Kenny Everett's estranged ex-wife dies aged 85

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DJ Kenny Everett’s ex wife – who claimed she was more like a ‘mother’ to the ‘tortured and frustrated’ maverick entertainer than a partner while watching him face up to his homosexuality – has died aged 85.

Lee Everett Alkin, born Audrey Valentine Middleton in 1937 in Sheffield, wed Everett, who after a time on pirate radio became one of the first DJs employed by the BBC on the newly created Radio 1, in 1969 at Chelsea register office.

But their unconventional marriage wasn’t made to last, and the Everetts split in 1979, once the DJ had finally come to terms with his sexuality, according to The Times.

No bitterness was then felt between the couple, and Lee even introduced her ex to his first boyfriend, while Everett was best man at her next wedding to actor John Alkin (DS Tom Daniels in The Sweeney).

However, the pair eventually became estranged after Everett accused Lee of publicly outing him as gay in her 1987 autobiography, Kinds of Loving. He later died of Aids in 1995.

Lee, who met Everett following an unsuccessful singing career, went on to become a spiritual healer and businesswoman. She died of cancer on February 24, 2022, aged 85.

DJ Kenny Everett's ex wife (pictured together in 1973) - who claimed she was more like a ‘mother’ to the ‘tortured and frustrated’ maverick entertainer than a partner while watching him face up to his homosexuality - has died aged 85

DJ Kenny Everett’s ex wife (pictured together in 1973) – who claimed she was more like a ‘mother’ to the ‘tortured and frustrated’ maverick entertainer than a partner while watching him face up to his homosexuality – has died aged 85

Everett was best man at her next wedding to actor John Alkin (DS Tom Daniels in The Sweeney). Pictured, the three of them together

Everett was best man at her next wedding to actor John Alkin (DS Tom Daniels in The Sweeney). Pictured, the three of them together

Lee (pictured in 2009), who met Everett following an unsuccessful singing career, went on to become a spiritual healer and businesswoman. She died of cancer on February 24, 2022, aged 85

Lee (pictured in 2009), who met Everett following an unsuccessful singing career, went on to become a spiritual healer and businesswoman. She died of cancer on February 24, 2022, aged 85

Lee first entered the world of showbiz in 1964, after being scouted and given a record contract under her stage name Lady Lee. She released three singles however none were overly successful.

She soon met Everett, with Lee recalling their early romance: ‘They were heady, wild, euphoric days. Drug-taking was routine. We tripped a lot on LSD. John Lennon used to get it for us.’

They tied the knot in 1969, with Lee making her own wedding dress out of a tablecloth from Harrods. 

‘Kenny would not have been Kenny without her,’ said music manager Vicki Wickham. ‘She was a one-woman extravaganza. They were a formidable duo.’ 

But married life for Lee was an emotional roller coaster. Everett would be cruelly dismissive of his wife, then loving and remorseful. 

They had blistering rows, then passionate reconciliations. Once, Lee, in a fit of fury, kicked in a bedroom door at their Cotswolds home. Seconds later, they were reeling with laughter. 

‘It was very intense; a proper marriage for a long, long time,’ said Lee in an interview with the Daily Mail. ‘Then he started inviting friends, fellers, round and I knew he was mooning for them. His attention was drawn towards men.

Alkin and Lee were to wed in 1985 and her ex Everett insisted on being their best man, while Elton John (pictured on the big day) was included in the guest list. Proving her uniqueness, Lee held her pet chihuahua throughout her wedding day instead of a bouquet

Alkin and Lee were to wed in 1985 and her ex Everett insisted on being their best man, while Elton John (pictured on the big day) was included in the guest list. Proving her uniqueness, Lee held her pet chihuahua throughout her wedding day instead of a bouquet

‘Ev didn’t make any moves because he had not come out; not even to himself. It was extremely painful to watch. I cried a lot; for myself and Ev as well. He pushed me out emotionally and physically.’

Finally, however, their relationship became untenable. They slept in separate bedrooms and Lee recognised she would have to act to break the impasse. In the end, it was she who introduced Everett to his first boyfriend.

‘We were in a restaurant having dinner with Freddie Mercury,’ she once recalled. ‘Ev said, “The waiter’s cute,” so I invited him to join us when we went on to a nightclub together. Freddie said, “You’ve just pulled Ev’s first boyfriend.” ’ Indeed, the waiter was Ev’s first male partner and they remained together for a year.

In 1979, Lee and Everett parted as friends. Eventually she went on to marry the actor John Alkin after meeting one another at a party thrown by Richard Branson.

They were to wed in 1985 and her ex Everett insisted on being their best man, while Elton John was included in the guest list. Proving her uniqueness, Lee held her pet chihuahua throughout her wedding day instead of a bouquet.

As well as being best man, Everett was also upset his ex wife wasn’t wearing the wedding ring he’d given her when she married Alkin. 

Everett and Lee in 1979. Lee Everett Alkin, born Audrey Valentine Middleton in 1937 in Sheffield, wed Everett, who after a time on pirate radio became one of the first DJs employed by the BBC on the newly created Radio 1, in 1969 at Chelsea register office

Everett and Lee in 1979. Lee Everett Alkin, born Audrey Valentine Middleton in 1937 in Sheffield, wed Everett, who after a time on pirate radio became one of the first DJs employed by the BBC on the newly created Radio 1, in 1969 at Chelsea register office

But their unconventional marriage wasn’t made to last, and the Everetts (pictured) split in 1979, once the DJ had finally come to terms with his sexuality, according to The Times

But their unconventional marriage wasn’t made to last, and the Everetts (pictured) split in 1979, once the DJ had finally come to terms with his sexuality, according to The Times

‘The night before I got married to John, Ev said to me, “Are you sure you’re doing the right thing?” He wanted to have his cake and eat it. Though he was, by then, in his first gay relationship, with a lovely guy, an Australian waiter who was devoted to him, he still didn’t want to lose me,’ Lee once said.   

She also previously recalled the bizarre ménage à trois that developed after tying the knot to John. ‘After John and I got married, Ev even visited our honeymoon suite,’ she recalled of the her second husband, who she always called Ev.

‘He was there nearly all night and John was fast asleep by the time I got to bed.’

Lee added: ‘We’d just moved into our first home together and we heard Ev’s voice calling, “Cooeee!” He’d arrived with a bundle of clothes for me to wash, and he said, “What’s for dinner?”

‘I’m amazed John stayed. He should have run for the hills! Ev ate with us most nights. He even arrived in Lanzarote when John and I were trying to have a peaceful holiday. There were three people in our marriage.’

However the former married couple’s relationship turned sour after Everett accused Lee of publicly outing him as gay in her 1987 autobiography, Kinds of Loving.

The two became estranged and the comedian died of Aids in 1995.

Eventually Alkin and Lee (pictured) moved to Berkshire, where they ran a boatyard, while Lee opened two spiritual healing centres

Eventually Alkin and Lee (pictured) moved to Berkshire, where they ran a boatyard, while Lee opened two spiritual healing centres

Keen cook Lee (pictured) also reproduced a chilli jelly she had tried in Florida and it became so sought after by her community that she launched it under the brand name Chilliqueen

Keen cook Lee (pictured) also reproduced a chilli jelly she had tried in Florida and it became so sought after by her community that she launched it under the brand name Chilliqueen

Alkin and Lee, meanwhile, moved to Berkshire, where they ran a boatyard, while Lee opened two spiritual healing centres.

Keen cook Lee also reproduced a chilli jelly she had tried in Florida and it became so sought after by her community that she launched it under the brand name Chilliqueen.

The brand – named after Everett’s nickname for Lee – went from a cottage industry to being mass-produced.

‘We were besotted to the end,’ previously said Lee of her second husband. ‘During our 17 years together, even when Ev was a little s***, I never stopped loving him. Most of our married life was fun.

‘The highs were fantastic, euphoric; the lows were dark and painful. Ev could be so affectionate, but also treacherous. His love brought me fun and misery, but on balance he made me happy.

‘I never regretted marrying Ev because, most of the time, life with him was such fun,’ she reflected. ‘We had some heavenly times – but I was a mother to him really, wasn’t I?’

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