Sir Lenny Henry salutes his parents as he opens up about his divorce from Dawn French


Sir Lenny Henry paid tributes to the struggles of his own mother and father as he opened up about the break-up of his marriage to Dawn French.

Commenting on the divorce process while living in a showbiz "goldfish bowl", he said: "We just got through it like every family does.

"My mum and dad had stuff and they raised seven of us. It was tough for them and they weren't on telly.

"It's interesting - everyone is interested in you when you are on TV, but when you've got seven kids, you're living in Dudley and you've got nine jobs, nobody cares."

The 58-year-old comedian, actor and singer split from actor wife Dawn French in 2010 after 25 years of marriage.

Both have since described it as an amicable break-up as they focused on looking after their adopted daughter, Billie.

Sir Lenny reflected on it again in answer to an audience question at a BFI Black Star Q&A event in London's Southbank on Wednesday.

"We have a child and we just wanted to get through it and be normal, love her and just be respectful to each other and carry on," he said simply.

London Evening Standard Theatre Awards - Reception

"There's no big secret to it."

But Sir Lenny has been busy with all sorts in the last few years, including being knighted in the Queen's 2015 Birthday Honours for services to drama and charity.

An active campaigners for ethnic diversity in the arts, he joked to the audience: "It was great to have black people in Buckingham Palace - they need us there."