John Cleese wives: how many times has Fawlty Towers star been married - from Connie Booth to Jennifer Wade

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The comedian’s first marriage was to that of his Fawlty Towers co-writer and fellow star Connie Booth

Classic sitcom Fawlty Towers is set to be revived with John Cleese returning to write and star alongside his daughter Camilla Cleese. The original show ran on BBC2 for two series in 1975 and 1979, and it followed the unfortunate exploits of highly-strung Torquay hotelier Basil Fawlty, played by Cleese, and his wife Sybil, portrayed by Prunella Scales, as they tried to keep their hotel and marriage afloat.

On Tuesday (7 Feb), Castle Rock Entertainment announced it had closed a deal with the actor and writer to bring back the television series. The new series will explore how the dramatic and cynical Basil navigates the modern world. It will also see Basil and a daughter he has just discovered is his, team up to run a boutique hotel.

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Fans of the original run of the show will know that Fawlty Towers was written by Cleese and his first wife, Connie Booth, whom he was married to from 1968 to 1978.

This is everything you need to know about Cleese’s relationship history, as the 83 year old has made his way down the aisle more times than most.

How many times has John Cleese been married?

Over the course of his life, Cleese has been married four times.

This is what you need to know about Cleese’s marriages, from first wife Connie Booth to current wife Jennifer Wade.

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Connie Booth

Connie Booth is an American actress and writer who has appeared in a number of British TV shows and films, including as Polly Sherman on Fawlty Towers, which she co-wrote with Cleese.

The pair met in the late 1960s, whilst Cleese was appearing in the comedy circuit in New York and Booth was a Broadway understudy and waitress.

Cleese said: “I went into a restaurant where all the waitresses were great looking out of work actresses. Connie was one of them. When Connie, I had at last met someone who could express themselves as I would like to have done. It was instant attraction.”

Cleese and Booth began working on Fawlty Towers after they got married in 1968, when they were working in the UK with the Monty Python crew.

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Connie Booth and John Cleese in Fawlty Towers (Photo: BBC)Connie Booth and John Cleese in Fawlty Towers (Photo: BBC)
Connie Booth and John Cleese in Fawlty Towers (Photo: BBC) | BBC

In 1971, Cleese and Booth had their daughter Cynthia, who has gone on to appear in films alongside her father, like A Fish Called Wanda and Fierce Creatures.

While Booth wrote scripts and co-starring in both series of Fawlty Towers, she and Cleese had actually divorced before the second season had wrapped

Speaking shortly after their marriage ended in 1978, Booth said: “There had been difficulties for some time in the marriage, which is why we went for counselling. If it hadn’t been for group therapy, I don’t think we could have worked on the second series.”

Booth brought her acting career to an end in 1995 and, after studying at the University of London for five years, she embarked on a new career journey as a psychotherapist. She got married again in 2000 to author and former New Yorker critic John Lahr.

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Barbara Trentham

Trentham was an American model, actress, writer and artist who appeared on the cover pages of British magazines like Seventeen and Vogue in the early 1970s.

She met Cleese at a Monty Python performance in 1980 whilst working in LA, and by 1981 the two had tied the knot. A few years later, Trentham gave birth to Cleese’s second child, daughter Camilla, in 1984.

American actress Barbara Trentham  (1944 - 2013) painting, UK, 6th December 1971. (Photo by Reg Burkett/Daily Express/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)American actress Barbara Trentham  (1944 - 2013) painting, UK, 6th December 1971. (Photo by Reg Burkett/Daily Express/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
American actress Barbara Trentham (1944 - 2013) painting, UK, 6th December 1971. (Photo by Reg Burkett/Daily Express/Hulton Archive/Getty Images) | Getty Images

In 1987, the couple separated and a few years later, their divorce was finalised.

Following her relationship with Cleese, Trentham moved to Chicago where she met lawyer George Covington, whom she married in 1998.

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She passed away on 2 August 2013 at the age of 68 from complications from Leukaemia.

Alyce Eichelberger

Eichelberger is an American psychotherapist, author and radio host who met Cleese in 1990, and married him in 1992.

They stayed together until they divorced in 2008, with the divorce settlement leaving Eichelberger with £12 million in finance and assets, including £600,00 a year for seven years.

Actor John Cleese and his wife Alyce Eichelberger at the 2004 Primetime Creative Arts Emmy Awards on September 12, 2004 at the Shrine Auditorium, in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)Actor John Cleese and his wife Alyce Eichelberger at the 2004 Primetime Creative Arts Emmy Awards on September 12, 2004 at the Shrine Auditorium, in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)
Actor John Cleese and his wife Alyce Eichelberger at the 2004 Primetime Creative Arts Emmy Awards on September 12, 2004 at the Shrine Auditorium, in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images) | Getty Images

Speaking about the size of the divorce settlement, Cleese said: “What I find so unfair is that if we both died today, her children would get much more than mine.”

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He added: “At least I will know in future if I go out with a lady they will not be after me for my money.”

Jennifer Wade

After returning to the UK from America, Cleese married his current wife, Jennifer Wade, in August 2012. Wade is an English jewellery designer and former model. They tied the knot in a ceremony on the Caribbean island of Mustique.

It has been reported that the pair met through mutual friends back in 2009.

John Cleese and Jennifer Wade attend the ‘John Cleese Comedy Roast - 50 Years In Showbusiness’ at Mosimanns Restaurant on November 24, 2013 in London, England. (Photo by Stuart C. Wilson/Getty Images)John Cleese and Jennifer Wade attend the ‘John Cleese Comedy Roast - 50 Years In Showbusiness’ at Mosimanns Restaurant on November 24, 2013 in London, England. (Photo by Stuart C. Wilson/Getty Images)
John Cleese and Jennifer Wade attend the ‘John Cleese Comedy Roast - 50 Years In Showbusiness’ at Mosimanns Restaurant on November 24, 2013 in London, England. (Photo by Stuart C. Wilson/Getty Images) | Getty Images

In an interview with Hello Magazine, Cleese described Wade as “an extraordinary one off” and that “I knew from the moment I met her that this could be something serious”.

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Wade also added: “We’re kindred spirits. When people see us together, they immediately get it.”

Wade and Cleese have a 31 year age gap, although Wade told Hello Magazine that the age difference “never bothers us”.

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