French and Henry split

25-year marriage ends

Dawn French and Lenny Henry have separated after 25 years of marriage.

The couple had enjoyed one of the most enduring relationships in comedy, since meeting in 1981 at the London Comedy Store.

Their marriage weathered what French dubbed the ‘blip’ of 1999 – when her husband was accused of spending the night with 26-year-old receptionist Merri Cheyne while touring in York. The news was quickly followed by stories that he pestered lap-dancers at a strip club on Tenerife during a drunken 12-hour bender.

The couple decided to split six months ago, but the news has only just been made public. During that time they are said to have been in ‘open and honest discussion’ about their relationship, and the arrangements for their 18-year-od adopted daughter Billie.

In a statement, the comedians' publicist Neil Reading said: ‘Lenny Henry and Dawn French are 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. They ask that the media respects the privacy of their family. No further comment will be made.’

French, 52, and Henry, 51, who married in Westminster in 1984 are currently on holiday abroad with their daughter.

  • In Hollywood, Jim Carrey and Jenny McCarthy have ended their five-year romance, too.

Published: 6 Apr 2010

Live comedy picks

We see you are using AdBlocker software. Chortle relies on advertisers to fund this website so it’s free for you, so we would ask that you disable it for this site. Our ads are non-intrusive and relevant. Help keep Chortle viable.