John Cleese says ‘tsunami of debt’ after divorce settlement triggered breakdown

John Cleese felt like a “tsunami of debt” was going to engulf him once he had settled for divorce from Alyce Faye Eichelberger.

After 15 years of marriage, the Fawlty Towers star and the psychotherapist went their separate ways, but not before Alyce, 78, was awarded $20million (£15.5million) in a 2008 settlement.

In a new interview John, 84, has opened up about how the divorce led him to suffer a nervous breakdown and discussed how it feels to complete multiple stand-up comedy shows across the globe.

The BAFTA-winning actor told The Times: “The reason I am working so hard is, mainly, the divorce.

“[The settlement] was $20 million. What I’ve been doing since then is to try to build a nest egg and it hasn’t been easy.”

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He then admitted that he had a “nervous breakdown in 2012” before claiming: “It just felt that there was this tsunami of debt coming my way.”

Earlier this year, MailOnline reported that John still harboured some ill feelings towards Alyce.

It’s reported that during a one-man show in Singapore, he projected a picture of the American on a giant screen and explained: “This is my ex-wife on her regular morning stroll, going to collect her alimony.

“Do you know I had to pay her $20 million? Can you believe that? 20! No children. 20 million. The awful thing about that is that you give them 10, then you’ve still got another 10 to go.”

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He continued to say that if Alyce had been “satisfied with a mere $15 million” he wouldn’t be “forced” to go on being a “huge international megastar, a comedy icon, a national institution, a living legend”.

It’s reported that Alyce and John met back in 1990 when they attended a party in London together.

At the time the Monty Python actor’s second marriage to Barbara Trentham had just ended. The 78-year-old Alyce later claimed the pair had “a lot in common” at the time of their meet.

Two years later, the pair married in a ceremony held in Barbados and eventually moved to California together.

15 years on from their divorce, John is now married to 43-year-old Jennifer Wade – a woman credited to have “rescued” the comedian from the “tidal wave”.

“It was Fish who rescued me,” said the 84-year-old, who reportedly calls Jenny ‘Fish’ due to her being a keen swimmer.

The couple have been together for 11 years, and John claims to love the “sheer cosiness of sitting in the flat” with her whilst “playing with the cats”.

“We have four and they are a huge part of our life,” he claimed.

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