French actor Gérard Depardieu has been charged with rape — two years after he was accused of sexually assaulting a 22-year-old actress in his Paris home.
An initial probe into the rape allegations against the 72-year-old actor was dropped for lack of evidence but later reopened, leading to criminal charges filed in December, a judicial source told AFP on Tuesday, February 23.
The investigation was reopened after the unidentified woman re-filed her complaint, according to The Guardian, which under French law almost always leads to a case being examined by an investigating magistrate.
According to French newspaper Le Parisien, Depardieu’s accuser is an aspiring young actress who was studying theater under the French actor. She claims Depardieu raped her on August 6 and August 13 of 2018.
A source told AFP that Depardieu is a friend of his accuser's family. The alleged attack reportedly occurred at the star's home, as the two were rehearsing a scene of a play. The source stressed that “there was nothing professional about the encounter” when detailing the shocking claims.
Depardieu, who earned an Oscar nomination in 1991 for his role in Cyrano de Bergerac, has denied the allegations. His lawyer, Herve Temime, said Depardieu remains free but under judicial supervision and “completely rejects the accusations.”
The victim's lawyer, Elodie Tuaillon-Hibon, said she hopes her client’s “private sphere will be respected” as the case is investigated.
Depardieu, who holds both French and Russian citizenship, is one of France’s most recognizable stars. American audiences know him from his appearances in films Green Card and The Man in the Iron Mask, which stars John Malkovich and a young Leonardo DiCaprio.