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Freeman Divorce Ends Another Famous Marriage


Three months after Al and Tipper Gore shocked friends and the public with news that they were ending their 40-year-marriage, Morgan Freeman and Myrna Colley-Lee finalized their divorce after nearly 30 years together. A recent Esquire report reveals far fewer 20-year-old men believe long-term monogamy is a reasonable expectation than their 50-year old counterparts. Are the divorces of famous celebrity couples having an impact?

Morgan Freeman

Will news of Morgan Freeman’s divorce lead CBS producers to replace the actor’s famous voice from the introduction to the CBS Evening News with Katie Couric?

By Todd McFliker

Three months after Al and Tipper Gore surprised many with the announcement of a pending divorce after 40 years of marriage, veteran actor Morgan Freeman and Myrna Colley-Lee finalized the end of their nearly thirty year marriage with a divorce granted in Jackson, Mississippi this week.  The pair separated in December of 2007.

William R. Wright, an attorney who represents the 73-year-old Freeman, said that the terms of the divorce are sealed.  In other words, the reason and the details for the split remain private.  Stories of Freeman having a scandalous affair have circulated around Hollywood.  “It was done without a trial,” Wright said on Friday.  “Everybody is glad it’s over…  He is just happy that they can both move on.”

Both Freeman and Colley-Lee live in Tallahatchie County in northern Mississippi.  The Million Dollar Baby Academy Award winner has a ranch near Charleston, Mississippi and Colley-Lee works as a theater and costume designer for movies.  The two were wed in the summer of 1984.

Earlier this year, Freeman replaced the late Walter Cronkite as the familiar, trusting voice that welcomes viewers each night to the CBS News with Katie Couric.

Colley-Lee’s lawyer, Kay Farese Turner, said Friday that both parties “were relieved and pleased with the terms of the settlement.”  Turner explained that her client will remain in Mississippi, as she is active in the Charleston area schools and their arts programs.

Myrna Colley-Lee was Freeman’s second wife.  The famous actor was married to Jeanette Adair Bradshaw from 1967 to 1979.  He is the father of two sons from previous relationships before he married Bradshaw.  Freeman legally adopted Bradshaw’s daughter and the couple had his fourth child together.  Freeman and Colley-Lee have no children together.

Tabloids and Hollywood gossip columns are awash with stories attributing Freeman’s divorce to a long-affair with a relative 46 years his junior that he and Colley-Lee helped raise.

While the recent Esquire 2010 Survey of American Men revealed that 81 percent of 50-year-old men believe lifelong monogamy is a realistic expectation for a married couple, only 64 percent of 20-year-olds agreed. Break-ups of long-term celebrity marriages such as the Freemans and Gores may be part of the reason.

As news of the famous actor’s divorce reaches the mainstream media along with widely circulated accusations of the cause, it will be interesting to see how long CBS producers continue using his voice to introduce Katie Couric each evening.

A newlywed, Todd McFliker is an award-winning reporter, photographer, and the author of All You Need is Love to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb. He earned his Masters in Communication from Lynn University.