John Cleese Claims He's 'Surprisingly Poor' After 50-Year Career

Exploring John Cleese's recent projects and personal revelations.

by Nouman Rasool
John Cleese Claims He's 'Surprisingly Poor' After 50-Year Career
© Clemens Bilan/Getty Images

Monty Python legend John Cleese has opened up about the money woes that see him working deep into his 80s, from a costly divorce that nearly killed his finances. Not that he's had a bad career over five decades, but Cleese joked about his current financial status in an upcoming issue of Saga Magazine.

At 84, Cleese is as busy as ever with a slew of new creative projects; from the release of the Fawlty Towers stage show in the West End of London to many others on his jam-packed itinerary. This one is adapted from three episodes of the sitcom classic he made with Connie Booth.

Additionally, Cleese is developing a stage adaptation of the Monty Python film "Life of Brian," a musical rendition of his hit movie "A Fish Called Wanda," and he has also been hosting "The Dinosaur Hour" on GB News.

Driven by Divorce

In the interview, Cleese candidly discusses his motivations for continuing to work instead of enjoying a quieter life of retirement.

He highlights the financial aftermath of his third marriage's dissolution as a primary motivator. Cleese and his former wife, American psychotherapist Alyce Faye Eichelberger, ended their 16-year marriage in 2008. The divorce concluded with Eichelberger receiving a $20 million settlement, a sum that Cleese humorously toured to raise, dubbing his series of performances "The Alimony Tour." Reflecting on the changes in his life post-divorce, Cleese shares a stark contrast in his living situations, from owning a mortgage-free home in Holland Park to shouldering a full mortgage on a flat in Sloane Square.

His bafflement over the settlement's size is evident as he quips about the court’s valuation of his former spouse. Concluding his reflections, Cleese emphasizes the simplicity of his needs: good food, occasional new clothes, and enjoyable holidays.

His statement "But I’m surprisingly poor," delivered with his characteristic dry wit, underscores a life of changed priorities and continued public engagement. The full interview, providing deeper insights into Cleese's life and upcoming projects, will be available in the May 2024 edition of Saga Magazine, set to release next week.

This feature promises to offer a blend of humor, honesty, and the unique charm that has defined John Cleese's enduring appeal.