Timeline 1900 – 2024

Dawn French and Lenny Henry

Black British and White British comedians Lenny Henry and Dawn French married on 20 October 1984 in Covent Garden London. The pair, who were part of the British alternative comedy circuit, were popular figures in the British press and the wedding attracted considerable media coverage, making Henry and French a ‘high profile’ mixed race celebrity couple.

While the wedding and their marriage was treated very positively by the press, their interracial relationship also attracted negative reactions. They were once forced to move house after being targeted by racists who smeared excrement on their front door and posted messages saying ‘‘You have been visited by the Ku Klux Klan’’ through the letter box.

Held up as an example of a successful celebrity marriage, in April 2010 the couple announced their decision to separate after 25 years of marriage. The separation was thought to be amicable and their divorce was finalised in October 2010. The couple have one adopted daughter, Billie, who is of a mixed racial background.