They're way ahead of us across the pond. Only a day after California issued marriage licenses to gay couples (including George Takei and his partner) for the first time, British media announced the country's first gay celebrity divorce.
Comic Matt Lucas, best known as a star and co-creator of the highly popular BBC TV series Little Britain, has separated from his partner, 31-year-old TV producer Kevin McGee. Lucas has, in fact, hired the same high-profile law firm used by Heather Mills and the late Princess Diana for their divorces, Mishcon de Reya and Withers.
"It is with sadness that Matt and Kevin announce that their relationship has come to an end. Their separation is amicable," read a joint statement from the couple, which the law firm released on June 18. "They ask the press to respect their privacy at this time and to exercise restraint in any reporting of this matter."
The marriage -- or rather, "civil partnership" -- lasted only 18 months.
Lucas, 34, and McGee first met in 2002. They became engaged shortly after the United Kingdom legalized same-sex marital unions in December 2005. The civil ceremony took place on December 17, 2006, and the lavish reception at the Banqueting House in Whitehall, London included such celebrity guests as Elton John and Courtney Love (as well as Lucas' Little Britain co-star, David Walliams). Lucas and McGee dressed up as Disney characters Aladdin and Prince Charming respectively for the reception.
The couple owns a home in northwest London worth the equivalent of more than $3 million (U.S.). As of yet, it is not certain how the property and their other assets will be distributed. "A civil partnership is a marriage in all but name," English divorce lawyer James Stewart told The Independent on June 19. "Couples have the same rights and responsibilities, and that goes for the finances as well."
Matt Lucas began his career in London's stand-up comedy scene. He first achieved fame on the comedy-panel show Shooting Stars, and he has written material for Borat and Da Ali G Show star Sacha Baron Cohen. Little Britain began as a radio show and then ran on BBC television from 2003 to 2005; Lucas and Walliams created a wide assortment of eccentric characters and catch phrases on the series that are household names in the U.K. They are currently making an American version of the show for HBO, called Little Britain USA.
Will Lucas' divorce case set any kind of standard for future gay celebrity divorces, in Hollywood as well as in Britain? Yeah, but no, but yeah, but no, but... we'll see. In the meantime, click here for one divorce lawyer's tips on surviving the process, whether your union is gay or straight.
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