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Richard E Grant prepares to spend his first Christmas without wife Joan

Richard E Grant admitted he has been feeling ‘sentimental’ in the run up to his first Christmas without his beloved wife Joan.   

Joan tragically passed away in September aged 74 eight months after she was diagnosed with lung cancer. 

Speaking to Radio Times ahead of his first festive period as a widower, he noted: ‘It’s a sentimental time of year. I’ve kept every decoration our daughter made for the tree when she was a child and adolescent.’

Upsetting: Richard E Grant admitted he was feeling ‘sentimental’ as he prepares to spend his first Christmas without wife Joan following her death from lung cancer

The couple married in 1986 and share a daughter, Olivia, and a stepson, Tom, from Washington’s previous relationship. 

Despite losing his wife earlier in the year, the actor revealed he will be making the most of the coming weeks as it’s his favourite time of the year. 

He explained: ‘I love Christmas, I put up the tree on 1st December, take it down on 12th night, it’s on for six weeks. I like all of it, the parties and celebration, having people round, decorating your house and lights. Everything.’  

Yet he hinted this year will be a more subdued affair, seeming inclined to withdraw to the home in the Cotswolds where he and his wife spent Christmases, to indulge in nostalgia. 

‘Christmas is the perfect excuse to watch stuff you’ve loved all your life, because it takes you back to the first time you ever saw it,’ he mused. ‘Every time I see Mary Poppins, I feel I’m seven, or The Sound of Music, I feel like I’m five. That’s the delight of it.’ 

Heartbreaking: Joan tragically passed away in September aged 74 eight months after she was diagnosed with lung cancer

Heartbreaking: Joan tragically passed away in September aged 74 eight months after she was diagnosed with lung cancer

Following his wife’s passing in September, Richard  thanked well-wishers for their support – as he said grief had hit him ‘like a tsunami’.

He shared a montage of family photos on Twitter with the message: ‘Overwhelmed by the messages of love, condolence & support we have received from loved ones & strangers from all over the world & the appreciation from actors Joan taught over the years.

Out now: Read Richard's full interview in December's Radio Times, out now

Out now: Read Richard’s full interview in December’s Radio Times, out now 

‘Grief hits us like tsunamis as we try and put one foot in front of the other without her.’

Joan, a voice coach from Aberdeen, met Grant at the start of his career in 1986 and the pair have been together ever since.

The Withnail and I star revealed Joan passed away in an emotional tribute that included a video of the pair dancing together and laughing before they embraced along to the song Only You by The Platters.

Richard wrote: ‘ONLY YOU! Joan – Love of my Life & Giver of Life to our daughter Olivia.

‘Our hearts are broken with the loss of your Life last night. 35 years married & 38 together.

‘To be truly known and seen by you, is your immeasurable gift. Do not forget us, sweet Monkee-mine.’

Emotional: Richard thanked well-wishers for their support after the death of his wife Joan at the age of 71 - as he said grief had hit him 'like a tsunami'

 Emotional: Richard thanked well-wishers for their support after the death of his wife Joan at the age of 71 – as he said grief had hit him ‘like a tsunami’

The pair had overcome tragedy in their life and spoke publicly about how their first child together sadly died after just half an hour.

Joan had suffered multiple miscarriages but had been determined they would keep trying after seeing how good her husband had been with her son from a previous relationship Tom.

Then in 1989 she fell pregnant with daughter Olivia after telling him ‘Fatherhood suits you. You’re very good at it’.

Richard is also step-father to Tom, 44, from Joan’s previous marriage.

Touching: Joan, daughter Olivia Grant and Richard E Grant smile happily this family picture taken back in 2007

Touching: Joan, daughter Olivia Grant and Richard E Grant smile happily this family picture taken back in 2007

Washington, from Aberdeen, trained at the Central School of Speech and Drama and had nearly 40 years’ experience in the film industry as a voice and dialect coach, working with stars including Anne Hathaway, Vanessa Redgrave and Emma Stone.

Among her early projects in the mid-80s were Yentl starring Barbra Streisand, Highlander, and The Bounty, featuring Mel Gibson and Sir Anthony Hopkins.

Recent years saw her work on features such as The Witches, where she coached Hathaway for the part of the Grand High Witch, and Yorgos Lanthimos’ black comedy The Favourite, where she worked with Stone.

In a joint interview with the Independent in 2011, Grant recalled them meeting for the first time.

He said: ‘I met her at the Actors’ Centre in London. She was wearing a boiler suit and had fairly short, cropped hair and Kicker shoes, and was chain-smoking, which I thought was insane.

‘She was teaching an accent session with a bunch of actors, and I thought she had the most wonderful voice and huge, sort of monkey eyes. She seemed fairly frenetic.

‘I thought that she was really cute and all that. It was December 1982.’ 

Mr and Mrs: Richard and Joan are pictured on their wedding day 35 years ago in a snap posted by the actor to mark their anniversary

Mr and Mrs: Richard and Joan are pictured on their wedding day 35 years ago in a snap posted by the actor to mark their anniversary


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