Nothing has more tainted Dickens’s reputation than his public repudiation (via an advertisement in the Times) of his wife, Kate, who had borne him 10 children and suffered all his demands for 22 years. Wilson’s house, he tells us, overlooks the back garden of 70 Gloucester Crescent, Camden Town, whence Catherine Dickens was exiled, with the company of only one of her children, Charley, their eldest son. The others were forbidden to see her. We have found out recently that Dickens tried to have her certified insane, so that she would be put in an asylum. Not only did he want to be free to pursue an affair with Nelly Ternan, he wanted somehow to declare that it was all his blameless wife’s fault. He was the wounded party.
From The Guardian.
I also have it on good authority that Leo Tolstoy was also a brilliant writer and a horrible husband. Ditto Percy Shelly. Likewise, Patrick Henry kept his wife in the basement and tried to have her committed.