French and Saunders – Dawn French and Jennifer Saunders – are one of the most famous comedy duos in the world, and they’re also best friends. The pair started their careers together, back in 1982 on The Comic Strip Presents, and continued to climb the entertainment ladder with their 1987 series French and Saunders, and various comedy spoofs of films.
But Dawn has admitted that that hasn’t stopped her from feeling jealousy over some of Jennifer’s other, separate career successes.
Speaking on a podcast with Glamour magazine, Dawn told the story of the time she learned that she’d be adopting a child with former husband Lenny Henry, and so had to quit a sketch show with Jennifer in the middle of filming. However, leaving her career meant that, when Jennifer went on to reap huge professional success with Absolutely Fabulous (one of her first solo projects) it left Dawn with a bitter taste in her mouth…
She said “She goes on with Ab Fab. Ab Fab becomes huge, and so I sit and watch Jennifer just collecting many awards and bouquets…”
She went on to say, “She had no discernible talent until that moment, and then she came through on the inside lane and apparently she was talented all the time. I didn’t know that, I thought I was the funny one.”
And she admitted, like so many of us when our friends bag that major job promotion, or move into a gorgeous new house, that she was downright envious. Dawn revealed, “When I saw that happening it was a huge amount of envy. Right in your belly in a place you don’t want it, and it’s bile-y and it tastes bad and it’s all-consuming.”
But despite feeling that way, Dawn found a way to move past it. And she advised on a brilliant strategy for dealing with jealousy – and surprisingly, it doesn’t involve keeping your feelings to yourself.
She said “I think you’re allowed to own up to it, and that’s what I did.” She also revealed that telling Jennifer directly about how she was feeling, in a positive way, was what made it all okay again – with herself, and with their friendship. She said, “I called her lots of words and said, ‘I cannot believe you’re this talented, I cannot believe it’s this successful, I can’t believe I’m not in it. I’m furious with you and I’m so jealous. And she loved that that was the case. So in a way, that made it alright.”
Dawn also revealed that, in spite of anything, it really was the strength of their friendship that helped her move forward, saying, “And what’s more important than jealousy is that I love the girl”.
So perhaps the best solution for feeling jealous really is to just be open and honest – it’s sure made for a stronger French and Saunders…