As the former couple make a welcome return for Comic Relief’s Red Nose Day, we look back at Lenny Henry and Dawn French’s relationship — from the fun times to their heartbreaking breakup
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Comedy duo Lenny Henry and Dawn French are back on our screens on Friday night as they team up for Comic Relief, and fans couldn’t be happier.
Always good for a laugh, the popular couple are considered to be two of Britain’s funniest comedians.
But things haven’t always gone smoothly for the couple, who shocked fans with their shock breakup after 25 years of marriage.
As they make us smile again, we look back at the highs and lows of the comedians’ time together and what led to them going their separate ways.
meeting of thoughts
Lenny, 63, met Dawn, 64, when they were both members of Comic Strip in 1980.
With its irreverent skits, the alternative comedy show launched both her careers and those of Jennifer Saunders and her husband Adrian Edmondson.
Dawn encouraged Lenny to switch to alternative comedy, where he built a career as a stand-up performer and character comedian.
After enjoying each other’s company while bewitching with their comedy buddies, the couple decided to make it official and wed in London’s Covent Garden in 1984.
extension of their family
Dawn and Lenny adopted their daughter Billie when she was two weeks old.
Before welcoming the little girl, the couple tried to have children naturally, but to no avail.
said Dawn Sunday Telegraph : “I had grief for a while. I’ve had miscarriages, so I’ve had grief over them too.
“But the moment Billie arrived, that was it for me. She fulfills everything I needed as a mother.”
The proud parents gushed over their daughter, with the The Vicar of Dibley star calling Billie “the greatest achievement” of her life.
After 25 years of marriage, Dawn and Lenny divorced in 2010 because of his “unreasonable behavior.”
The statement issued on behalf of the couple read: “The split is fully amicable and they firmly intend to maintain their close friendship. Her priority is to advocate for the future co-parenting of her daughter.”
No further comment was made as to the reason for their split, but Lenny told the Express in 2016: “There’s generally a situation where one partner wants the marriage to end more than the other.
“I think maybe one of us did that, then the other, and then the other over a period of time, and then at the end we were like, ‘Oh, actually, maybe we both do that.’
“We knew it wasn’t possible to continue,” he added.
Lenny was reported to have cheated on Dawn in 1999, a claim he denied.
However, Dawn’s unofficial biographer, Alison Boyer, said the comic duo “outgrew” their marriage before their split.
“[Dawn] and Lenny have long been moving in different directions and have spent little time together over the past two years,” she told The Mail.
Following the split, Dawn told The Mirror: “Remarkably, we seem to have gone from 25-year marriage to lasting friendship with relative ease.
“I marvel at us – there is no war, we have become best friends.
“There have been many good years, but last year was difficult.”
She added, “This has been a very happy marriage for a very long time and they don’t stop caring about each other or caring about each other whatever happened.”
New beginnings and finding love again
Since splitting with Lenny, Dawn – who was previously 20 Stone – underwent a tremendous transformation, losing 7 Stone.
Dawn was in dire need of a hysterectomy to lose weight.
“The doctor told me if I could lose some weight before the surgery they could do it by keyhole and I would recover in about three weeks.
“Otherwise it would be major open surgery and three months to recover.”
Dawn said her approach is simple – low-calorie meals and more exercise.
“No wand, just tiny, cheerless, low-calorie food and a lot more walking for weeks and weeks,” she explained.
In 2012, the actress began dating Mark, who runs a drug and alcohol abuse charity started by Dawn’s late mother, Felicity.
Opening up about how nervous she was about getting back into the dating game, Dawn admitted, “I was like, oh god, how off-putting. I have to buy new pants.
“Dating has been excruciating and difficult as I’m not a savvy flirt.
“Then, bang, I met someone else. I started reclaiming my life.
“I know I’ll have a good life with all sorts of things as armor. Including the things my new guy is teaching me that I never knew. Now my life is with him in Cornwall. I hope it’s a life together. “
Dawn’s dreams came true when the couple were married after just a year of dating in 2013 in Cornwall, where Dawn was born.
The intimate ceremony was attended by those closest to the star – including Lenny.
https://www.mirror.co.uk/3am/celebrity-news/truth-behind-lenny-henry-dawn-26480784 Truth behind Lenny Henry and Dawn French: Separation after 25 years of marriage