Robert Blake Says He Loved Wife
BURBANK, Calif. – Robert Blake (search) on Thursday gave jurors in his civil trial (search) contradictory portraits of his relationship with his wife, vowing he loved her while saying she once offered him her teenage daughter for sex.
In a stream of consciousness account prompted by his lawyer's questioning, Blake said he wanted to give Bonny Lee Bakley (search) a good life but conceded she sometimes infuriated him.
"I loved Bonny and always prayed to God to get a little light in there," he said. "Once her dream came true of not having to work for a living and not having to fight for the celebrity world, I thought a lot of her life would fall off as baggage."
Bakley, 44, was shot to death in May 2001 as she sat in the actor's car outside a restaurant where they had dinner. The star of the 1970s "Baretta" TV show was acquitted of murder earlier this year after a criminal trial. He did not testify during that case.
Blake, 72, said he knew Bakley ran a business trying to entice men to send her money with promises of sex, and that he was aware some of her family members were convicted felons. But he said he was fascinated with her nonetheless.
"Bonny talked all the time. All you had to do was say hello," Blake testified. "Bonny was extremely intelligent. I would guess her IQ at 150. She was resourceful, cunning, charming. She could charm the eyes off a rattlesnake."
Blake's lawyer, Peter Ezzell, focused on Blake's motives for becoming involved with Bakley in the first place.
"Did you try to convince her to abort the child?" Ezzell asked of the time when Blake learned Bakley was pregnant.
"Yes," Blake said. "I was terrified. I was an old man and here was a woman who had offered me her (teenage) daughter. She was not much of a mother, and I couldn't see anything good coming out of it."
Blake said he offered Bakley a quarter of a million dollars to abort the baby, but she told him "there was not enough money in the world. That wasn't going to happen."
He recalled a meeting with Bakley at a hotel near his home and said she raised the possibility of his having sex with her daughter, Holly, then a teenager.
The woman is now one of the plaintiffs suing Blake for the wrongful death of her mother.
He said Bakley, with her daughter in the room, said to him, "'You probably think she's a lot prettier than me.'"
The girl left the room, and Bakley said, "'You know you really could have sex with her. She's the right age,'" Blake testified.
He said he didn't know if Bakley was serious and dropped the subject.
Ezzell asked why Blake would marry a woman who made such statements.
"When Rosie was 2 weeks old, I promised God," he said. "Rosie had changed my life, and Bonny had given me Rosie. It would be my pleasure to give her a good life."
At the outset of his questions, Ezzell asked Blake if he had hired anyone to shoot Bakley.
"No," Blake said.
"Did you shoot Bonny Bakley?" the lawyer asked.
"No," Blake answered.