Dawn French is well known for her role as the Vicar of Dibley, her novels and as half the comedy duo act with Jennifer Saunders. But how much do you know about Dawn French's husband Mark Bignell? They have been happily married since 2013 and Dawn recently revealed how the pair met.
Who is Dawn French's husband Mark Bignell?
Dawn French married her second husband, Mark Bignell in 2013. Mark Bignell is co-founder of Hamoaze House, a charity that supports recovering drug abusers and alcoholics to rehabilitate and reintegrate into society.
Mark was born in Birmingham on the 31st of March 1965 (age 57 years) which makes him six years younger than Dawn. Mark works as a therapist and co-founded Hamoaze House, together with Dawn's late mother, Roma French.
How did Dawn and Mark meet?
Dawn and Mark were first acquainted through her late mother. When asked how the pair met on Jessie Ware’s podcast 'Table Manners', Dawn gushed, “it was rather good.”
She went on to explain: “When my mother retired, he became the chief exec of Hamoaze House and at that time I was writing my novel. In my novel, I was writing a character that was a bit of a coke head.” Whilst researching the character, her mother referred her to have a chat with Mark.
Dawn had told Saga magazine that Mark initially didn't know who she was despite her being one of the most famous faces on British television. She laughed, "I'm not boasting, but you'd actually have to have not watched television for the past 20 years to have avoided me, and he'd managed to do just that."
In 2010, Dawn had just split from comedian Lenny Henry after 25 years of marriage and said: "I 100 per cent thought I would be on my own – but that didn’t bother me. I was enjoying having time to myself. I thought it would be sad if I didn’t have a cuddle with somebody again… but I didn’t need to live vicariously through a man and I didn’t need a knight in shining armour, I’m not sentimental like that. In my head I was thinking, ‘I’m not really that interested’".
The actress had told our sister title Closer magazine that at the time of her split with Lenny she hadn't been searching for love when she met Mark. Nevertheless, when they started chatting something bizarre happened.
“As he starts to talk about his children, his beloved children who went to live with him when he got divorced, no word of a lie, behind him, out in the world, there was a cloud, but the sun came out from behind the cloud and sunbeams like from God came in through the window and bounced off the wall back on him.”
“I literally go from just listening, to, ‘Oh my God, look at him'.”
Dawn said she left the room with butterflies in her stomach and was “feeling fluttery.”
On the podcast she continued saying that she called up her mother and said she had a bit of a sweet spot for Mark. But at first, her mother Roma answered abruptly saying that he was “far too young” for her, with him being six years younger than Dawn.
Her mother then called her back apologising saying that he was her friend, and it would be a bit weird, but of course, she would like him. Roma told her that after her brother and her dad, Mark was her favourite man in the world.
When Dawn explained how the sun silhouetted him in the room, her mother said that it was a sign from her dad, who had died when she was only nineteen.
Sadly, Dawn’s mum died shortly after at age 77. Her mother had said to Dawn in the end, “I feel like now I can go because now you’ve got him [Mark]."
The pair dated for 16 months before getting married.
Here's Dawn revealing all about the proposal to Graham Norton.
When did they marry?
Dawn and Mark were married in 2013 at The Scarlet Hotel near Newquay, Cornwall.
The intimate ceremony was confirmed on Facebook by The Garden Gate Flower Company who produced the flowers for their wedding day. They uploaded a photo of bouquets and wrote: “The news is out, our secret wedding at the weekend was for the marvellous Dawn French and Mark Bignell! We provided 50 jam jar arrangements for each of the bedrooms. How amazing. Congratulations Dawn and Mark.”
Some of the guests included singer Alison Moyet, Love Actually and Bridget Jones’ director Richard Curtis and the other half of Dawn's comedy duo, Jennifer Saunders, who gushed that Mark was “completely delightful”.
A source recalled that: “It was an incredible wedding and Dawn looked beautiful and didn’t stop smiling all day.
The couple have been married now for nine years and live in Dawn’s £3 million home in Fowey, Cornwall with their pet dog and cat Goodie and Mowzer.
Here's Dawn chatting on Loose Women all about Mark's interesting wardrobe choices!
Mark Bignell's charity work and recently appointed MBE
Dawn French’s husband has been recently appointed an MBE on the New Year Honours list. Mark was given the award for 'services to people with problematic use of alcohol and other substances in Plymouth '