John Cleese: I’ve made countless love mistakes
John Cleese fears he spent too much of his life trying to "placate" women.
The 75-year-old star's love life has been colourful as he's been married four times. His split from his third wife Alyce Faye Eichelberger was acrimonious, in part because she secured a huge divorce settlement which John felt was unfair. He is now happily wed to jewellery designer Jennifer Wade, but can't get over the effect some of his relationships had on his life.
"I was famously late in developing my romantic life. And, because I didn’t always choose wisely, I brought into my life stresses that simply weren’t there before I started dating. I made a series of mistakes with women who, let’s just say, made a lot of demands of me which I often was not able to fulfil," he told The Big Issue magazine. "I found it difficult to speak to women because I’d been to single-sex schools. And my relationship with my mother, tip-toeing around her, made it more difficult. I behaved very similarly in relationships."
Looking back, the star understands he spent too much time "placating" women, which meant if he was unhappy with things he never felt able to raise it.
This leads to another of John's regrets - not having enough fun. He was timid when he went to university and found it hard to cast that off. The star spent a great deal of time wishing he was more like some of his fun contemporaries, and even now he would like to go back and alter things.
"I think I spent too much of my life doing what I thought I ought to do. I didn’t have enough fun. The problem when I got to Cambridge [University in the UK] was that I was too dutiful. I very much admired people like Stephen Fry who just said, well I’m not going to go to lectures, and spent the time doing what they wanted to," he said. "I might have seemed a bit strange to people because I was relatively introverted and I often used to sit in my room at Cambridge and just read a book by the light of my Anglepoise [lamp]. I was always quite quiet. There was a group on Cambridge called the Eggheads and I was never approached to join because I was never regarded as serious."
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