Phylicia Rashad Defends Former Costar Bill Cosby Against Accusers: "Forget These Women"

Bill Cosby and Phylicia Rashad appear on NBC News' "Today" show in 2013 Credit: Peter Kramer/NBC/NBC

Mrs. Huxtable speaks. Veteran actress Phylicia Rashad, who played Clair Hanks Huxtable opposite Bill Cosby's Dr. Heathcliff Huxtable for eight years on The Cosby Show, finally weighed in on the disgraced star's ongoing sexual abuse scandal, and stood by her former costar despite the scores of allegations made against him. 

Rashad, 66, had stayed quiet on the issue for months, but added her two cents to Roger Friedman's Showbiz 411 on Tuesday, Jan. 6. Asked by Friedman about her former TV husband, Rashad reportedly gave her thoughts trepidatiously. 

"Forget these women," the Do No Harm actress said of the 20-plus women who have come forward with accusations of sexual assault. "What you’re seeing is the destruction of a legacy. I think it’s orchestrated. I don't know why or who's doing it, but it's the legacy. And it's a legacy that is so important to the culture."

"This show represented America to the outside world," she added of The Cosby Show. "This was the American family. And now you're seeing it being destroyed. Why?"

Rashad, who appeared alongside Cosby on The Cosby Show and the subsequent Cosby for a total of 12 years, expressed that she still thinks highly of the comedian and actor, as well as his wife of 50 years, Camille Cosby

"I love him," she told Friedman of Cosby, adding of Camille, "This is a tough woman, a smart woman. She’s no pushover." 

Rashad's words follow those of another Cosby Show star. Keshia Knight Pulliam, who played Rudy Huxtable on the family sitcom, said more cautiously of the scandal on Monday, Jan. 5, "Whoever is involved, those are the people who were there. I wasn't there. I can only speak to the great man that I know and that I love, who has been so generous, who has been such a philanthropist and giving back millions of dollars to education and to schools... and just the man I grew up knowing."