Nicole Eggert broke her silence regarding accusations she made on social media against her former Charles in Charge cast mate, Scott Baio.
On Saturday, the actress referred to inappropriate behavior allegedly committed when she was “a minor.” But appearing on NBC News’ Megyn Kelly TODAY, Eggert stated an incident occurred at Baio’s house when she was 14 years old that led to years of “sexual touching and abuse.”
“He immediately took to me and befriended me and earned my trust, and then he started expressing his love for me and… talking about marriage in the future,” Eggert said of when she first started working with Baio on Charles in Charge in September of 1986. “And then I was still 14, before my 15th birthday, we were at his house in his car in his garage, and he reached over and he penetrated me with his finger, and that is when the sexual touching and abuse started after that.”
A rep for Baio did not immediately respond to EW’s request for comment, but the actor released a 16-minute-long video through Facebook Live refuting Eggert’s claims following her now-deleted tweets. “Nicole is making up these claims about me,” he said, claiming they had a consensual sexual relationship when she was an adult “way, way after Charles in Charge was off the air.”
“I remember her calling me and asking to come over and coming in my house one time and seducing me,” Baio said. “Now [with] any normal, heterosexual, red-blooded American guy, the outcome would’ve been the same.”
Eggert states she was 17 when they first had sexual intercourse — something she also said in a 2013 interview with Nik Richie Radio that was posted on Wetpaint at the time. (Links to the original interview turn up a “Page Not Found” error.) She says it was an “upsetting” experience that occurred at her own home with a lot of “manipulation” on the part of Baio.
Richie has since released a statement to Megyn Kelly TODAY, stating, “I remember the day Nicole Eggert did the radio interview with me about Scott Baio. Nicole was distraught after the interview, and off air she was an emotional wreck. She told me it was much worse than she described on air. She said, ‘He molested me as a child, and I didn’t know any better.'”
Alex Polinsky, another former cast member on Charles In Charge, told NBC he witnessed “inappropriate cuddling” between Eggert and Baio on set, according to Kelly.
“I was very young, and it was shocking, a little,” Eggert told Kelly of the alleged abuse. “I had never experienced anything like that before either. So he was playing on not only my emotions, but my hormones and all of those things. And the issue with him is that he was our boss and he was also telling me, ‘You can’t tell anybody,’ ‘This is illegal,’ ‘I’ll go to jail,’ ‘The show will be over,’ ‘Everyone will be sued,’ ‘You will be out of a job,’ and ‘You will ruin everybody’s life.’ And it’s scary. That’s intimidating, especially when you’re that young.”
This kind of behavior, she claimed, occurred “more than 10 times, more like probably once a week” through the age of 16.
“And then on set,” she added, “there was just a lot of groping, a lot of fondling, a lot of pulling me on his lap, trying to sneak kisses in the back, which other cast members saw.”
According to Eggert, she only realized “this is not love” as she got older. She didn’t feel comfortable speaking about it because the friends she confided in “didn’t have a good reaction to it.”
“What my truth is, is that I wasn’t ready to tell my story, and for me, it was always protecting the show and protecting that whole legacy that nothing happened there,” Eggert said. “That was my delusion and that was my coverup always. And that’s not the first time I covered it up. I always lied about it because I didn’t want anybody to know.”
In the past, Eggert has made statements about wanting to work with Baio, who pointed out during his Facebook Live video that she appeared on his reality show Scott Baio Is 45…and Single.
“The reality show was about him having therapy for womanizing. That’s what people don’t understand,” Eggert told Kelly. “I went on there to call him out on some of the women he mistreated on our set. That’s what that appearance was about. So, yeah, I appeared on it, but it wasn’t a positive, ‘Oh, let’s go have ice cream.’ It was about his womanizing.”
Eggert said she “got really good at covering up” her pain when discussing Baio in past interviews.
“If I could go back to a younger Nicole, I would tell her that she doesn’t have to be ashamed that she’s a victim,” she said. “Shame plays such a weird part and such a strong voice that you lie, and I didn’t want anybody to look at me and think I was weak. I didn’t want anybody to look at me and think, ‘Oh, victim.'” By speaking with other women who have suffered abuse or harassment, Eggert said she realized “that it’s not gross and that it’s not embarrassing.”
Watch Part 1 and Part 2 of Kelly’s interview with Eggert and lawyer Lisa Bloom above.