Richard E Grant thanks well-wishers  after death of wife

‘Overwhelmed by the messages of love, condolence and support’: Richard E Grant thanks well-wishers after death of wife of 35 years Joan Washington, 71, as he says grief has hit him ‘like a tsunami’

  • The actor, 64, shared a montage of family photos on Twitter with a message thanking loved ones and fans
  • They had been married for 35 years after meeting at an actors’ studio before she passed away last night
  • Richard said ‘To be truly known and seen by you, is your immeasurable gift. Do not forget us.’

Richard E Grant today thanked well-wishers for their support after the death of his wife Joan at the age of 71 after 35 years of marriage – as he said grief had hit him ‘like a tsunami’. 

The actor, 64, shared a montage of family photos on Twitter with the message: ‘Overwhelmed by the messages of love, condolence & support we have received from loved ones & strangers from all over the world & the appreciation from actors Joan taught over the years. 

‘Grief hits us like tsunamis as we try and put one foot in front of the other without her.’ 

Joan, a voice coach from Aberdeen, met Grant at the start of his career in 1986 and the pair have been together ever since.

The Withnail and I star revealed Joan passed away on Friday in an emotional tribute that included a 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.’ 

The pair had overcome tragedy in their life and spoke publicly about how their first child together sadly died after just half an hour.

Joan had suffered multiple miscarriages but had been determined they would keep trying after seeing how good her husband had been with her son from a previous relationship Tom.

Then in 1989 she fell pregnant with daughter Olivia after telling him ‘Fatherhood suits you. You’re very good at it’.

The actor, 64, shared a montage of family photos on Twitter with a sweet message. Right: Grant and Joan attend the EE British Academy Film Awards at Royal Albert Hall

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

Richard and Joan pictured with Olivia at the film premiere of Spiceworld, which Richard had played a role

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

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.

‘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. 

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

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

Their close knit family would often attend events together, such as the Baftas here in 2019 with Olivia, Richard and Joan 

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

Sanjeev Bhaskar and Dawn French led Twitter tributes to Joan, giving their condolences to Richard and his family

Actress Tamzin Outhwaite and writer Irvine Welsh also gave kind words in memory of Joan and her legacy

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.

Joan in her earlier years as she rose to fame as one of the industry’s best voice coaches, working with stars around the world

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

Hollywood star Jessica Chastain posted a tribute along with a picture of her and Joan holding what looked to be a script

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).

Comedians Sarah Millican, Dawn French and David Baddiel were among those sending messages of support, along with actress Eva Pope.

Nigella Lawson said: ‘What a wonderful woman Joan Washington was. And how devastating to have to say “was”. 

‘My heart’s broken for Richard E Grant and Olivia. May her memory be a blessing.’

Jessica Chastain said: My heart is broken. Joan Washington had such a profound impact on me, yes as an artist, but mostly as a woman. I’ve looked toward her.

‘Her strive towards excellence made her the celebrated dialect coach she was.’ 

Pope, who appeared in Coronation Street, wrote: ‘Oh my heart aches for you….deep condolences Richard. She taught me in that very house..’

Sanjeev Bhaskar wrote: ‘Rest in peace Joan, glorious friend. Condolences and love to Richard and Olivia’, while Dawn French added: ‘Joan Washington will always be remembered by those of us who knew her and were taught by her, as a phenomenal woman. So much love to Richard E Grant and all the family.’

Actress Tamzin Outhwaite wrote; ‘Oh Richard, I am so sorry. From afar yours looked like the most beautiful love affiar.

‘Sending you and Olivia my deepest condolences.’

Writer Irvine Welsh added: ‘Oh Richard, I’m so sorry to hear about Joan. Such a terrific person.’

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