French and Henry 'best friends' since separation

Comedy star Dawn French told how "amazed" she is that she and Lenny Henry are not at "war" but have become "best friends" since separating.

French, 52, and Henry, 51, announced in April that their marriage was over after 25 years together.

The comedians, who have an adopted daughter, said they had separated amicably six months earlier, but were still living together.

The former 'Vicar of Dibley' star told a Radio Times interviewer that she was stunned by the change in the former couple's relationship.

She said: "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 have turned out to be the best of friends."

French made the remark in a message she sent to the journalist some time after their interview and after her separation became public.

At the time of the interview, she did not reveal the split, but spoke about the couple's "marriage wobble".

In 1999, newspapers reported that Henry was unfaithful while on tour - but he denied having had an affair.

French said: "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."

Asked whether she had felt there were secrets in their relationship that needed to be addressed, she said: "Yes, we did that. 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."

But she added: "Sometimes you have to let people have their drawers."

French, whose father committed suicide when she was 19, is about to co-star with Alfred Molina in 'Roger and Val Have Just Got In', a BBC2 comedy about a marriage in which long-buried emotions are reawakened,

She said: "I want to sit in my house, write and do the things that I want. I like being assertive at this age....It never occurred to me until recently that I could just say, 'I don't really want to do that, I just want to be here'. And I seem to be saying it all the time!"

The full interview appears in the Radio Times, on sale from today.

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