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Thread: John Cleese's 'amicable' divorce seems anything but

  1. #1
    Elite Member Honey's Avatar
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    Dec 2006

    Default John Cleese's 'amicable' divorce seems anything but

    Being a creature of habit, John Cleese has this week been starting his days in his usual somewhat idiosyncratic style.

    Taking in the crisp Pacific air on the terrace of his sprawling Californian ranch, he consumes a light breakfast of orange juice and organic granola before commencing his morning yoga session.

    Not, it should be said, that this communing with nature is carried out amid an atmosphere of silent contemplation.

    Instead, his 16-acre property in the sedate village of Montecito will echo to the sound of the British-born comedian's hearty howls of mirth.

    He has been practising the art of "laughter yoga" for eight years after discovering its teachings on a trip to India to "find himself".

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    At war: John Cleese with soon-to-be ex-wife Alyce Faye

    The former Monty Python and Fawlty Towers star regales to anyone who will listen how his daily bouts of hilarity have helped reduce his stress levels and given him a vigour that belies his 68 years.

    All of which is met with solemn and earnest interest by his friends in this Californian New Age heartland - and much eye-rolling and stifled sniggers by his old chums back in Britain.

    But there has, one imagines, been occasions over recent days when Cleese has had difficulty in reaching the ribtickling intensity needed to achieve this sought-after spiritual "oneness".

    Because on the face of it, at least, he does not appear to have an awful lot to laugh about.

    Particularly as he has been served with court papers in the U.S. this week that prove beyond doubt that the "amicable" divorce he had claimed he was going through with his third wife is anything but.

    Indeed, the full court documents obtained by the Mail this week, reveal the true level of bitterness to which things have descended - and the full extent to which his psychotherapist wife Alyce Faye Eichelberger plans to take the multi-millionaire Cleese to the cleaners.

    It would be the understatement of the decade to say they do not make for pleasant reading for the star.

    Among her demands in the 64 pages of her divorce petition are her claims to share half of his nine worldwide properties, worth an estimated 16 million, including four in California, one in New York, three in London and a holiday villa in Jamaica.

    The 63-year-old Miss Eichelberger, who married the star in December 1992, is also demanding half of his earnings since their wedding.

    And in the meantime, her lawyers have submitted court documents that specify she needs an astonishing 71,250 a month to live on, this includes 2,000 for clothes, 5,000 on gifts, entertaining and holidays, and 1,000 for eating out.

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    Fury: Friends said the former Fawlty Towers star 'is beside himself with buttock-clenching rage'

    She clearly plans carrying on in the lavish fashion to which she says she has become accustomed.

    Cleese has already agreed to give his estranged wife a 750,000 apartment on the Upper East-Side of New York. But because the warring couple have fallen out over renovation work there, she was this week staying nearby in Manhattan's most prestigious hotel, The Carlyle, where rooms can cost up to 7,500-a-night.

    Not bad for a woman who was living with her two sons in a third-floor London council flat when she met Cleese 18 years ago.

    And no wonder a friend last night said Cleese was "absolutely beside himself with buttock-clenching rage" over her extraordinary demands.

    Particularly as the couple agreed to enter therapy together, following their split in January in a bid to keep the divorce "friendly".
    Cleese, it seems, should be asking for a refund on those costly joint sessions on the therapist's couch.
    But by way of a fight back, he has sanctioned friends to go public this week in a bid to repudiate his soon-to-be ex wife's claims about just how extravagant their lifestyle has been during their 16-year marriage.

    He has also dismissed her assertion in the court papers in which she states: "Our lifestyle during our marriage can only be described as opulent. Every possible creature comfort was available to us at a moment's notice."

    She goes on to chronicle their use of private jets and their retinue of staff, including chefs, chauffeurs, personal trainers, massage therapists, ranch hands and personal stylists who were on hand to care for their every need.

    Miss Eichelberger adds: "As a world renowned celebrity, John and I were entertained by royalty, celebrities and dignitaries in castles."

    She also lists his earnings as 2.45 million last year and the details of his no fewer than 15 bank accounts around the world.

    And then she's asking for an initial 175,000 to pay her legal fees so far and 75,000 to employ forensic accountants to investigate her husband's total assets.

    Hardly surprising that friends of Cleese have already renamed her "Heather Cleese", after the grasping Heather Mills.

    For his part, the Basil Fawlty star has been keen to reject some of her more grandiose accounts of their lifestyle. He told one close friend: "I can only remember taking a private plane twice in the last 14 years and I have never stayed in a castle."
    And a source close to him told the Mail: "John is stunned. He simply does not recognise what she is describing in her affidavit."
    He has been moaning to friends that he had been hoping to wind down his acting career as he approaches 70, but will now have to work harder to earn the 1.5 million a year he says he will have to make just to fund his wife's extravagance.

    He also denies claims that the marriage broke down because of his frequent bouts of "melancholy".
    Friends of Miss Eichelberger claim that the Somerset-born star had become depressed after the death of a series of close friends.

    But Cleese told associates this week that although he had been deeply upset by the death of his friend, former senior BBC executive David Hatch, last summer, it had not affected the marriage.

    His supporters say the couple, who were introduced by Cleese's former therapist, had simply grown apart over recent months and had taken to living in separate parts of their Mediterranean-style Californian home which they share with their menagerie of horses, llamas, dogs, cats, goats and chinchillas.

    To begin with the separation was civilised, but his circle say that the gloves came off when Alyce hired hotshot U.S. lawyer Jacqueline Misho to take up her case.

    One friend of Cleese told the Mail: "It is only recently that things have turned ugly. John has no doubt that Alyce's lawyer is stirring up the pot. It is all so pointless because John wants everything to be resolved as painlessly as possible.

    "He finds it embarrassing that he has been dragged into one of those horrible Hollywood divorces. He thinks the whole thing is very unBritish.

    "He simply can't believe that Alyce is behaving like this. When he is not fuming over it, he actually finds it quite amusing because the whole thing is so surreal."

    It must be said that it does not seem that his American wife shares his amusement.

    She is claiming that Cleese has refused to grant her the temporary maintenance she has been asking for since their split and is having to survive on the 4,000 monthly "salary" he agreed to pay her at the beginning of their marriage.

    Her lawyers also accuse Cleese of refusing to respond to their legal letters and their requests for him to list all his assets which, they say, run in to tens of millions.

    They have also demanded the Californian court imposes a restraining order to stop him buying any more property or selling any of the couple's homes.

    One of her complaints is that he bought an apartment in San Francisco earlier this year "without her permission".

    What a mess. And their current unseemly wrangling is so at odds with the once-devoted picture they painted of their marriage.

    Cleese met the vivacious and blonde Alyce shortly after the end of his nine-year marriage to American-born second wife Barbara Trentham with whom he has a daughter, Camilla (he also has a daughter Cynthia from his first marriage to his Fawlty Towers co-star Connie Booth).

    Oklahoma-born Alyce was living in London following the break-up of her marriage to American golf pro David Eichelberger.

    Cleese's psychiatrist invited the pair to dinner on a blind date and later the actor said of their first meeting: "Basically, my doctor prescribed Alyce."
    Cambridge graduate Cleese, who admits suffering from periods of depression, was already fascinated by psychotherapy and was said by friends to be impressed that his new girlfriend had studied with Sigmund Freud's daughter Anna.

    He also credited Alyce, who wrote a book called How To Manage Your Mother, with helping him come to terms with his own troubled relationship with his mother Muriel, who died aged 101 in 2002.

    He has admitted to being scarred by his mother's declaration to him as a boy that her pregnancy had been a mistake and that having a child had ruined her life.

    But rather than move Miss Eichelberger in immediately, Cleese bought the house next door to his home in Holland Park, West London, and installed her and her sons there.

    The couple, who have no children together, moved to California in the mid-1990s following Cleese's success in Hollywood films A Fish Called Wanda and Splitting Heirs.

    And in 1999 they bought the jewel in their property empire, Stalloreggi (the King's Stables), a ranch and equestrian centre in the hills above Santa Barbara (rumours first began circulating about their marriage when they put it on the market for 14 million last year).

    Cleese had already become rich thanks to royalties for Monty Python's Flying Circus and Fawlty Towers, plus a string of shrewd property investments.

    He has also made a fortune from setting up a business that sees him travelling the world giving motivational speeches to businessmen and making corporate videos.

    But Cleese's move to America allowed him to indulge his growing obsession with therapy and friends from Britain have become used to the psychobabble that now infects his conversations.

    He also co-wrote two best-selling books, Families And How to Survive Them and Life And How To Survive It, with his friend, the psychiatrist Dr Robin Skynner.

    At the insistence of his wife, who now has her own radio talk show in Santa Barbara as well as a private practice in London, the couple took to taking yoga sessions together and reading the same book to stimulate their conversations.

    But after they admitted their marriage was irreparable, Cleese signed up as guest celebrity speaker on a round the world cruise liner in January as friends said he "needed space" to get over the trauma of the split.

    Given the open warfare to which their divorce battle has now descended, who would blame the troubled Cleese from submitting himself to some more extended sessions on the analyst's couch?
    And who knows? After he has shelled out all those millions wanted by his wife, he might be able to write another bestselling self-help book: Divorce And How To Pay For It.

    Don't mention the wife! John Cleese's 'amicable' divorce seems anything but | the Daily Mail

  2. #2
    Elite Member LynnieD's Avatar
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    Didn't read the whole thing, so maybe he is a huge asshole, but I love John Cleese.

  3. #3
    Elite Member DoveFeatheredRaven's Avatar
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    Didn't read the entire thing either but wtf at those shoes she has on in that picture. I enjoy comfy shoes too but...
    Have you ever noticed that anybody driving slower than you is an idiot, and anyone going faster than you is a maniac? George Carlin

  4. #4
    Elite Member nwgirl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DoveFeatheredRaven View Post
    Didn't read the entire thing either but wtf at those shoes she has on in that picture. I enjoy comfy shoes too but...
    They look like they're some sort of medically necessary shoes. I was actually sad for her that she probably had to wear them. I just wouldn't leave the house.

    As for their divorce, it's 50/50. Although her monthly income sounds a bit ridiculous. Isn't the alimony amount based on what the other spouse is actually earning? Not what they've earned in the past? I can't imagine he makes 70k a month nowadays, but then again, I don't pay close attention to anything he's in.
    "The difference between genius and stupidity is that genius has its limits."

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    I would expect he still gets royalties from all the Monty Python shows/DVD sales.

  6. #6
    Elite Member sputnik's Avatar
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    Oct 2005
    fellow traveller


    i love john cleese so i automatically hate her and think she's being a money-hungry bitch. she should get enough money to live well and be comfortable but come on, he's the one with the money and career, she shouldn't be entitled to half. also, she makes some stuipid arguments - she won't need as much money to entertain and dress well when they're divorced because she won't get 1/10th of the invitations she gets now, when she's no longer john cleese's wife.
    I'm open to everything. When you start to criticise the times you live in, your time is over. - Karl Lagerfeld

  7. #7
    Elite Member Rondette's Avatar
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    Jan 2006
    Between uncertainty and acceptance


    fuck, 4000 a month? I could live happily on that alone. Poor the John Cleese, it's a bit of a one sided story up there but it sounds like she is a little bit too greedy, and that satin dress shes wearing in that piture make her boobs look awful. Then I scrolled down to the shoes!!

  8. #8
    Elite Member Sleuth's Avatar
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    Vegemite Land


    jeebers maybe a memo should be sent to all celebrities to never get married...
    Alicia Silverstone: "I think that the film Clueless was very deep. I think it was deep in the way that it was very light. I think lightness has to come from a very deep place if it's true lightness."

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