Feature

Why John Cleese isn’t laughing

How the actor is handling a brutal divorce

John Cleese is going through a brutal divorce, says Andrew Billen in the London Times. The 69-year-old comedian is no stranger to failed marriages; he’s previously split from Connie Booth and Barbara Trentham. But those breaks were relatively cordial. “I didn’t need lawyers on either occasion, because I just sort of said, ‘Why don’t I give you this?’ And they said, ‘That’s very fair, very generous. Thank you.’ End of story.” But Cleese’s third wife, Alyce Faye, has a lawyer who wants every last dime. “I feel angry sometimes about having to go on working hard to provide alimony for someonwho’s already going to have at least $10 million worth of property,” Cleese says. “In my 70th year I will still be spending two months a year doing work that is of no interest to me, and which is probably slightly spiritually depleting, in order to feed the beast.” Cleese thinks that Faye’s litigiousness is actually costing her money, but he can’t tell her that. “I’ve been told that if I speak to her directly, her lawyer will take out a restraining order, which would not look very good when we go to court. It’s insane.” He sighs. “I sometimes think that my main task in this particular existence has been to get to know and understand women better.”

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