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Key to happiness Dawned on me... when I remarried; COMIC ON LAUGHS..AND NEW LIFE; EXCLUSIVE.

COMEDIAN Dawn French bought laughter to millions of fans - and has finally found her own happiness.

The adored Vicar of Dibley star discovered the key to joy when she married Mark Bignell.

And now in a candid interview she talks about laughter and life after the end of her 25-year marriage to fellow comedian Sir Lenny Henry in 2010.

Dawn, 58, said in a Canadian CBC radio interview: "I'm maybe not quite as cheerful as you might imagine I'd be. Optimism and cheerfulness are a massive gift that many people don't have.


"I remarried and I married a very cheerful man, and I've come to realise just how important cheerfulness is. It's a wonderful thing." She said she can be anxious and chaotic, unlike charity boss Mark, 53, a father of two.

She said: "He lives in the moment and he laughs a lot. Every day he wakes up very cheerful. That is a remarkable thing."

Dawn, a showbiz legend with comic partner Jennifer Saunders, said: "I think I'm on the happier side. But I can quickly slip into worry and anxiety. Not so much that it disables my life. I can ruin a whole moment very quickly by doing that."

The Bafta award-winning star turned novelist also spoke of how growing up she would use humour to escape discipline and defuse potentially unpleasant situations.

She said: "I will often have a little joke at someone's expense, which I hope is a little shot across the bows. I will do that if I feel that the situation is a bit incendiary."

And Dawn knows who to credit for her sense of

thought depression and comitted suicide in 1977, aged only 45.

She said: "I'd attribute my dad with all the humour in my family and it was OK to be funny around him.

"Dad and I were the show-offs who would play all the time, who would do anything to get a laugh.

"I still do that with Jennifer, or anybody that I collaborate with, I am such a tart for a laugh if I can make that other person laugh that will make my day. I am very happy with that."

Dawn, whose career has spanned more than 40 years, has battled other heartache in her life. She struggled to conceive with Lenny, despite rounds of IVF, and they adopted daughter Billie, now 25.

In October 2010 they were divorced on the grounds of Lenny's "unreasonable behaviour".

She said: "Remarkably, we seem to have shifted with relative ease from a 25-year marriage to a lasting friendship. I am amazed by us. There is no war. We've turned out to be the best of friends.

"There were lots of good years but one tricky final year."

After their split, Dawn, who was once 20 stone, dramatically lost weight leading to rumours she'd had a gastric band operation. She later revealed it was after a hysterectomy she'd had following a womb cancer scare.

Dawn was horrified at the prospect of dating again and said: "I thought, 'Oh God, how repulsive. I'll have to buy new pants.' "Dating was excruciating and difficult as I'm not an accomplished flirter. Then, bang, I met somebody else. I started to claim my life back. It's a life with him."

In 2012 she began dating twicedivorced Mark, boss of Hamoaze House charity, which helps drug and alcohol abusers, started by Dawn's late mum Felicity.

In April 2013, they married in Cornwall, where they live, in front of guests including comedy pals Jennifer Saunders, Sue Perkins, Kathy Burke and Dibley writer Richard Curtis.

Dating was excruciating. I thought I'll have to buy new pants who


BEFORE SPLIT: With Lenny in 2009

FRENCH KISS: Dawn and Mark in Plymouth

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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:The People (London, England)
Date:Jun 5, 2016
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