Both actors earned their first Oscars for taking on the roles of husband and wife, Ted and Joanna Kramer, who find themselves in a heated custody battle over their son, Billy (Justin Henry), after filing for divorce.
In an interview with The New York Times, the 68-year-old actress admits that Hoffman slapped her while filming one of the more emotional scenes in the movie.
"This is tricky because when you’re an actor, you’re in a scene, you have to feel free. I’m sure that I have inadvertently hurt people in physical scenes, but there’s a certain amount of forgiveness in that," she says. "But this was my first movie, and it was my first take in my first movie, and he just slapped me. And you see it in the movie. It was overstepping."
Streep adds, "But I think those things are being corrected in this moment. And they’re not politically corrected; they’re fixed. They will be fixed, because people won’t accept it anymore. So that’s a good thing."
In 2016, Michael Schulman released the unauthorized biography, Her Again: Becoming Meryl Streep, where eyewitnesses allege that on the second day of shooting the opening scene of Kramer vs. Kramer -- when Ted (Hoffman) follows a crying Joanna (Streep) into the hallway -- Hoffman "shocked" everyone on set when he "slapped [Streep] hard across the cheek, leaving a red mark."
Director Robert Benton told Schulman that he immediately thought the movie was "dead," and that Streep would "bring us up with the Screen Actors Guild." According to the book, the actress continued to act out the scene, but Hoffman started to taunt his co-star off camera.
However, Benton says Hoffman's alleged tactics did not faze Streep. "This picture started out belonging to Ted Kramer, and by the end it belonged to both of them," he notes in the book. "And there was no way Hoffman could shake her. No way he could do anything to shake her. She was just there, and she was an incredible force."
"He came up to me and said, 'I’m Dustin -- burp -- Hoffman,’ and he put his hand on my breast. 'What an obnoxious pig,' I thought," she told Time of their first meeting.
After multiple news outlets called out the decades-old quote, Streep's rep released a statement to ET, saying that the Time piece was not an "accurate rendering of that meeting."
Streep's rep added, "There was an offense and it is something for which Dustin apologized, and Meryl accepted that."
Last year, Hoffman was accused by several women of sexual misconduct, including exposing himself to a minor. The 80-year-old actor's attorney, Mark A. Neubauer, called the allegations “defamatory falsehoods.”