Racists tried to burn down Dawn French and Lenny Henry's house

Dawn French and her ex-husband Lenny Henry once employed security to protect them and their adopted mixed-race daughter from racists who were attacking them at their home.

A stranger put an oily rag through their front door and tried to burn their house down, but it wasn’t their only frightening brush with violent racists.

Dawn French says racists tried to burn down house while she was married to Lenny Henry

Speaking to The Sunday Times, the comedian said: “I never thought, ‘Oh, look at me in a mixed-race relationship!’ I fell in love with a man and he happened to be black and we adopted a mixed-race daughter. I only realised it was an issue when there was hatred from utter t****s.

“I had to attend to it when people tried to burn our house down and left s**t on the door. But although that was hugely disappointing and shocking, you have to get past it.”

The couple were married for 25 years before their separation in 2010, and adopted their daughter Billie in 1991.

Dawn French and Lenny Henry needed security after racists tried to burn down their house

But Dawn puts it down to being an occupational hazzard and a sign of the times, adding: “It was just us living in our time and doing our jobs and being the people we were.”

She added that the experiences “make you steel up a bit and think, ‘Bring it on. I can deal with this.’ ”

“It wasn’t brave, it was just doing the right thing.

“And we were lucky we had a big house and a gate and could employ people to protect us when we needed it. Lots of mixed-race couples weren’t so lucky.”

Dawn French and Lenny Henry needed security after racists tried to burn down their house

Dawn – who recalls the experiences in her new book Me. You. A Diary – also revealed she became a comedian because politically correct males wanted desperately wanted women in the comedy circuit.

Speaking about her partnership with Jennifer Saunders, she said: “The PC, non-sexist 1980s male comedians desperately, desperately wanted women there. We only got the job with the Comic Strip because we were women. We didn’t know what we were doing. We’d never done it as a profession, we fell into it. That serendipity thing happened all the way through.”

Dawn French and Lenny Henry needed security after racists tried to burn down their house

And the Vicar of Dibley star slammed female reality stars today, who get drunk and have sex to be famous.

The 59-year-old actress said: “I am shocked by how they behave. These girls are preloading with vodka, primping, helping each other get ready.

“You reckon they want to meet someone who would love, cherish and respect them. But instead they go out and get utterly hammered and are s****ing in a bush and coming out and going “Yes!”, like men.”