Joan Collins became well-known in the ’80s for her portrayal of a rich socialite willing to scratch out the eyes of anyone who got in her way, and at the time she seemed to be the epitome of a glamorous Hollywood star. But no one knew the dark secret she carried from the time she was 17 years old, a secret she recently revealed for the sake of a documentary about assault victim Linor Abargil.
Collins says that the year before she married her first husband, Maxwell Reed, he slipped a drug into her drink and proceeded to rape her while she was unconscious. The shame and fear she felt led to her following through with the marriage, especially after her father encouraged her despite her reluctance on the night before the ceremony, believing she just had cold feet.
“The bottom line is that he called me, and I went out with him again. And after I’d been going out with him for a few months, he asked me to marry him. And I thought, ‘Well I better because you know, he took my virginity.’ I really hated him, but I was so filled with guilt, that he had done this thing to me,” she said.
Abargil, a beauty queen who won the title of Miss World in 1998, was violently raped and beaten just six weeks before the pageant. She says that Collins’ willingness to open up about her own traumatic experience was not only helpful to her, but to other victims who have lived with a secret.
“When she found out about the film, she decided she would help us. It’s not something any of us want to do – to go on camera and talk about having been raped. But when you know that speaking up can give others the courage to come forward and press charges, and how many others will be saved by putting a rapist in prison, you want to do it,” she said.
Collins moved on from her attack and eventually married four more times. The 81-year old is currently set to put on a one-woman show in Vegas, where she’ll talk about her life and the roles she played over the years.
“The show is about my life, with humor and amusement and anecdotes. While I talk about it and the people who I’ve worked with, behind me there is a screen, with projected photographs, clips from movies, outtakes from “Dynasty” and films from my two court cases. I had two quite famous court cases over my books in a battle with publishers, so there’s a lot of newsreel footage from them. Generally, it’s just a whole montage of something going on all the time in the background,” she said.