Prosecutors probe apparent suicide of Emmanuelle Debever, actor who accused Gerard Depardieu of sexual assault

This story discusses suicide. If you or someone you know is in crisis, call 988 to reach the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline. You can also call the network, previously known as the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, at 800-273-8255, text HOME to 741741 or visit for additional resources.

Emmanuelle Debever, the first actor to have accused Gerard Depardieu of sexual assault, died in an apparent suicide after jumping from a bridge into the Seine river in Paris.

Her death was announced in the media on Dec. 7, the day that a bombshell investigative documentary about Depardieu aired on French broadcaster France 2.

An investigation has been opened by Paris’ prosecutors to determine the causes of Debever’s death, Variety has confirmed. In a statement sent to Variety, the Paris prosecutor’s office said, “Debever was reported missing by her partner on Nov. 29 after leaving their home with a worrying note … The police was later alerted about a woman who jumped from a bridge into the Seine … She was found by paramedics who revived her and brought her to the hospital.”

The exact date of Debever’s death has not been revealed, but the prosecutor’s office says it was “announced by the media on Dec. 7.”

“In light of the fact that the actress had complained about sexual misconduct by Gerard Depardieu, notably in a Facebook post in 2019, a probe into the causes of death was opened,” the prosecutor’s office said. “This probe will gather and verify the cues mentioned by the media and search the circumstances that may have led to this death.”

Debever spoke about her traumatic experience working with Depardieu in the France 2 documentary, titled “Gerard Depardieu: la chute d’un ogre” (“Gerard Depardieu: The Fall of the Ogre”).

She accused Depardieu of assaulting her at the age of 19 during the filming of Andrzej Wajda’s 1982 period drama “Danton.” She had previously shared her testimony on her Facebook account, saying that Depardieu “allowed himself to do many things during this shoot… Taking advantage of the intimacy shared inside a carriage. Sliding his fat paw under my skirt to feel me better. I didn’t let it happen.”

Another French actor who spoke in the documentary, Hélène Darras, has filed a police complaint alleging that Depardieu sexually assaulted her during the filming of “Disco” in 2007. In the documentary, Darras, who was 26 at the time of the alleged assault, said Depardieu “grabbed [her] by the waist” and had a “wandering hand.” She said he put “his hand on [her] bum in an insistent way” and suggested they go to his dressing room. Although Darras rejected his alleged advances, she said he “kept groping [her] between takes.”

Darras was part of the 13 women who shared their testimonies in an investigative report published by Mediapart in April.

Depardieu’s legal representation, which was taken over from Cabinet Temime and is now handled by Christian Jean-Palais, told Variety they had “no comment” to give about the new complaint.

In October, Depardieu published an open letter in the French newspaper Le Figaro that said, “I want to tell you the truth. I have never, ever abused a woman.”

Depardieu was indicted on Dec. 16, 2020 regarding allegations of rape and sexual assault tied to a 2018 lawsuit filed by actor Charlotte Arnould. The case was previously dropped in 2019 following a lack of evidence, but was reopened in 2020 and criminal charges were filed in December. No custodial measures have been taken against the actor.


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