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Nicollette Sheridan Speaks: "I Needed Protection"

Nicollette Sheridan Polk Imaging/Getty Images

The offscreen drama at Wisteria Lane is getting uglier by the minute.

A day after filing a $20 million lawsuit against ABC and Desperate Housewives mastermind Marc Cherry for assault and wrongful termination (and in the case of her character, Edie Britt, wrongful TV death), Nicollette Sheridan is now explaining her motivation.

In a statement just released by her attorneys, the 44-year-old actress labeled herself a "model employee" and called Cherry's alleged bad behavior "nothing short of abusive and appalling."

"The lawsuit is not something Nicollette wanted to do, it's something she felt compelled to do," the statement reads. "Nicollette asked ABC for help and protection from Mr. Cherry's abusive behavior, and ultimately, ABC was not willing or able to provide that protection."

It continues: "Sometimes the only way that a safe and normal work environment can be created is when a hard-working person like Nicollette stands up for herself and her rights, and in doing so help protect others who have had to work in a hostile environment.

"We expect the case to be hard fought, and it will not be a surprise if ABC and Mr. Cherry try to depict Nicollette to be something other than a team player and long-standing industry professional."

ABC and Cherry, meanwhile, are standing by their earlier remarks: "While we have yet to see the actual complaint, we investigated similar claims made by Ms. Sheridan last year and found them to be without merit."

This is getting juicier by the moment...and it isn't even May sweeps yet.

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Want more on this nasty Housewives spat? Ted Casablanca has juicy Desperate scoop you can't find anywhere else in The Awful Truth.

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