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John Cleese to pay out £12 million in divorce settlement

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Fawlty Towers star John has reached a £12 million divorce settlement with his third wife but remains in good spirits. "Think what I'd have had to pay Alyce if she had contributed anything to the relationship," the 70-year-old joked
 Photo: © Getty Images

18 AUGUST 2009

Paying out an eye-watering £12 million in a divorce settlement is no laughing matter, but John Cleese's famous sense of humour is still very much intact.

It was revealed this week that the 70-year-old actor will be giving his third wife, Alyce Faye Eichelberger, £8 million in cash and assets - including a New York apartment, a £2 million mews home in west London's Holland Park and half a beach house in California which is waiting to be sold.

She will also receive £600,000 a year for seven years.

But despite the fact the settlement leaves his former wife richer than him, John said: "I got off lightly. Think what I'd have had to pay Alyce if she had contributed anything to the relationship."

"At least I will know in the future if I go out with a lady they will not be after me for my money."

Speaking about the settlement, John's close friend Michael Winner said: "His ex-wife Alyce Faye Eichelberger told me on a previous spat…'John doesn’t know what is going to hit him. I'll take him for every penny'. She kept her word."

He added that the Monty Python star, who is still on friendly terms with his previous two wives Connie Booth and Barbara Trentham, had also hoped to settle amicably with 64-year-old Alyce, an American psychotherapist.

"It is an extraordinary world which means John is left with much less than his former wife even though he is the star who did all the work. The settlement defies human belief."

Alyce was represented in the legal negotiations by Fiona Shackleton, who represented Paul McCartney in his recent divorce proceedings. In Alyce's testimony she claimed her husband was a "world renowned celebrity" and that she was used to "being entertained by royalty and dignitaries in castles".

When the couple first met in 1990, she was living in a third floor council flat in London with two sons from a previous marriage.

John, who is currently in the New Forest writing a one man show called My Alyce Faye Divorce Tour, married his ex-wife in 1992 and they were together for 16 years.

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