In 1964, Camille Olivia Hanks walked down the aisle at a Catholic church in Maryland and exchanged vows with a man she has stood by ever since.

Throughout those years, her commitment to Bill Cosby has been real. She raised a family with him, she supported his comedy career, and she came to call him a "wonderful husband, father and friend."

The two no doubt shared secrets — as all couples do.

But as women have accused the comedian of sexual assault spanning decades, Camille Cosby mostly remained quiet. Her few public comments were to support her husband and to urge others not to judge him.

"He is the man you thought you knew," she said in a statement in 2014, as her husband's reputation was under heavy attack. "A different man has been portrayed in the media over the last two months. It is the portrait of a man I do not know."

It's the couple's longtime marriage and the conversations they have shared within it that have pulled Camille Cosby into her husband's legal troubles. Their marital-rights became an issue when a federal judge in Massachusetts ordered her late last year to testify in a deposition in a defamation suit stemming from sexual-assault allegations.

Cosby arrived Monday morning at a hotel in Springfield, Mass., to answer questions under oath for the first since since her husband was accused in a string of sexual assaults. Her testimony came after weeks of legal wrangling — and just hours after a U.S. district judge denied her motion for a delay.

The attorney who was taking Monday's deposition, Joe Cammarata, told NBC News that Cosby should be required to answer his questions.

"Did he sleep around? What were his relationships?" he told the news station. "Did he make payments of money to other women?"

Indeed, Cosby's team tried several times to quash the deposition subpoena — which has presented a question: Does Camille Cosby have to disclose her private conversations with her husband?

Dozens of women have come forward with claims against Bill Cosby. Amid the accusations in late 2014, several women filed a civil suit against the entertainer, claiming that after they went public with their accusations — saying that he "drugged and/or sexually assaulted" them between 1969 and 1992 — he defamed them by calling them liars, according to an order from U.S. District Court in Massachusetts.

Cosby countersued, saying the "malicious, opportunistic, false and defamatory accusations" were merely a way to extort him and ruin his reputation.

Since then, the case has bounced back and forth, with claims and counter claims. But it wasn't until recently that Camille Cosby was dragged into it.

After she was first subpoenaed to testify at the deposition, her attorneys filed a motion to quash it — or to secure a protective order to limit the scope. Her argument? The Massachusetts spousal disqualification rule. According to the rule: "In any proceeding, civil or criminal, a witness shall not testify as to private conversations with a spouse occurring during their marriage."

Cosby's lawyers used the rule to argue that she has no firsthand knowledge about the events and, to the extent that she did, it would be through private discussions with her husband — which the state law would prohibit her from disclosing. Furthermore, her attorneys argued, such a testimony would cause her "undue burden."

Under the rule, Cosby would not have to discuss her private discussions with her husband, said Daniel Medwed, a law professor at Northeastern University School of Law. But, he said, many other questions would be fair game.

"Did you ever observe your husband engage in a sex act with someone else? Did you observe him with Quaaludes?" he said in January about potential questions, explaining that the lawyer for the women could ask Camille Cosby whether "she observed him with drugs or saw a prescription bottle or a hotel receipt."

Criminal defense lawyer Peter Elikann, a spokesman for the Massachusetts Bar Association, said last month that such rules were created to protect the privacy of marriage. Whereas the state's spousal disqualification rule applies only to private conversations between partners, the state's spousal privilege rule, which applies only in criminal cases, protects them from having to testify at all.

"The whole gist of these rules — why they came in the first place — was because the government has an interest in promoting families," he said. "One shouldn't be forced to publicly denounce or give injurious information about their loved ones."

Indeed, that was Camille Cosby's defense; however, one judge had a different interpretation.

U.S. Magistrate Judge David Hennessey in Massachusetts issued an order late last year ruling that her attorney's claim that the couple's conversations were protected had "no merit," saying the rule applied only to trial testimony, not depositions.

"Although Mrs. Cosby is correct that 'the rule does not distinguish between testimony in deposition and testimony at trial,'" Hennessey wrote, "the rule's underlying character — i.e. competence, not privilege — concerns admissibility of evidence at trial, and not a privilege against discovery. … She has offered no authority suggesting, let alone establishing, that the spousal disqualification rule may foreclose her deposition."

Cammarata, the women's attorney, said Camille Cosby's testimony was crucial to the case.

"She has important information as his business manager and, of course, as his wife of 52 years," he said last month. "We hope to learn information that is relevant to the claims which are an issue in this case, including Mr. Cosby's relationship with other women."

Attorneys for Bill and Camille Cosby filed an emergency motion to stay her deposition — and a judge granted it, explaining that a denial would cause "irreparable injury" to Camille Cosby if she were forced to testify under oath.

Then earlier this month, U.S. District Judge Mark Mastroianni upheld Hennessey's December ruling that she must be deposed but added that she would not be forced to answer questions about the couple's marital conversations.

On Sunday, Mastroianni denied her request to delay her deposition.

Although some legal experts said Hennessey's original rule seemed sound, it created a "buzz" in the academic community, as many were confused by it.

"The decision is somewhat perplexing in its application of Massachusetts law because the disqualification of private conversations between spouses during their marriage is quite well established in Massachusetts law by statute and case law," Mark Brodin, a professor at Boston College Law School, said last month. "And to rule that that disqualification — if it applies at all — applies only to trial testimony and not deposition testimony, strikes me as significantly undercutting the purpose of the statute — to protect the privacy of spousal conversations."

He added: "Once it's out, it's out."

Experts agreed that Camille Cosby's disqualification argument would hold up for a trial, though opinions seemed to differ on whether it applies to depositions.

"This is discovery," Elikann, the criminal defense lawyer, said after the original ruling. "They're simply trying to gather information in advance, which is not as protected."

The case was brought in Massachusetts in part because Bill Cosby lives there.

[This story, originally published Jan. 8, has been updated.]

Bill Cosby criminal sexual assault case will go to trial

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Bill Cosby arrives for a pretrial hearing in his sexual assault case at the Montgomery County Courthouse in Norristown, Pa., Tuesday, Sept. 6, 2016. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

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