Rita Moreno recalls Marlon Brando’s mistreatment of her during their relationship: ‘I tried to end my life’

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Rita Moreno recalls Marlon Brando’s mistreatment of her during their relationship: ‘I tried to end my life’

Rita Moreno is opening up about how her nearly eight-year relationship with Marlon Brando turned toxic.The 90-year-old "West Side Story" actress an

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Rita Moreno is opening up about how her nearly eight-year relationship with Marlon Brando turned toxic.

The 90-year-old “West Side Story” actress and the late actor reportedly met in 1954 on the set of “Désirée.” She was 22 years old.

“Ultimately, it was exciting to be with Marlon. Oh, my God, it was exciting. He was extraordinary in many, many ways, but he was a bad guy. He was a bad guy when it came to women. I was such a different person then. I had all the makings of a doormat,” Moreno said, speaking to Jessica Chastain for Variety’s “Actors on Actors” virtual chat.

Moreno said during their relationship, she’d catch Brando in lies.

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Actress Rita Moreno arrives at screening of Steven Spielberg’s West Side Story at The Castro Theatre on December 12, 2021 in San Francisco, California. 

Actress Rita Moreno arrives at screening of Steven Spielberg’s West Side Story at The Castro Theatre on December 12, 2021 in San Francisco, California. 
(Miikka Skaffari)

“So whenever he lied, I would look at him and I’d say, ‘Marlon, look at me.’ And he’d start to grin this kind of — I don’t want to use the bad word — that poop-eating grin. I could read him like a book and that’s why he loved me, and that’s why he mistreated me in so many ways,” she said.

Moreno said Brando’s “mistreatment” of her led her to attempt suicide.

“I tried to end my life with pills in his house. That’s how I tried to do it. I didn’t understand that if I was going to kill this pathetic, sad, trod-upon Rita, the rest of Rita was also going to go with me,” she recalled.. “I really didn’t seem to understand that. But that’s what the attempt was. It was an attempt.”

The EGOT winner said a few years later they’d reunite for filming of 1969’s “The Night of the Following Day.” She was a married mother of one when Brando tried to revitalize their past.

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“What’s interesting is that he wanted to renew. I was now married. I had a beautiful child, Fernanda. He was ready to have a go again. I didn’t want that. But he did. He lost a big part of himself, I think. The good part of him, the good Marlon that Rita loved. It was very complicated. Really, really complicated,” she told Chastain.

The Night Of The Following Day, lobbycard, Rita Moreno, Marlon Brando, 1968. 

The Night Of The Following Day, lobbycard, Rita Moreno, Marlon Brando, 1968. 
(LMPC  via Getty Images)

Moreno added: “I seem to feel on a very primitive level that anybody who is always ready with a quip, who’s really genuinely witty and funny, can take care of me. They can look after me. That’s how I see humor in a man. I mean, that’s so cuckoo. Isn’t that cuckoo?”

Brando died in 2004 at age 80.

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The two stars wrapped their conversation by replaying a funny memory of running into each other at a restaurant. That’s when Moreno recalled telling Chastain that she adored her, and her bust.

Jessica Chastain and Rita Moreno bonded in a recent interview, with the EGOT winner suggesting they meet for dinner or lunch one day.

Jessica Chastain and Rita Moreno bonded in a recent interview, with the EGOT winner suggesting they meet for dinner or lunch one day.
(Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic | Massimo Insabato/Archivio Massimo Insabato/Mondadori Portfolio )

“I want to remind you that when we first met, I stopped you in that restaurant — I was with a friend, and you were waiting for a table. And you were leaving, and I said, ‘Oh, I love you.’ I think you said, ‘I love you too.’ I remember saying, ‘Really?’ But more than that, as you were leaving, I said, ‘I love your breasts.’ Do you remember that?” Moreno asked the “Zero Dark Thirty” actress.

“I must have thought you said, ‘I love your dress,’” an entertained Chastain replied. “My life is made.”

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