Dawn French recalls being 'utterly allergic' to her mum for 'a long time'

She has spoken before about her quarrelsome relationship with her 26-year-old daughter Billie.

But Dawn French has now opened up about a similar fractious friendship she shared with her own mother, Felicity “Roma” O’Brien, who passed away in 2012.

Dawn French has recalled feeling “allergic” to her mum. <em>Copyright [Sunday Night]</em>
Dawn French has recalled feeling “allergic” to her mum. Copyright [Sunday Night]

Speaking at a screening of the second series of Sky 1’s Delicious, the Vicar of Dibley actress is quoted by Mail Online as saying: “I remember my own relationship with my own mother and the warring that we had.

“And I firmly believe that it is kind of part of human nature to fight with your mother, because otherwise how do you separate?

“When you have to tear apart, and that must happen, it would kill you. The grief would kill you.

Dawn French’s mother Roma. <em>Copyright [Mike Alsford/REX/Shutterstock]</em>
Dawn French’s mother Roma. Copyright [Mike Alsford/REX/Shutterstock]

“So you start the warring early on and I remember being utterly allergic to my mum for a long time, and then realising that she was my dearest … and that she was going to always have my back.

“I kind of had to travel through that to the other side of it.”

Dawn put her career on hold in 2012 to care for her mother, but she sadly passed away from terminal lung cancer just three months into the year, leaving the actress heart-broken.

Then and Now: Dawn French in 2005 and 2017. <em>Copyright [Ken McKay/ITV/REX/Shutterstock – Scott Myers/REX/Shutterstock]</em>
Then and Now: Dawn French in 2005 and 2017. Copyright [Ken McKay/ITV/REX/Shutterstock – Scott Myers/REX/Shutterstock]

Following Felicity’s passing and despite their previous disputes, Dawn admitted her mum was the “most amazing woman”.

She said: “My mum was the most amazing woman who had a quietly remarkable life but helped many, many people.

“If I had even a quarter of my mother’s strength I’d be extremely grateful. That would get me through, most certainly.”

Dawn French, Sir Lenny Henry and their daughter Billie in 2005. <em>Copyright [Alan Davidson / Silverhub/REX/Shutterstock]</em>
Dawn French, Sir Lenny Henry and their daughter Billie in 2005. Copyright [Alan Davidson / Silverhub/REX/Shutterstock]

Dawn has now admitted she hopes her daughter Billie – who she adopted with her ex-husband Sir Lenny Henry – will “get to the other side” of their relationship “one day”.

She said: “I am always hoping that might be the case with my own daughter and one day we might get to the other side. Time will tell.”

Dawn and Lenny married in 1984 but divorced in 2010, and she recently recalled the couple suffered from horrific racial abuse during their time together, including people putting excrement on their door, and vandalising their car.

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