests proved he fathered their daughter. She was killed May 4 as she sat in Blake's car after the two ate dinner at an Italian restaurant in Los Angeles.

Blake told police they walked to the car together but he had to return to the restaurant to retrieve a gun he had left behind. He said he found Bakley dead when he returned to the car.

Los Angeles police have said they have not ruled out Blake as a suspect in the slaying. Blake denies he was the killer.

Braun has said many people may have a motive to kill Bakley and suggested her past activity as a scam artist may have led to her death.

Bakley's relatives — particularly her mother and sister — have said they are convinced Blake was behind the killing.

Blake and the baby daughter he had with Bakley, Rose, attended her funeral service last week while Bakley's relatives refused to attend, saying they didn't want to be involved in the actor's "publicity stunt."

ABC Affiliate KABC in Los Angeles contributed to this report.