Bill Cosby: Camille Cosby defends husband against sex claims

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Bill and Camille CosbyImage source, AP
Image caption,
The couple, who meet in Washington DC in 1963 and married a year later, have five children

Camille Cosby has spoken for the first time to defend her "wonderful husband" against claims of sexual assault.

Bill Cosby, who was considered a national treasure in the US for his role in The Cosby Show, has been accused of more than 15 cases of abuse.

"He is the man you thought you knew," Mrs Cosby said in a statement.

Mrs Cosby, who has been married to the comedian for 50 years, said she continued to love the man she "fell in love with".

She suggested the media's portrayal of Cosby was a "portrait" of a man she "didn't know".

"None of us will ever want to be in the position of attacking a victim," she said. "But the question should be asked - who is the victim?"

The 77-year-old actor recently praised his wife for her "strength" in standing by him.

Cosby is being investigated by police for allegations of sexual battery by a woman who says he forced her to perform a sex act when she was 15.

He has never been charged in connection with any of the accusations, and his lawyers deny many of the claims.

Mrs Cosby, who has not spoken out publicly against the claims until now, said the stories had not been vetted properly by the media.

She compared the treatment of her husband to a Rolling Stone article about a rape at the University of Virginia which the publication later admitted may have contained inconsistencies.

"Many in the media were quick to link that story to stories about my husband - until that story unwound," she said.

The magazine, which has faced widespread criticism for its account of the alleged gang rape of a student named Jackie, has apologised for the report.

Mrs Cosby said her husband's accusers had been "given a pass" by the media. "An accusation is published, and immediately goes viral," she said.

Noting she married Cosby in 1964 - a year after they met - she said: "He is a kind man, a generous man, a funny man, and a wonderful husband."

The actor has never been charged with a crime but the accusations have led to his stand-up tour being called off and the cancellation of a number of TV projects.

Spelman College in Atlanta, recently announced it had also suspended its endowed professorship with Cosby.