Mr.Bean dating comedy actress almost half his age

He is best known for playing comic roles of lonely men who are down on their luck.

But it seems that Rowan Atkinson appears not to share the same problems as his characters.

For the 59-year-old Mr Bean and Blackadder star is now in a relationship with a young comedy actress half his age after leaving his wife of 23 years.

Atkinson met Louise Ford, 31, when they appeared together last year in the West End as he starred in the comic play Quatermaine’s Terms.

Ironically, he was photographed with his wife in one of their last pictures together going for dinner after a performance of the same play.

But since then he has been spotted with Miss Ford openly in public and outside her two-bedroom flat in a leafy, affluent suburb in south London.

The pair seemed comfortable as they went to a local garden centre together last week to buy plants for her rented home that she recently moved into.

Atkinson, who is one of Britain’s most wealthy entertainers with a fortune of around £70million, was seen hauling bags of soil while she followed smiling with a box of plants to put into the boot of his car.

Neighbours say the comic, who is incredibly private and hardly mentioned his wife and two children Ben, 20, and Lily, 19, during rare interviews, drove to her home in a modest small Audi – rather than one of his fleet of expensive sports cars.

Bizarrely, despite moving into a flat around the corner from his wife’s house in West London and his closeness to Miss Ford, he has not taken off his gold wedding ring.

A source said: ‘They seem really happy together and are increasingly spending more time together.

‘They look really comfortable with each other – walking arm in arm and he has even been spotted tenderly touching her cheek.

‘Rowan still wears his wedding ring though and that might be the fact that he’s incredibly private and doesn’t want to draw attention to his marriage.’

Miss Ford grew up in Bexleyheath, south-east London, before gaining an English degree at Southampton University.

After graduating, she won a place at RADA where she was in the same year and treaded the boards with now Hollywood actress Gemma Arterton.

This led to appearances at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival with the Royal Shakespeare Company and parts in television comedies including BBC’s Misfits and starring alongside Inbetweeners actors Simon Bird and Joe Thomas in Sky’s Chickens.

But like Atkinson, her real love seems to be stand-up comedy which she performs on the circuit with her RADA contemporary Yasmine Akram under ‘Ford and Akram’. Miss Ford also performs as the character ‘Jenny Fawcett’ in a routine that is described as a ‘tapdancing geek’.

He first met Sunetra, the daughter of an Indian engineer from Ealing, West London, in the late Eighties, when she was working as a make-up artist for the BBC. He was previously in a relationship with Men Behaving Badly star Leslie Ash who he planted an avenue of rowan and ash trees for at his country home.

The pair have a six-bedroom house in Chelsea, a country home in Northamptonshire and two properties at Waterperry, Oxfordshire. They are understood to have rented out their £900,000 rectory in Waterperry for the past four years.

In an interview shortly before he met Miss Ford, Atkinson revealed he has a certain kinship to the lonely, single characters he plays.

He said: ‘I’ve played quite a few of these sad, isolated bachelor figures – Bean is the most obvious. And I think I do identify with them or aspects of them.

He also added during another interview ‘There’s only one thing more important than not talking about your domestic life and that’s not talking about why you are not talking about your domestic life.’

Source: Daily Mail, UK