Ellen says she was terrorized by Neil for years, and found there was little she could do to feel safe. "Early on when he burst into my house and raped me, I called the police," she says. "When I told the police that it was my husband, [they] said no crime had been committed. He had a perfect right to do that because we were still married."
Later, when she was starring opposite Charles Grodin in the stage version of Same Time, Next Year on Broadway, Ellen says she was so scared of Neil that she had to hire bodyguards. Yet she and her co-star were still on edge. "We were on stage and in the matinee looking at each other. Suddenly I heard from the top balcony, 'Ellen!' And Charles and I both knew that it was Neil," she says. "We were both terrified. ... I thought that was going to be the end of the story—that eventually he would kill me."
In 1978, Neil killed himself. Though they hadn't been together for years, Ellen says this was one of the most difficult times in her life. "It was because so many things coincided—he went crazy right as I started to get work and he was an actor who didn't get work," she says. "It seemed like somehow my success had caused his insanity. I knew better because he was ... doing a lot of things he shouldn't have been doing for his own health, but [I still felt] the deep subconscious feeling."