John Cleese talks about his ex wife fleecing him

Divorces can obviously get very, very nasty. People are easily hurt by the ones they love(d), and it must be very hard to divide up your hard earned assets, as adjust to the life changes without a partner.

Madonna seems to have been quite nasty to Guy Ritchie, in a petty way, in concert. She needs to take lessons from John Cleese about how to really sling the mud. Andrew Billen asks 68-year-old Cleese when he can slow down on his entertainment work, and gets this response.

So when can he turn his back on this toil? “I don’t know about that,” he says. “People would think I’d have enough money, but I do have a very expensive, or comparatively expensive, divorce. When I divorced Barbara [Trentham, wife two] in about ’88 that cost me £2.5 million then. And now this divorce with Alyce Faye – I mean, I’m paying more than £1 million a year right now. And we never had children.”

Given that this is John Cleese’s third marriage, you would think he might have been experienced enough in divorce to have considered a pre-nup. He claims it is because his previous wives, being less financially savvy then his latest, accepted his generous offers.

“When I got divorced from Connie [Booth, wife one], with whom I had dinner on Sunday, and when I got divorced from Barbara, 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.

Cleese continues to talk about his divorce, despite interviewer Andrew Billen being told not to mention it.

“I feel angry sometimes. But my anger is not so much about sharing the property but having to go on working hard to provide alimony for someone who’s already going to have at least $10 million worth of property, and who’s getting £1 million this year. At some point you say, ‘Well, what did I do wrong? You know, I was the breadwinner.’ The system is insane.”

So, I check, his anger is not at the failure of the relationship? “It’s about the fact that 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.”

Read the full interview in the London Times

Despite the way the words sound bitter, the interviewer describes him as being like a man ‘escaped from a life sentence’, which after 16-year of marriage maybe he does feel a little that way.

Unlike Madonna, who called Guy names in convert, John actually comes across as reasonable, and we still wind up on his side. Even if he seems a little narcissistic, he doesn’t seem bitter. Madonna, even if you’re a fan of her music, just isn’t likeable. Was she ever?

John has a simple solution to the problem, which is to require people to renew their marriage license every five years, ‘like dogs’. Except when children are involved, where you should also get a license to procreate. I’m not sure how many Hollywood marriages would last five years, but the license idea for parents isn’t a bad one. Case in point: Should Denise Richards and Charlie Sheen ever have procreated together?

John Cleese and Kevin Spacey are shown outside the Ivy in London on 6/6/08. Credit: WENN

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13 Responses to “John Cleese talks about his ex wife fleecing him”

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  1. geronimo says:

    Sorry, but how many times?! Pre-nups have no legal basis in UK law!

    Ultimately, it’s what the two people concerned do when the chips are down. Personally, I think his ex is greedy and Cleese has every reason to be miffed at having to continue to pay the price for that.

  2. Enonymous says:

    Well ‘feed the beast’ is a harsh name calling. But I kind of laughed at his description of his divorce a little. 😆

    As for Madonna, I am no fan but everyone needs to back off and let them deal with it on their own. It is easy criticizing Madonna, especially when you never particularly liked her, but there is ALWAYS two side of the story. So lets not through rocks at her.

  3. elisha says:

    This is funny and makes him very likeable to me. He’s practically my grandparent’s age and he makes some good points; I’d be so angry to see my Gpa have to work to support some elderly gold[grave] digger.

    That said, I don’t want to have to renew my marriage every five years. Talk about destroying the sanctity of marriage. I think it’s stupid celebs think the world should change the way marriage works for them (and even stupider that anti-gay marriage people complain about gay marriage when people these days are getting married and divorced like crazy. Go after those people! Not gay people who WANT to be married.)

  4. photo jojo says:

    Apropos of nothing: good god in heaven, is Kevin Spacey a munchkin, or is John Cleese a giant — or both?!?

  5. geronimo says:

    Cleese is 6’5″, Spacey’s around 5’9″/10″. Cleese kind of makes everyone look like munchkins.

  6. Kaiser says:

    Well, his third marriage did last 16 years… I’ll give him a pass. He doesn’t really seem to have a gratutious axe to grind.

    Sidenote to anyone who’s a fan of Keith Olberman: How funny was Cleese’s poem about Sean Hannity?

  7. photo jojo says:

    Geronimo – thanks. I had a feeling it was something like that! 🙂 Kaiser -I about wet myself when Olbermann read that!

  8. ak says:

    “… in my 70th year I will still be spending two months a year doing work that is of no interest to me….”

    After last month’s stock market debacle, I* have to face the idea that in my 70th year I will still be spending TWELVE months a year doing work that is of no interest to me.

    Semi-minor point. But celebrities are sometimes so completely oblivious.

    * Edit: I should have said, I and lots and lots of other people.

  9. kate says:

    i love connie booth! for those who don’t know she was polly on “fawlty towers”. yay!

  10. Amy says:

    She also co-wrote the show with him, Kate. See, fellas? Women were clever even before Tina Fey! 😛

  11. Carrie says:

    I agree Geronimo. She is being greedy. She should se that what she has is a decent amount from a childless marriage to a guy who is retirement age, and haul her gold-digging ass off somewhere else.

    Also agree with Helen that whatever you think of Madge, likeable she will never be.

  12. mark says:

    Well why shouldn’t she get rich off of marrying him? I’m sure she laid around(literally), slept in, traveled a lot, spent a lot of his money, hobnobbed with persons of real talent and at one point was physically attractive. Isn’t that worth a million a year? Isn’t that fair? Isn’t that just? We have to give young girls and women hope for a career like that don’t we? Wouldn’t you be proud if your daughter ended up that way?

  13. Patti says:

    I feel bad for the guy. He is at the end of his career. How can a judge expect him to keep up his current and past income to keep paying these women until their death or whenever. Yes, they were married 15 or 16 years but the guy is in his late 60’s. She didn’t meet him until way into his life and she deserves 1/2 ?!?!?!? please