Lonely John Cleese flees Monaco... and flogs all Wife No 4's furniture! Mystery over star's online fire sale of luxury flat's contents
- Cleese's move back to UK will make him liable to pay a year's tax
- A friend said he was 'lonely and found it hard to plug into the culture
- Items listed on a website are being sold at 'deeply discounted prices'
- They include a mahogany dining table and set of ice-blue velvet chairs
Back in the UK: John Cleese and his wife Jennifer Wade
It has 300 days of sunshine a year, drips with glamour and has been a tax-free haven for 130 years.
Which is why comedy legend John Cleese must have celebrated when, last year, he won permission to become one of Monaco’s 32,000 pampered citizens.
Faced with crippling alimony bills, the move looked like a financial blessing for Cleese, 73, and his fourth wife Jennifer Wade, 42.
But now the couple have surprised everyone by giving up their Monaco home and returning – at some speed – to London.
What’s more, the pair are conducting an online fire sale of the furniture and artworks left behind in the principality.
Cleese might be glad of the additional funds as, financially, the timing of his about-turn couldn’t be worse. By leaving Monaco before the start of the new tax year, he is liable to pay an entire year’s tax to the Inland Revenue, the very thing he was said to be keen to avoid.
So why the sudden change of heart? One friend told The Mail on Sunday: ‘John went to Monaco for tax reasons but the truth is he was very lonely. In London, he has a tight network of friends who love and support him. His French isn’t very good and he found it hard to plug into the culture.’
The plush apartment the couple shared in Monte Carlo’s exclusive Carré d’Or area has already been re-let, meaning Cleese and his wife must have the place clear by April 1.
Which is presumably why they are now selling designer furniture and ‘select pieces’ from their art collection there. The items, listed on a hastily put-together advert which appeared on the Monaco Life website last week, are being sold at ‘deeply discounted prices’.
They include a mahogany dining table and set of ice-blue velvet covered chairs for €3,000 (£2,632) by Hollywood designer Christopher Guy, as well as a garish pearl-white sofa, also by Guy, and a Le Corbusier-style, pony-skin chaise longue, both for €3,000.
Last week, Cleese was seen on the King’s Road near the luxurious home he bought for £1.45million in 2010. Publisher Random House have granted Cleese an extension on the memoirs he is writing, now due out next year.
After initially struggling, he is said to be finding it easier to write with friends around him.
One major source of Cleese’s woes is wife number three, Alyce Faye Eichelberger. Following a 19-month court battle in America, he was told to pay £8million in cash and assets to Eichelberger, plus £612,000 a year for the next seven years, despite the couple having no children together.
The ruling is thought to have reduced his fortune to around £10million. The former Monty Python star also had to sell the couple’s ocean-front California home, his beloved 14.6-acre ranch in Santa Barbara, an apartment in New York and a mews flat in London.
The crippling divorce costs saw Cleese head out on the road last year with his stand-up comedy Alimony tour. Friends were hopeful that in marrying Ms Wade, in Mustique on August 2 last year, he had turned a corner, yet are concerned he’s now feeling the strain of his work load.
A source said one reason for the couple’s return is that Jennifer, a keen swimmer, found the Monaco home’s communal pool too small.
A spokesman for Mr Cleese said: ‘John and Jennifer are delighted to call London home once again and look forward to spending many happy years together in their favourite city.’
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