Dame Joan Collins has opened up about the traumatic day she had an abortion.
The 90-year-old actress writes about the "horrifying" procedure, which she had after discovering she was pregnant at the age of 26 with her then-fiance Warren Beatty's baby, in her upcoming memoir 'Behind The Shoulder Pads'.
She writes, in an extract obtained by the Daily Mail newspaper: "A long time ago I had an abortion. I was living with my then fiance Warren Beatty, at the time a young, unknown actor. Even though I was careful, I fell pregnant.
"'I think I'm pregnant,' I said, coming into the kitchen one day, where he was preparing one of his health concoctions in the blender.
"He stopped slicing bananas and pouring wheatgerm, took off his glasses and stared at me. Without his glasses he was quite myopic and I wondered why he didn't want to look at me. 'Pregnant?' he asked in his puzzled little boy voice. 'How did that happen?'
"'The butler did it,' I said sarcastically. 'Or maybe it's an immaculate conception.' 'This is terrible,' he said, putting his glasses back on and looking at me as if for the first time. 'Terrible!'
"'I know,' I said in a small voice. 'I'm sorry.' But why was I sorry? He was just as complicit.
"We sat on the faded red sofa in the living room of the apartment I had rented in New York. I had a stiff vodka, he had his health drink and we discussed what to do.
"Abortion was a dirty word in the early 1960s. In fact, so was sex.
"Even living together as Warren and I did was considered sinful."
Although they were engaged, Joan did not want a "shotgun" wedding and she feared having a baby would be "career suicide".
She writes: "Warren and I were engaged, so we could get married, of course, but I was not in favour of 'shotgun' weddings. The few times we had discussed marriage we had both decided that we were too immature to make it work.
"He was only 23, a struggling wannabe actor with a potentially great career as a sex symbol ahead of him if the future movies he was angling for came to fruition.
"As a successful 26-year-old actress under contract to 20th Century Fox, having a baby out of wedlock would have been for me career suicide.
"With the eyes of the gossip columnists on us, nagging in print for us to 'tie the knot', it would have been an impossibility. So, I dried my tears, putting his ambition and my career first, and mooched about until it was time to drive to New Jersey.
"[After the abortion] I didn't want to think about what had happened last night. It was too vivid and too painful.
"But the next day I felt much better and full of energy again. I pushed the horrifying abortion out of my head. Done. Over. Forgotten."