World News – GB – Dawn French proud to be part of a «  blended family  » and makes «  no distinction  »


EXCLUSIVE: Dawn French talks about her experiences as a « blended family » and her brand new book revolves around what it means to « belong » to the family, whether you are related or not

She designates her own daughter, her two stepchildren and her godchildren as her « beloved ones » – and she loves them all fiercely

« Family is everything to me », says actress, writer and comedian « This is where I know I belong I am a mother of three children who are no longer children and this is my plus great challenge and also my greatest pleasure « 

Dawn adopted daughter Billie, 29, with her first husband Lenny Henry, while her second husband, charity leader Mark Bignell, provided her with stepchildren Lily, 29, and Olly, 26 years

Although the star is always attentive to their birth mother, she rarely calls them her stepchildren

Like much of the country, the family spent much more time together than usual during the lockdown

« I was home with my daughters and my husband, » says Dawn « My son was 20 minutes down the road with his girlfriend It was curious because it’s normally just my husband and I

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« We made the most of it We spent a lot of time together and there was a lot of cooking, talking and watching TV

« We are very lucky to live in Cornwall so we had lots of fresh air and some great walks »

Dawn has written a fourth novel that explores her ideas on what it means to ‘belong’ to a family, whether or not you are related by blood.

Because of You is the heartbreaking but uplifting story of Hope, who robs a baby girl from a hospital after her own is stillborn and raises her as hers

The book is dedicated to: « My children, Billie, Lils and Olly, because it’s all about being a mom »

Dawn says she had thought long and hard about motherhood for years before deciding to become a mom herself

Her mother Roma, who died in 2012, was a charity worker who played a role in finding foster and adoption homes for the children

Dawn, 63, spoke often of her mother’s ideas and wisdom « I have been mothered incredibly well, » she said « We often fought but we always fell back You’re supposed to rebel , and that’s good

« We were very close I have now entered the matriarchal position in my family, and I do so with his training and guidance in my pocket »

“My mom was very involved in placement and adoption,” she says “She’s been on many panels and we’ve talked about it a lot. All I know is that those who love you and raising you is very important, as are your birth parents

« Of course I bring a bit of my lived experience into everything I write, but the main thing is my imagination I love studying big themes – this is another big family theme , belonging and identity « 

It’s certainly Dawn faced a formidable challenge to make her main character sympathetic.The scene in which Hope loses her own baby is heartbreaking, and Dawn was determined to do the matter justice by doing extensive research.

« I spoke to people I know who had this tragic experience at birth It was hard to do but I tried to write this in the most tender way possible The truth is, when something so devastating happens to you you undoubtedly fracture a bit, and that gave me a reason why Hope could do what she is doing

« I wanted to challenge my readers with a little moral dilemma These are delicate things. Was this child finally raised in the right family? Did she land in the right place? « 

The novel also touches on how new partners are accepted into the family – what Dawn says she’s happy to do in real life. « Love anyone who loves your children, » she says, « and that’s the whole point of expanding your family, isn’t it? This is the natural order « 

Next, Dawn wants to expand her family even more, with the prospect of grandchildren

Her appetite for granny was whetted thanks to her comedy partner and close friend Jennifer Saunders, who has several grandchildren

« I’m ready! » Dawn announces « I’m a grandmother on hold I’m not pushing, but I’m ready when my kids are ready I’m looking forward to it »

A sweet moment in Because of You comes when Hope goes by the names she would like to be called when she becomes a grandmother – including Queen, Momma, Gramma and Your Highness

Has Dawn made a decision as to what she would like to be called when the time comes?

« No I haven’t yet, » she said laughing « They should really choose, with a little bit of advice If Smelly is the first thing that comes out of their mouths, maybe I can edit that, but just about anything else will do. ”When the lockdown eased, Dawn and Jennifer got together to record their Audible podcast, in French & Saunders: Titting About

« She lives pretty close to me, Jen, and we went to a fantastic studio that we know in Plymouth and we sat down and… titties, » says Dawn

« It was lucky for us to be in each other’s company which is my idea of ​​the most fun I could have had

« There was a fantastic response and they are asking us to do another series so we’ll have to try and find the time to fit it in. I’m really up for this »

Now that her children have left their quarters, life is back to normal and Dawn and Mark are living alone with their dog Goodie and their cat Mowzer

And that’s mostly how Dawn likes it, with a lot of writing, a lot of beach walks and the odd spoonful of loud company « Usually it’s just the two of us and the visitor strange, so it’s pretty quiet and I like it « , she says » I’m a functional introvert « 

When asked, she says, she likes to do the “gregarious, big and strutting stuff” we know her for – “but I’m 98% hermit and happy”

She adds, « The dog and the cat are wonderful companions The dog sits behind me as I write We vary between calm and just the two of us, then big gangs and families on Sunday It’s always very fun to be with my beloved ones « 

Dawn French, Mark Bignell, Lenny Henry, Billie Henry

World News – GB – Dawn French is proud to be part of a « blended family » and does « no distinction »



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