'It wasn't pleasant': John Cleese had 'breakdown' after third divorce

John Cleese had a breakdown credit:Bang Showbiz
John Cleese had a breakdown credit:Bang Showbiz

John Cleese had “suicidal thoughts” after the end of his third marriage.

The 84-year-old comedy legend admitted to having a “breakdown” some time after he split from Alyce Faye Eichelberger, who he was ordered to pay almost £16 million when they divorced in 2008, and spent some time in “clinics” to help tackle his mental state.

He told Saga magazine: “[The breakdown came] kind of after the full impact of the divorce came through.

“I had to go into clinics for a bit. In a funny kind of way, when you have an experience like that I think you learn a lot from it.

“It wasn’t pleasant. I was never about to kill myself, but I had suicidal thoughts, but not really very serious ones.

“And then I came out and I was able to put it together quite soon after that.”

The Monty Python star praised his fourth wife, Jennifer Wade – who he wed in August 2012 – for supporting him through his darkest moments.

He said: “I mean, the poor woman married me and the next thing is, I have a nervous breakdown.

“I said, ‘Sorry darling – this isn’t part of the original plan.’

“But she is terrific and there’s a very deep connection between the two of us, which I think enables us to be extremely silly together.

“It’s lovely because I haven’t really ever received that amount of affection and support before now.”

Although Jennifer is more than 30 years younger than John, he insisted the age gap between him and the 52-year-old jewellery designer isn’t noticeable.

He said: “A lot of people comment [on the age difference] ad then the moment they actually see us together for two minutes, they say, ‘Oh I get it’ and it never arises again.

“Jennifer’s got the most extraordinary sense of humour and what I love is she’s 30 years younger than I am but she keeps me young.”