If someone is asked to describe actress Christina Ricci, they tend to describe a child dressed in black with long, dark braids and a scowl on her face. That’s because she was Wednesday Addams in the 1991 movie “The Addams Family” and the 1993 movie “The Addams Family Values.”
Unlike other child actors, Christina has continued working in the film industry, transitioning from precocious youngster types in “The Cemetery Club” (1993) and “Casper” (1995) to adult roles on the big screen and TV, including “Prozac Nation” (2001), “Monster” (2003), “Black Snake Moan” (2006), “Pan Am” (2011-2012), “Escaping The Madhouse: The Nellie Bly Story” (2019), “The Matrix Resurrections” (2021) and “Yellowjackets” (2021-2022), to mention just a few.
Despite being just 42 years old, Christina has a professional life filled with industry accolades, including 38 nominations and 21 wins.
But there is another side to the 5’ tall actress who made her screen debut at the age of 9 in “Mermaids.” Her family life was not the norm. For instance, her father’s primal scream therapy practice that took place in the family’s home would result in Christina hearing the screaming coming through the vents in her room. Eventually her parents divorced when she was 13 years old, and she lost touch with her father.
Years later Christina faced her own marital problems when she filed for divorce from her husband of seven years, James Heerdegen. To say the least it was a contentious split, starting with Heerdegen allegedly “brutally attacking” her on December 16, 2019. Months later, she told him that she wanted a divorce, at just about the same time the pandemic had put the world in a lock-down situation. She claimed that her husband “focused solely on punishing and terrorizing me 24 hours a day. I was afraid to sleep at night.”
The abuse resulted in her calling 911 and filing for divorce in July 2020, with the judge granting a restraining order requiring Heerdegen to “stay at least 100 yards away from Christina, their son Freddie and the family dog.”
And, of course, the divorce was made even more painful by being battled out in the entertainment media.
But eventually the divorce was finalized, with Christina emerging as an advocate for those suffering from domestic violence.
To support The Family Place’s mission of “empowering survivors of family violence by providing safe housing, counseling and skills that create independence,” 2022 Trailblazers Awards Luncheon Co-Chairs Jeannie Barsam, Stacee Johnson-Williams and Lisa Sherrod have arranged for Christina to be the keynote speaker at The Family Place fundraiser on Friday, September 23, at the Omni Dallas Hotel.
According to The Family Place CEO Mimi Crume Sterling, “We are ecstatic to have Christina Ricci join us this year for our Texas Trailblazer Awards. Christina has been a trailblazer in Hollywood through her stellar career while advocating to stop family violence.”
Sponsorships and tickets are available here.
* Graphic/photo provided by The Family Place