Proving the Rumors Right, Joan Collins and Ron Kass Declare Their Troubled Marriage Ex-Rated

updated 01/31/1983 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 01/31/1983 AT 01:00 AM EST

In a quiet little separation this month, Dynasty's conniving Alexis Carrington, Joan Collins, and her third husband, producer Ron Kass, at last confirmed what Hollywood gossips have been bruiting for months: the cancellation of their 10-year marriage. Amicably, and with no divorce planned as yet, Kass, 47, moved out of their Coldwater Canyon house to a nearby hideaway, reportedly because of that old showbiz bugaboo known as "conflicting career demands." In fact, friends insist that Kass had been thrown by his 49-year-old wife's sudden emergence as America's No. 1 villainess, and that the couple had been living on borrowed connubial time. "It's not a case of another person," said one acquaintance. "The relationship has been on-again-off-again for some time."

In fact, the two had fought often and may have been held together mainly by their daughter, Katy, 10, who has now almost fully recovered from brain injuries suffered when she was hit by a car two and a half years ago. "I suspect that at the time of the accident, everything was dropped—Joan's career, marital problems and all," says a friend. "When Katy started getting better, things between them started falling apart again."

Kass, as it happens, is partly responsible for his wife's current success. He helped revive Collins' career in the late '70s by producing her commercially successful sexploitation films, The Stud and The Bitch. For Collins, the breakup ends the latest in a string of relationships that have included Nicky Hilton, Warren Beatty, Ryan O'Neal and (with benefit of marriage) actors Maxwell Reed and Anthony Newley, the father of her two other children, Tara, 19, and Sacha, 17. All liaisons are sizzlingly recounted in her autobiography, Past Imperfect. But intimates claim Collins' hard-edged image is misleading. "In spite of her facade of being in control," observes one, "she's a very vulnerable lady. I think all this has caused a lot more turmoil than she's letting on." Chimes in Dallas' Victoria Principal: "It makes me sad. I've known them since 1970, and I've always liked them individually and as a couple."

Although Collins insists that she and Kass remain "close friends," the end of her marriage is the first major blow since Katy's recovery and her own emergence as a star in prime time. "Coming to California was providential," Collins mused a year ago as she pointed heavenward. "It's all written up there, you see."

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