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Costume designer who divorced Morgan Freeman after 26 years of marriage

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Myrna Colley-Lee is a name well-known for her creative work in costumes and she has had a remarkable life. She has also been in the spotlight for over two decades due to her marriage to famous actor Morgan Freeman and their divorce.

This piece will also explore her early days as a costume designer and her efforts to promote the arts.

Myrna Colley-Lee biography

Myrna Colley-Lee giving a talk

Myrna Colley-Lee was born in Hamlet, North Carolina, in 1941. She obtained her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree at the Women’s College of the University of North Carolina. Subsequently, she pursued her master’s degree in scenic and costume design at Temple University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

She is the second former spouse of the renowned Hollywood actor, Morgan Freeman.

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Myrna Colley-Lee career

Myrna Colley-Lee smiling

Colley-Lee has actively contributed to various boards dedicated to the preservation of the arts. Over her career, she became a member of esteemed organisations, such as the National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington, D.C., and the Black Theatre Network in St. Louis, Missouri.

Additionally, she served as a faculty or staff member at institutions like Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts, the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival in Washington, D.C., and the Design and Management Institute of the National Arts Consortium in New York. In 2017, she played a pivotal role in organising an art gallery named “Reflections”, which explored the lives of Afro-Americans. At one point, Myrna also held the position of commissioner for the Mississippi Arts Commission.

Her career in costume design spans back to the 1960s and she emerged as one of the leading designers in the Black Theater Movement. Notable recent works include costume design for productions like All My Sons and Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner at the St. Louis Repertory Theatre, as well as Two Trains Running at the Geva Theatre Center.

With her expertise in costume design and support from a prominent figure in Hollywood, her foray into the world of film was seamless. Her costumes have been featured in movies such as Relatively and Wedding Band: A Love/Hate Story in Black and White, ‘The Piano Lesson,’ ‘Forest City,’ and ‘August Wilson’s play, Radio Golf.’

Alongside her passion for art, she hosts art shows through charitable donations. One of the exhibition showcases she was involved in occurred at the John Grisham Room, within the Department of Communication of Michigan State University. In 2014, she organised one of her most significant exhibitions, titled: A Theatre of Color: Costume Design for the Black Theatre,” at Detroit’s Charles H. Wright Museum. This exhibition featured an extensive collection of over 200 costume designs, renderings, and collages.

In addition to her costume design work, Colley-Lee has also made significant contributions as an art director and set designer.

Notably, she made a brief appearance on the television show, 60 Minutes.

Myrna Colley-Lee’s net worth

According to reports, Colley-Lee has an estimated net worth of $160 million.

Myrna Colley-Lee Family

There is limited information about her family. However, she is known for her previous marriage to Morgan Freeman.

Morgan Freeman

Morgan Freeman

Freeman was born on June 1, 1937, and is an American actor and producer renowned for his unmistakable deep voice and a diverse range of roles across various film genres.

Born in Memphis, Tennessee, Freeman was raised in Mississippi, where he first began his journey into acting through school productions. He participated in theatre arts lessons in Los Angeles and participated in stage performances in his early professional life.

Throughout a career that stretches across five decades, he has garnered a multitude of awards, including an Academy Award, a Screen Actors Guild Award, and a Golden Globe Award. He gained prominence in the 1970s for his role in the children’s television series, The Electric Company. Freeman also graced the stage in Shakespearean productions, such as Coriolanus and Julius Caesar, with his appearance in the former earning him the Obie Award. In 1978, he earned a Tony Award nomination for “Best Featured Actor in a Play” for his portrayal of Zeke in Richard Wesley’s The Mighty Gents.

Freeman’s career reached its zenith when he clinched the Academy Award for “Best Supporting Actor” for his role in Clint Eastwood’s sports drama, Million Dollar Baby in 2004. His other Oscar-nominated performances include Street Smart (1987), Driving Miss Daisy (1989), The Shawshank Redemption (1994) and Invictus (2009).

Notable credits also include Glory (1989), Lean on Me (1989), Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves (1991), Unforgiven (1992), Se7en (1995), Amistad (1997), Gone Baby Gone (2007) and The Bucket List (2007).

Additionally, he portrayed “Lucius Fox” in Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight Trilogy (2005–2012) and starred in action films like Wanted (2008), Red (2010), Oblivion (2013), Now You See Me (2013) and Lucy (2014).

Renowned for his distinctive voice, Freeman has lent his narration to numerous documentary projects, including The Long Way Home (1997), March of the Penguins (2005), Through the Wormhole (2010–2017), The Story of God with Morgan Freeman (2016–2019), Our Universe (2022), and Life on Our Planet (2023). He also directed the drama Bopha! (1993) and co-founded a film production company, Revelations Entertainment, with his business partner Lori McCreary in 1996.

He was honoured as a Kennedy Center recipient in 2008, recognised with the AFI Life Achievement Award in 2011, received the Cecil B. DeMille Award in 2012, and was bestowed with the Screen Actors Guild Life Achievement Award in 2018.

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Myrna Colley-Lee and Morgan Freeman

Myrna Colley-Lee and Morgan Freeman

Although much of their private life remains confidential, various sources suggest that Colley-Lee and Freeman initially crossed paths through a mutual friend.

They began as close friends and swiftly evolved into a romantic couple. On June 16, 1984, they solemnised their union in a private ceremony. Throughout their marriage, Colley-Lee was advancing her career as a film costume designer, while Freeman was already a prominent figure in the entertainment industry. Due to their respective careers, they chose to reside in Tallahatchie County, Northern Mississippi.

Colley-Lee has four children but none of them with Freeman

Throughout their 26-year marriage, Colley-Lee and Freeman did not have any children together. However, it is important to note that they were not devoid of the blessings of parenthood. Freeman, having been married before, had adopted Deena, his first child with Jeanette.

Additionally, they adopted a baby girl named Morgana Freeman. Furthermore, they played pivotal roles in the upbringing of two children: Alfonso Rene Freeman (born on September 13, 1959) with Loletha Adkins, and Saifoulaye (born in 1960).

Colley-Lee shares a particularly close relationship with her step-granddaughter, E’dena Hines, who was the daughter of Deena Adair. Among these children, Alfonso Freeman, the eldest, has graced the screen in over 25 films, including classics like “The Shawshank Redemption.” The other three children have preferred to keep a low profile.

A three-year, complicated divorce

In 2007, when news of Colley-Lee and Freeman’s separation surfaced, it sent shockwaves through the industry. For many, they were seen as the quintessential couple who had weathered all the storms together. They had four beautiful children and successful careers of their own. However, as the saying goes, the grass is not always greener on the other side. The problems became glaringly evident after the news became public. Subsequently, their divorce was finalised on September 15, 2010.

This divorce was one of the most financially significant in Hollywood’s history. Myrna is estimated to have received a substantial settlement, including a staggering $400 million, a villa worth $7 million in the British Virgin Islands, and undisclosed assets.

Following the divorce hearing, Kay Farese Turner, Colley-Lee’s defence lawyer, commented, “Both parties were relieved and pleased with the terms of the settlement.” She also mentioned that her client would continue to reside in Mississippi, where she was actively involved in Charleston area schools and their arts programs. William R. Wright, a representative of Morgan Freeman, stated to the media, “It was done without a trial, and everyone is glad it’s over.”

Freeman and Colley-Lee’s Loss: E’dena Hines

Freeman and Colley-Lee faced a heart-wrenching tragedy when their granddaughter, E’dena Hines, departed from the Freeman family on August 16, 2015. She was the daughter of Deena Adair, who was originally adopted by Freeman and Jeanette Adair Bradshaw and later by Freeman and Colley-Lee. E’dena was just 33 years old when she tragically lost her life, brutally stabbed 25 times by her boyfriend, Lamar Davenport, on a Manhattan sidewalk. When questioned about the motive for this brutal act, it was alleged to be a response to her perceived betrayal.

Lamar also claimed that E’dena had a sexual relationship with her grandfather, Morgan. Lamar was subsequently sentenced to 20 years in prison for his crime. The shocking aspect was that the motive behind the murder was linked to her alleged betrayal. However, the veracity of this startling claim remained uncertain, resulting in a devastating loss for Freeman’s family and the entertainment industry.

Why Colley-Lee Filed for Divorce

While the exact reason for the divorce was not publicly disclosed, it did not deter gossip columns from making allegations against Freeman. Stories about his alleged infidelity circulated widely, tarnishing Freeman’s image.

Tabloids were filled with speculations about his extramarital affairs. What added to the public scrutiny was the allegation of sexual involvement with his stepdaughter, further damaging his reputation. According to the “National Enquirer,” who initially reported the affair, Hines and Freeman were said to have maintained a secret relationship for over a decade.

The image of Freeman as a revered figure was shattered in an instant. Hines, however, denied the allegations, claiming they were untrue and intended to defame their family. Adding to the tarnished image, a DUI case emerged in 2008. On August 3, 2008, Morgan Freeman and Demaris Meyer were involved in a serious accident, with Freeman found to be under the influence while driving.

Meyer sued Freeman for negligence, seeking a sum exceeding $75,000. The case was eventually settled privately. Just a few weeks after the accident, it was reported that Colley-Lee and Freeman were getting divorced. The media even attempted to portray Colley-Lee as a homewrecker, but she refuted all allegations. Furthermore, it is worth noting that Colley-Lee and Freeman had already separated in 2007, indicating that the fissures were already visible.

In May 2018, Freeman faced allegations from eight women and eight witnesses, citing a “pattern of inappropriate behaviour”. Many claimed that Freeman had made inappropriate comments in the workplace and engaged in unwarranted physical contact with female colleagues. This was one of the many instances that contributed to the #MeToo movement in Hollywood.

Myrna Colley-Lee Age

Colley-Lee was reportedly born in the year 1941. She is about 82 years of age.

Myrna Colley-Lee Now

There are currently no reports surrounding Myrna Colley-Lee as of the time of writing this article.

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