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‘There would be a murder’: Dawn French reveals why she can no longer live with the daughter she adopted with Lenny … – Daily Mail

Growing pains: A teenage Billie attends a wedding with her parents - including Dawn French - in 2005

Growing pains: A teenage Billie attends a wedding with her parents – including Dawn French – in 2005

In The Vicar Of Dibley, she was forever smoothing over spats on the parish council.

But in real life it seems Dawn French struggles to keep the peace with her own daughter.

The comedian has admitted that she can no longer live in the same house as Billie, 24, because of their ‘bizarre’ relationship that sparks ‘frequent wars’.

She even joked that there ‘would be murder’ if her daughter had not moved out.

The 58-year-old said that while they love each other, they sometimes do not like each other, and confessed that motherhood has been much more of a challenge than she thought.

Miss French, who is best known for playing Geraldine Granger in The Vicar Of Dibley, also spoke movingly of her attempts to have children naturally, and her recent hysterectomy after a uterine cancer scare.

She adopted Billie, aged two weeks, with former husband Sir Lenny Henry, and has described her daughter as ‘the greatest achievement’ in her life so far.

But she was more candid about their fraught relationship in an interview yesterday. ‘I expected that if you nurture [a child], like a tomato plant, it grows towards the light, and surely if your mum is someone who wants to have fun with you and have adventures and read with you and spend time with you, how could you ever have a war?’ she said.

‘But I haven’t got a kid who wants to read with me and have adventures with me, I’ve got a different kind of kid who’s a different kind of set of challenges and that’s been my lesson.

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Trio: Miss French adopted Billie when she was just two weeks old with her ex-husband Sir Lenny Henry

Trio: Miss French adopted Billie when she was just two weeks old with her ex-husband Sir Lenny Henry

Happy family: Miss French, Sir Lenny and Billie in 1991, in what was the first photograph of their adopted baby

Happy family: Miss French, Sir Lenny and Billie in 1991, in what was the first photograph of their adopted baby

‘Nothing is ever what you think it’s going to be at all. If the love wasn’t there I don’t know how we’d survive all this other stuff.’

They live just 12 minutes apart in Cornwall but Miss French admitted: ‘We could no longer live together – there would be murder. But we have to live nearby.’

She added: ‘Our relationship exists in a bizarre kind of process of peacetime, small battles, war. The peacetime is much more than the other two energies, but we have our wars.

‘The love, thank God, is profound and I do thank God, because I love that kid so much that sometimes if I don’t like her or she doesn’t like me, we survive it.’

'Wars': Miss French revealed she could no longer live with Billie because 'there would have been a murder'

‘Wars’: Miss French revealed she could no longer live with Billie because ‘there would have been a murder’

Both Miss French and Sir Lenny are fiercely protective of their daughter. 

Parent: Although Billie no longer lives with her mother, the pair live 12 minutes apart in Cornwall

Parent: Although Billie no longer lives with her mother, the pair live 12 minutes apart in Cornwall

It has been reported that she is settled with a partner and a job but that she has no ambitions to follow her parents into showbusiness.

Before adopting Billie, the couple tried to have children naturally but without success. 

She told the Sunday Telegraph: ‘I had grief for a while. I did have miscarriages, so I’ve had grief about that as well.

‘But the minute Billie arrived that was it for me. She fills everything I needed to be as a mother’.

Referring to her hysterectomy in 2011, she said: ‘They took it out – oh my God, the freedom! It’s marvellous. I’d had years of trouble. My menopause was a very difficult time.

‘People think that somehow something female about you has gone. The opposite is true. I didn’t need my womb any more.’

Miss French split from Sir Lenny in 2010 and is now married to charity boss Mark Bignell, 53, who has two children Lily, 24, and Olly, 21.

While she is devoted to her stepchildren, she is very conscious of the impact of two new siblings on Billie.

She said: ‘I’ve got a daughter who bought a T-shirt for herself when she was about eight that said, “I’m an only child, let’s keep it that way”.

Billie's father Lenny Henry recently revealed that he won't be handing over his reported £5million fortune to his daughter
He wants her to 'stick up for herself'

Relations: Billie’s father Sir Lenny (left) recently revealed that he will not be handing over his reported £5million fortune to his daughter (right) as he wants her to ‘stick up for herself’

‘She perfectly well likes her new stepbrother and sister, but she has been an only kid for a long time, so I have to keep that in mind.’

Our relationship exists in a bizarre kind of process of peacetime, small battles, war
Dawn French 

Miss French has said that Billie has always known that she was adopted but that she was once forced to take out an injunction when a biographer threatened to reveal the identity of her biological mother.

Sir Lenny has also spoken about the challenges of bringing up a child, joking: ‘As a general rule of thumb, if you do the opposite of what happened to you as a kid you will end up all right.’

The comedian, 57, who is thought to be worth £5million, said recently that he will not leave his fortune to Billie because he wants her to learn to live life on her own terms. 

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