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Richard E. Grant reveals mantra he lives by following the death of his wife Joan

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Richard E. Grant has revealed the ‘amazing mantra’ he has lived by since the death of his late wife Joan Washington.

Joan, a renowned dialect coach, died after a battle with cancer in September 2021 aged 74. 

The actor, 65, told how his wife gave him words to live by in the days before she died which has helped him deal with the ‘abyss of grief’ ever since.

Speaking on The Zoe Ball Breakfast Show with Helena Bonham Carter, he said: ‘She said to me four days before she died, she said to my daughter and I, “I know that you’re going to be sad but try and find a pocketful of happiness in each day”.

‘It’s been an amazing mantra to navigate the abyss of grief in the last 15 months and I’m grateful for that.’

Richard E. Grant reveals mantra he lives by following the death of his wife Joan

Interview: Richard E. Grant has revealed the ‘amazing mantra’ he has lived by since the death of his late wife Joan Washington

Helena, who previously starred with Richard in the 1997 film Keep the Aspidistra Flying, praised her friend for how he has dealt with his wife’s passing.

She said: ‘I’ve just got to say, I’m in awe of how Rich has dealt with the last 18 months. Most people would be floored, and poleaxed and not be able to function. 

‘And yet you somehow… I don’t know. There is something slightly abnormal about Rich. 

‘I think if we took him apart, we’d find an extra part there or something extra he’s got. And Joan herself said he’s not normal.’

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She added: ‘No, but you just are extraordinary and a phenomenon. What you’ve done since – most people wouldn’t be able to function. But you’ve taken each day and tried to live it and thank God for her message.’

It comes after Richard share an emotional tribute to Joan in a candid video message back in December.

In the video he spoke almost to himself as he gazed off into the distance with tears in his eyes. 

He said: ‘It’s my late wife’s posthumous birthday today and I have been scrolling through all our photographs of our 38 years together’.

Heartbreaking: Joan, a renowned dialect coach, died after a battle with cancer in September 2021 aged 74 (pictured together in 2019)

Heartbreaking: Joan, a renowned dialect coach, died after a battle with cancer in September 2021 aged 74 (pictured together in 2019)

Richard said: 'She said to me four days before she died, she said to my daughter and I, "I know that you're going to be sad but try and find a pocketful of happiness in each day"'

Richard said: ‘She said to me four days before she died, she said to my daughter and I, “I know that you’re going to be sad but try and find a pocketful of happiness in each day”‘

Candid: Helena Bonham Carter, who previously starred with Richard in the 1997 film Keep the Aspidistra Flying, praised her friend for how he has dealt with his wife's passing

Candid: Helena Bonham Carter, who previously starred with Richard in the 1997 film Keep the Aspidistra Flying, praised her friend for how he has dealt with his wife’s passing

‘You look and look and look and still try and look and the time is fixed and you read into things’.

He continued: ‘The last eight months of her life as she so determinately put on a brave face, it’s just so heart breaking’.

‘The wonderful trick of memory is, is that I remember her now in the prime of her life and I’m still in denial that she is not here.

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He captioned the candid video: ‘In denial even though I know what I know’.

Emotional: It comes after Richard share a tribute to Joan in a candid video message back in December

Emotional: It comes after Richard share a tribute to Joan in a candid video message back in December 

He also shared a snap of his beloved partner which was taken on her last birthday December 21 2020.

Joan looked elegant in a dark coat and smiled for the camera in a grand room for the festive season.

Richard wrote: ‘Taken on her last ever birthday, 21st December, my beloved late wife Joan’. 

Speaking to Radio Times about her passing, he said: ‘The hardest part is in the evening, when I can’t FaceTime Joan and tell her about the minutiae of my day. 

Candid: In the video he spoke almost to himself as he gazed off into the distance

Tearful: he had tears in his eyes

Candid: In the video he spoke almost to himself as he gazed off into the distance with tears in his eyes

Memory: He captioned the candid video: 'In denial even though I know what I know'

Memory: He captioned the candid video: ‘In denial even though I know what I know’

‘I have an ongoing conversation with her in my head, knowing there will be no reciprocity.’

Richard told how he misses Joan more around the winter period during Christmas and their wedding anniversary in November.

He said: ‘Our wedding anniversary is on 1 November; Joan’s birthday is on 21 December; there’s Christmas Day and then Oilly’s [his nickname for his daughter Olivia] birthday is 4 January. 

‘Last year, Oilly and her partner Florian very generously invited me to Venice and then to visit his family in the south of Austria, which was absolutely magical. 

‘This year I’m going with the two of them to the Caribbean, so that I’m not in London at Christmas.’ 



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