Away from the cameras, Jennifer Saunders lives in the country with her famous other half.
The 65-year-old actress and comic rose to fame with her long-time best friend and work partner, Dawn French, on their sketch show French and Saunders back in the ’80s, and went on to receive acclaim in the ’90s for writing and starring in Absolutely Fabulous. Now, with over four decades of experience in TV and film, we all recognise her face well.
But what do you know about her life off-screen? The mum-of-three resides in the English countryside with her husband, fellow comedy actor Adrian Edmondson, and they share three daughters and five grandchildren. Jennifer has been married to Adrian for almost as long as she’s been acting, as the pair tied the knot in Cheshire in 1985.
Adrian is best known for starring in TV sitcom The Young Ones, and appearing in shows such as Jonathan Creek, Holby City and EastEnders. The 66-year-old also had a role in Star Wars The Last Jedi. The couple met on the comedy circuit back in the eighties and have appeared together on a number of shows. Adrian even had a small role in Absolutely Fabulous in 1992 and 1994.
The celebrity duo tend to keep their relationship largely private, though Adrian did share a rare glimpse into their early courtship in a 2018 interview. He told The Guardian: “When we were first going out, whenever I went round to Jennifer’s place, she’d open the door and we would snog for 10 minutes before even saying hello. It was amazing.”
Speaking to the same publication the year prior, he spoke about the hilarious way the couple met. “I met my wife, Jennifer Saunders, in a strip club when I was 23,” he revealed. “It was a comic strip club, so you could perform alternative comedy on one stage while there were strippers on the other. Needless to say, she was one of the comedians, not one of the strippers.” He continued to explain how he tried, and failed, to pop the question years later.
Adrian said he thought it would be a good idea to ‘propose on horseback’ because Jennifer likes horses, but he wasn’t very good at riding, so ended up going down on one knee at dinner afterwards. He said, ‘Can we get married and can we have children?’, and Jennifer agreed to both. The couple now have three grown-up daughters together, Ella, Beattie and Freya, and live in the town of Chagford, Devon. “I love being surrounded by beautiful countryside and the sense of community that exists in a village,” she told the Evening Standard.
In 2009, Jennifer was diagnosed with breast cancer and underwent nine months of gruelling treatment before she was given the all-clear. “You just grit your teeth and bear it. It becomes your job and your job is now getting through this next year of whatever,” she said back in 2011 of her chemotherapy. Her treatment and drugs brought on the menopause and made her feel depressed. “You are pushed into menopause like jumping off a cliff… Bang,” she explained.
A few years later, on the Jonathan Ross show, Jennifer spoke about losing her hair and how she didn’t mind it. “I spent my life in a wig, professionally, so that to me was probably the least distressing thing, to go bald,” she explained. But the star said she didn’t like being called ‘brave’. “You don’t have to be brave to have it (cancer), you just get it,” she said. “It’s not like a battle, you have to just submit to the process of treatment.”