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19-Apr-2017 18:16

Dawn French has married for a second time after tying the knot with new love Mark Bignell in a secret ceremony.

The comedienne – who got divorced from first husband Lenny Henry, 54, in 2010 – wed charity boss Mark, 49, in an intimate bash on the weekend.

Dawn French has opened up about the horrific racist abuse she endured during her 25-year marriage to Lenny Henry, saying that many of the attacks were “open”.

The comic actress, 60, revealed that the former couple were subject to “cowardly” and “ignorant” attacks during their time together, which included excrement being smeared on their doorstep. We had words scratched into every panel of every car - very offensive, derogatory, racist terminology.” French added: “That took me more by surprise because it's everywhere and only when you're married to a black man do you think 'Oh hang on, that guy just said that and thought it was OK'." They called it quits on their marriage in 2010, announcing that their separation was amicable.

Her entrance is wary, intentionally under-wattaged, designed to dispel fuss and thwart attention.

It is a world away from the larger-than-life Dawn French we all think we know…

Dawn has also been involved in producing books of knitting patterns, though she calls fashion "just another string in my bow; not an alternative to performing".

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‘There was a lovely ceremony at the hotel overlooking the sea and later people watched the sun go down as they enjoyed the first drinks of the evening. It was a perfect day for a perfect couple.’ Dawn has been dating Mark – who is the chief executive of the Hamoaze House charity, founded by Dawn’s mum before she passed away – for just over a year and she has previously spoken of her joy at finding love again. She’s the jolly, silly, chocolate-loving BBC1 staple of three decades, whose depiction of the Vicar of Dibley endowed her with a kind of halo.Yet when she enters through the grand doors of Fowey Hall, a smart hotel just up the road from her Venetian villa above a gorgeous Cornish beach, I don’t immediately know it’s her.Her childhood memories are fond though, especially of her father, who she says "taught me to value myself".