Lenny Henry shared real reason behind Dawn French split after 25 ‘happy’ years

Lenny Henry and Dawn French shocked fans when they called time on their 25-year marriage in 2010 on the grounds of his “unreasonable behaviour”.

In April of that year, a representative for the comedians revealed that the divorce was “amicable” and that they would remain friends.

The spokesperson announced: “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.”

The pair married in 1985 and adopted their daughter, Billie, in 1991. 

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While both Dawn, 66, and Lenny, 65, largely kept their shock split private, Lenny later opened up to the Daily Express about what had happened in the lead-up.

The Comic Relief co-founder told us in 2016: “There’s generally a situation where one partner wants the marriage to finish more than the other.

“I think maybe one of us did, then the other one did, and then the other did over a period of time and then, in the end, we thought, ‘Oh, actually maybe we both do’.”

The French and Saunders star also revealed that prior to their split, the former couple had gone to therapy. 

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She told Radio Times in 2010: “We went to therapy for a few months. We went separately – it gives you an interesting way to come together with new ideas of how to deal with it.”

During the interview, she was asked if there were secrets within the marriage that needed to be addressed, adding: “I think everybody has to do that, empty your drawers out. I always want to empty my drawers. I like it that I am open.”

However, she also said: “Sometimes you have to let people have their drawers.”

Nevertheless, Lenny and Dawn appear to have maintained a fondness for each other, with Dawn even describing them as the “best of friends”. 

She told the Mirror in 2016: “Remarkably, we seem to have shifted with relative ease from a 25-year marriage to a lasting friendship. I am amazed by us.

“There is no war, we’ve turned out to be the best of friends. There were lots of good years but one tricky last year.”

“This had been a very happy marriage for a very long time and you don’t stop looking after each other or caring for each other, whatever has happened.”

Dawn went on to remarry producer Mark Bignell in 2013 while Lenny found love with his girlfriend Lisa Makin, whom he has been linked since 2012. 

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