Nicollette Sheridan broke down in tears as she listened to her lawyer's opening statement on the first day of the wrongful termination trial which pits her against Desperate Housewives creator Marc Cherry.
Sheridan filed a $20 million (£12.5 million) lawsuit against Cherry in 2010, alleging he slapped her in the face after she expressed an opinion about one of his scripts, and then killed off her character when she complained to producers.
She is seeking compensation for wrongful termination and battery, and the trial got underway in Los Angeles on Wednesday.
Sheridan cried and wiped her eyes with a handkerchief as she heard her attorney Mark Baute tell the jury, "Ms. Sheridan is taking this on alone in a town where nobody takes on a television network."
He then detailed the alleged attack, saying Cherry "hit Ms. Sheridan hard" during an argument in September 2008, and the actress lost "the most lucrative job of her career" as a consequence of the altercation.
A lawyer for Cherry, who denies hitting the actress, also spoke to the jury, insisting the character of Edie Britt was killed off after her story ran its course.
Attorney Adam Levin said, "For a television show to last more than a few episodes, writers must continue to shock and surprise the audience who is wanting more. People die a lot on TV, which can lead to water-cooler talk and media exposure."
After the first day came to a close, Baute insisted his client was not acting when she became upset in the courtroom saying, "She was not acting. She clearly was shaken up."
Sheridan is expected to take the stand on Thursday (01Mar12), while her former co-stars Marcia Cross, Eva Longoria, Felicity Huffman and James Denton are also on the witness list.
The trial continues.