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Richard E Grant’s wife of 35 years Joan Washington dies

Richard E Grant said his heart was broken as he announced his devoted wife Joan has died aged 71 alongside a moving video of them dancing together.

Joan, a voice coach, passed away last night, the Withnail and I actor revealed in an emotional tribute.

He posted a poignant 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.’

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

Grant married voice coach Joan Washington in 1986 and a daughter with her and a stepson before she died last night

Grant married voice coach Joan Washington in 1986 and a daughter with her and a stepson before she died last night

Richard wrote online 'To be truly known and seen by you, is your immeasurable gift. Do not forget us, sweet Monkee-mine.'

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

Grant married voice coach Joan Washington in 1986 and has one daughter with her, Olivia, and a stepson, Tom. 

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. 

Richard and Joan on their wedding day 35 years ago in a picture posted by the actor to mark their anniversary

Richard and Joan on their wedding day 35 years ago in a picture posted by the actor to mark their anniversary

Last year Richard posted pictures of the pair celebrating their 34st wedding anniversary on his social media pages

Last year Richard posted pictures of the pair celebrating their 34st wedding anniversary on his social media pages

The devoted couple were seen at Wimbledon in 2019 enjoying themselves at the tennis

The devoted couple were seen at Wimbledon in 2019 enjoying themselves at the tennis

A picture of Olivia with her mother Joan was posted last year and shows their loving bond

A picture of Olivia with her mother Joan was posted last year and shows their loving bond

‘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.’

The actor has previously admitted he had not considered getting married until he had met her.

Speaking in an interview with The Independent, he explained: ‘I’d never really thought about getting married, didn’t think it was necessary. 

‘Joan had been married, and she had staunchly said to me that she didn’t want to get married again, and so we’d never talked about it.’ 

It wasn’t until the couple spent six weeks apart when Richard returned to his family home in southern Africa for a Christmas break that he realised marriage was the ultimate commitment.

The star proposed immediately upon his return and Joan happily accepted, with the couple going on to set up home together in Richmond, south-west London.

Richard added: ‘Before I got married, I didn’t hold any store by it. 

‘My parents were divorced when I was 11 and it made such a profound impression on my life that I suppose I thought that by not getting married, you could avoid your life being carved in two. But that changed.’

The couple went on to have one daughter, Olivia, 31, together, while Richard is a step-father to Tom, 44, from Joan’s previous marriage.

Tragically, Joan endured three miscarriages and the couple’s first child, Tiffany, died shortly after birth after being born prematurely. 

The actor has since described daughter Olivia as a ‘miracle baby’.

Posting a sweet Instagram montage of images to mark her birthday in January, he wrote: ‘Happy Birthday Olivia! You were a miracle baby and your Life is the greatest gift we’ve ever received!’ (sic)

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