It was on a train on the way to the Edinburgh Festival that Caroline Quentin first met Paul Merton and he threw the book she was reading out the window.
“I was sitting opposite him, reading. Alec Guinness’s autobiography, I think,” the Strictly Come Dancing contestant once told the Independent.
“I said I thought it was terrible. He said he had read it and agreed. I said I didn’t think I’d manage to finish it. He took it from me and threw it out of the window. ‘That’ll save you the trouble,’ he said.”
The funny man and funny woman tied the knot in 1990 and were considered to be the hip, young king and queen of comedy, starring in The Live Bed Show in 1995.
Then two years later they split – and it was a separation that Caroline, 60, didn’t see coming.
“I didn’t know my marriage was going wrong till it ended, really,” she previously told the Guardian.
Making matters worse, she recalled being followed by photographers, telling the Independent: “It is such a dreadful time, when you’re feeling so vulnerable and crap as a person, and then that happens.”
Paul, 63, then moved on with Sarah Parkinson, who had served as Caroline’s understudy on the three-month London leg of The Live Bed Show.
He told the Guardian that at that point, they were ‘just talking’, but once his marriage ended, Paul and writer and producer Sarah got together and they married unofficially in the Maldives in 2000.
“We are together for the rest of our lives,” he said.
Meanwhile, in 1998 Caroline met runner Sam Farmer on the set of Men Behaving Badly. Despite being 11 years her junior, the couple fell in love and went on to marry and have children Emily,21, and William, 17.
But for a while, Caroline feared her happy ever after would allude her.
“I was 36. I had a career but I never thought I’d meet anyone else or have a family,” she told the Evening Standard. “It is so completely unexpected to have all of this, and that makes it very special.”
Sadly, Paul and Sarah never got achieve their dreams of starting a family when just months after trying IVF, Sarah discovered two small lumps in her breast.
She was diagnosed with invasive breast cancer at 39 and underwent surgery but declined to have chemotherapy or radiotherapy, fearing it would ‘finish her off’.
Instead, the writer and producer turned to alternative therapies and married Paul in an official ceremony in Rye, Essex in 2003.
Just 12 weeks later on September 23 – 19 months after being diagnosed – Sarah passed away with a heartbroken Paul by her bedside.
In a statement he said: “After her initial devastating diagnosis of cancer in February 2002 Sarah successfully lived with the disease for the next 19 months.
“She refused chemotherapy because she knew it would finish her off. Instead, she boosted her immune system with a mixture of nutritional therapy, yoga, meditation, positive thinking and laughter.
“Consequently she led a full and active life right up to the last couple of weeks when her condition suddenly worsened.”
“She faced the situation with courage and died serenely and without pain in the early hours of Tuesday morning.”
Paul married fellow comedian Suki Webster in 2009.