Celebrity Gossip

Dawn French talks of racist abuse she suffered during her marriage to black comedian Lenny Henry

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  • Dawn French and comedian Lenny Henry suffered racist abuse
  • Couple, who were married for 25 years, were victims of arson attack
  • French believes that Britain is experiencing 'racism by stealth'
Dawn French has spoken out about the racist abuse she suffered during her marriage to Lenny Henry, revealing that her house was nearly burnt down in an arson attack as the couple slept.

The 56-year-old star, said: ‘It was massively shocking to me. Someone put an oily rag through our front door and tried to burn us down. Luckily I woke up and smelt it, otherwise I’m not sure we would be here.’

Dawn, who has a mixed-race daughter Billie, 23, with Lenny, 55, is concerned that racist attitudes have not changed in 30 years.

And she believes that her daughter and ex-husband – who recently found himself at the centre of a race row after a UKIP candidate said he should leave Britain to live in a black country – are experiencing racism by stealth.

The comedienne and actress said: ‘It’s the little snidey comments or things people think it is OK to say, a kind of gradual erosion that I find particularly dangerous.’

The pair, who split in 2010 after 25 years of marriage, have previously spoken of other shocking abuse they suffered as a mixed-race couple.

They were once targeted by members of the Ku Klux Klan who smeared excrement on their front door and doorstep and daubed graffiti on their walls.

Miss French made her comments on Friday evening’s BBC Radio 4 Front Row show while promoting her first solo touring show about her life, Thirty Million Minutes.

Commenting on her body image, Miss French who has seen her weight fluctuate in recent years, said: ‘You are just never allowed to be anything other than a fat woman,’ she said.








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