Will Monty Python shows bring John Cleese financial ease?

Is this the end of his divorce woes?


Monty Python photocall - London

The surviving stars of Monty Python will take to the stage tonight for the start of their final run of shows at London's O2 arena. The final show will be screened at over 2,000 cinemas and on TV around the world. They've announced this is to be a final 'goodbye' to fans of the show.

They've been quite clear that they're doing it for fun, but that the money won't hurt either. None more so than John Cleese. So will this be an end to his much-publicised financial nightmares?

The show will be a theatrical spectacular with dancing, music, and guest appearances from Stephen Hawking and Professor Brian Cox. At the press conference to publicise it they joked that they were in it for the money.

The cast members have talked openly about how they needed to do the shows to pay a £800,000 legal bill - after going to court over royalties for Spamalot - the stage show based on Monty Python and the Holy Grail. Michael Palin said the "Python cupboard was a bit bare".

And for one member of the group, this is particularly true: John Cleese. His money problems were the result of his 2008 divorce from his third wife, Alyce Faye Eichelberger, who he had been married to for 16 years.

He was reportedly ordered to pay her £12.5 million, and hand over an apartment in New York and a £2 million home in London's Holland Park. He also has to pay her £612,000 a year until 2016. To fund the settlement he had to sell a £6 million beach house in California.

The settlement left him reeling financially. He launched a stand-up show which he called his Alimony Tour, and in which he said: "I am here because, frankly, I have fallen on hard times having been through a costly and acrimonious divorce. I call it the Alimony Tour or Feeding The Beast." He has also moved to Monaco to avoid paying tax on his divorce payments and said he will not return to live in the UK for tax reasons.

Talking about the forthcoming shows Michael Palin joked to the Daily Mail: "John (Cleese) wanted more money for his divorce settlement. I think it is his fourth wife. I have not seen him for two weeks, he might be married again."

With just two more years of alimony payments, and a massive pay cheque from the live shows, there's every hope that the financially turbulent years of Cleese's life will now draw to a close - and at the age of 74 he can look forward to working slightly less hard in future.