Comedy stars Lenny Henry and Dawn French have split after 25-years. Henry, who aged 17 was discovered on ATV Network’s New Faces talent show, met French in 1981 at a comedy club. They were married at St Paul’s Church in Covent Garden in October 1984.
The pair had to fight back from claims of an affair in 1999 when an ‘attractive blonde’ was said to have spent the night with Henry in a York hotel room. The ‘other woman’ however revealed all to The Mirror: “I completely misread the situation. When he realised he was alone with a piece of blonde fluff who clearly fancied him, he wanted me out of there… He was the most married man I have ever met. I might as well have had a crush on Jesus Christ.”
The couple also had to deal with racial abuse, which saw damage to their home with chilling threats. Ultimately the pair relocated and adopted a daughter, Billie.
In a join statement the couple said that they were “sad to announce they have decided to separate after 25 years of marriage. They made the decision last October and since then have been living together in constant, open and honest discussion. The separation is entirely amicable and they fully intend to maintain their close friendship. Their priority is to commit to the future joint parenting of their daughter.”
Dawn French with comedy partner Jennifer Saunders first teamed up in 1980 – working comedy clubs. Later television guest spots on Tyne Tees’ music show The Tube – broadcast nationwide on Channel 4 gave them much-needed exposure. They landed their own series on BBC One in 1987. Lenny Henry switched from ATV to the BBC in 1984, where his own sketch show ran for a decade. Both Lenny and Dawn have played key roles in the success of the charity fundraiser and telethon Comic Relief.