John Cleese, 72, marries Jennifer Wade, 41, in a Caribbean villa and says wife number four is "an extraordinary one-off".
When John Cleese emerged from an acrimonious third divorce which left him £12 million poorer, he joked that friends would “knee-cap” him if he ever married again.
But the comedian and actor has gone ahead and tied the knot once more, this time to a woman 31 years his junior.
Cleese, 72, married Jennifer Wade, 41, in a romantic ceremony on the Caribbean island of Mustique.
The star of Fawlty Towers and Monty Python fought back tears as he exchanged vows with Miss Wade, a jeweller and former model.
“I knew from the first moment I met her that this could be something very serious,” Cleese said. “She is an extraordinary one-off.”
Miss Wade, who wore a pale pink satin bridal gown, added: “We’re kindred spirits. When people see us together they immediately get it.”
The bride said that the age gap “never bothers us”.
The wedding was held in a private villa and conducted by a Methodist minister in the presence of Hello! magazine, which paid an undisclosed sum for the exclusive rights.
The fee will come in handy. Cleese’s third wife, Alyce Faye Eichelberger, was awarded a £12.2 million settlement when the couple divorced in 2008 after 16 years of marriage. A US court ruled that Miss Eichelberger, an American psychotherapist, should receive £8 million in cash and assets, plus £600,000 per year for seven years, despite the couple having no children.
Cleese was forced to go back on the road to meet the bill, in a one-man show he dubbed the ‘Alimony Tour’.
“Basically, I have to find a million dollars a year until I’m 76. You don’t get that sort of money by sitting at home,” he said. “That I, at my age, would have to plan my life anew to pay her all the money she is to get for the next seven years - well, it irritates me.”
Yet Cleese told Hello! magazine that the divorce battle had not put him off marriage altogether.
"The truth is, I'm a romantic," he said.
“I never felt there was anything wrong with the institution of marriage - the only thing was my ability to choose the right person.
“I couldn’t imagine being with anyone other than Jenny now. And, with my record, that’s a pretty remarkable thing to say.”
Cleese was married to Connie Booth, his Fawlty Towers co-star, from 1968-1978. They had one daughter. His second marriage, to Barbara Trentham, also produced a daughter and lasted from 1981-1990. He married Miss Eichelberger two years later.
Cleese’s friends cautioned him against jumping into marriage number four. Asked in 2010 if he would consider marrying again, he replied: “Yes, I think so, but not until it would cease to shock and alarm my friends who’d form a little gang and say they’re going to come and knee-cap me if I mention the ‘M’ word.”
One of those friends was Terry Gilliam, the film director and fellow Python, who remarked: “If he does [marry], he is stupid. John has been married already three times and each time to the same woman. They always seem to be blonde, American; the only difference is that each time they get younger and younger.”
Miss Wade is blonde and considerably younger than her new husband, but was born in Britain and raised in South Africa, New Zealand and Spain.
She is divorced from her first husband, Old Harrovian businessman Richard Norris, and told the Daily Telegraph last year: “My lawyer said he wanted to put up a photograph of me in his office with a sign above it saying, ‘The woman who took nothing’.”
In addition to her jewellery business, Miss Wade is a muse for the artist Jonathan Wylder, posing nude for his bronze sculptures.
Cleese has said: “One thing we know about Jenny is, she’s not after my money.” But he also conceded that he would consider protecting his finances for marriage number four, saying: “Maybe a pre-nup. I think so.”
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