dawn french

Dawn French opens up about the huge impact of her dad's death

The Vicar Of Dibley star was a teenager when her father passed away

Sharnaz Shahid

Dawn French has given a very candid account into her life. The Vicar Of Dibley star, 60, has opened up about the death of her father and how his passing affected her life, admitting she didn't expect to see 60. "Until quite recently, I think I've always thought that I wouldn’t make old bones," she confessed on Fearne Cotton's Happy Place podcast. "Being 19 and losing your dad made me think 'oh God maybe we don't live very long'."

Dawn French has revealed that she did not expect to live a long life

Dawn was left heartbroken when her dad Denys French died in 1977 when she was just 19. She added: "I grasped any opportunity I could, but I was aware that I thought 'I need to get old enough to grow my daughter in to her twenties at least, then she'd manage without me after that'. I was thinking like that - which is ridiculous. It's possibly to do with losing my dad so early...thinking life is a bit fragile and it can be a bit temporary."

STORY: Dawn French's striking new portrait in honour of her 60th birthday

Loading the player...

In 1991, Dawn adopted her daughter Billie with her former husband Lenny Henry, following rounds of IVF and miscarriages. "I knew I wanted to definitely be a mother that was a very strong instinct," she explained. "Then what happened was my body wouldn’t let me be a mother and everything kept failing all the time for all sorts of reasons. We had to make a big decision, to put aside IVF and go for adoption." She also credited best friend Jennifer Saunders for making her dreams come true. "Ab Fab only came along because I stepped aside to have Billie in a secret way, and Jennifer stepped up and took the studios that were booked for French and Saunders," revealed Dawn. "I said, 'Jen, a baby has arrived'. And she said, 'right, go, go, I'll do something'."

STORY: French and Saunders are back!