Belfast Telegraph

'Tyrant' mother problems for Cleese

Comedian John Cleese has suggested his difficult relationship with his "tyrant" late mother was to blame for his years of therapy and problems with women.

The Monty Python star, who married his fourth wife Jennifer Wade in 2012, said his mother Muriel had "utterly egotistical impulses" and he lacked any affection for her during his childhood.

He told the Sunday Times magazine: "It is said you shouldn't speak ill of the dead but it seems to me an ideal opportunity.

"I don't want to get too dark and depressing but she was emotionally difficult. She was a tyrant."

In an extract of his new autobiography, So, Anyway, published in the magazine, he wrote: "It cannot be a coincidence that I spent such a large part of my life in some form of therapy and that the vast majority of the problems I was dealing with involved relationships with women.

"My ingrained habit of walking on eggshells when dealing with my mother dominated my romantic liaisons for many years."

John, 74, is set to perform a number of theatre shows later this year following publication of his memoir on October 9.

In the book, the Fawlty Towers actor also revealed he was almost 25 when he lost his virginity while touring New Zealand with the Cambridge Circus because "girls just weren't around".

Meanwhile, despite the success of a string of sell-out comeback shows at London's O2 Arena in July, John admitted he felt "no trace of excitement" by the second show of their 10-night run.

"It was only our second night," he told the magazine.

"I was waiting to start a sketch and a few seconds before the spotlight turned on me, I could see the huge packed arena and I felt no trace of excitement.

"If you're standing in front of 6,000 people and you're thinking 'this is perfectly pleasant but I'm not in the slightest bit excited', then God, or possibly Richard Dawkins, is sending you a message that maybe you should be doing something else."

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