Look Into Morgan Freeman and His Ex-Wife Myrna Colley-Lee’s Massive Divorce Settlement

After taking home $100 million in divorce settlement, Freeman's ex-wife, Myrna is living a peaceful life with a new partner.

By Sagar ChandPublished on: May 28, 2024 Updated on: June 3, 2024
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The marriage between Morgan Freeman and his ex-wife Myrna Colley-Lee was always more than a simple headline, wrapped in speculation and whispers that followed them throughout their years together.

Freeman, 87, himself, in a 2016 interview with Interview Magazine, quipped that he was “wearing out” his second wife, a comment that sparked laughter but also hinted at the complexities beneath their long-time marriage.

They first met during an off-Broadway play in 1976, at a time when Freeman was struggling with alcohol and troubles in his first marriage. Myrna recalled it wasn’t exactly love at first sight. “He was very aloof, alone. It turned out he was separating from his wife, so he was very melancholy,” she said. 

Over the next several years, their bond grew steadily, leading to a beautiful wedding ceremony on June 16, 1984. They chose a picturesque setting at Sonedna, the home of Morgan’s parents Grafton Curtis and Mayme Edna (Revere) Freeman, located off Highway 35 northwest of Charleston.

Their double-ring ceremony was an intimate gathering with Myrna’s parents, Alvis Lee and Mrs. Val Marie C. Lee, alongside her sisters, Donna and Toni. They all played significant roles in the celebration, which carried the charm of an old-fashioned picnic.

As the years unfolded, the nuances of Myrna and Morgan’s relationship became a subject of much curiosity. Years later, during a 2005 interview with CBS News, Colley-Lee shared a candid take on her husband’s personality. When asked if Freeman was a narcissist, she responded, “Narcissist strikes me as somebody who’s in love with themselves. I don’t see him as in love with himself. He’s more full of himself. He’s self-absorbed.”

They lived most of their life together on a spacious 120-acre ranch that Morgan and ex-spouse Myrna had built in the mid-1990s. This land, once owned by his parents, became their haven, complete with horses, and nestled a significant distance from the bustling town. 

Morgan’s folks initially bought forty-four acres which their son expanded significantly, buying an additional 80 acres after his marriage with Myrna. This might be news for a lot of you it was this very property where Freeman’s ancestors once worked as slaves. Talk about a full-circle moment!

Freeman and Myrna at The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences on September 25, 2007 in Los Angeles, California
Freenman and Colley-Lee

Despite these joyful and shared experiences, their marriage concluded. After 26 years together, they separated in December 2007, with the divorce proceedings filed under seal in July 2008. Although the ex-couple never publicly discussed the reasons for their split, there were rumors that Freeman’s alleged infidelity, involving one of Myrna’s friends, might have played a role.

Their divorce was finalized on September 15, 2010.

Since the split-up, what steps has Colley-Lee taken to redefine her life outside the long shadow of her marriage to Freeman? Here’s a closer look at her life!

She Got A Hefty Divorce Settlement 

After her marriage to Freeman ended, speculation about the settlement figures swirled. Although rumors suggested a $400 million payout, the possible amount Colley-Lee received was closer to $100 million. This figure was grounded in more credible evaluations of Freeman’s net worth at the time, which, despite an initial estimate of $75 million to $90 million, likely reached into the hundreds of millions due to his substantial real estate holdings and savings.

Given the duration and circumstances of their marriage, Myrna, 83, was legally entitled to a significant share of these assets.

She Never Had Children of Her Own

Colley-Lee had no children with her former husband Freeman, yet she harbored a strong desire to become a mother. “I was hysterical to have a baby,” she admitted, revealing that Morgan was hesitant about having more children since he already had four by the time they married.

Fate, however, had other plans. Myrna shared, “His daughter Deena was having a hard time, so I asked for E’Deena (Deena’s daughter) to live with us. Morgan functions more like a grandfather, but he’s happy I got this chance at parenting.”

For those of you who might not know, Deena was Morgan’s stepdaughter, whom he adopted after marrying his first wife, Jeanette Adair Bradshaw. So technically, E’Deena was Myrna and Morgan’s step-granddaughter, but their relationship was much more than that. Myrna and E’Dena Hines were incredibly close.

However, tragedy struck on August 16, 2015, when E’Dena was killed. Her boyfriend, Lamar Davenport, fatally stabbed her multiple times in an attack believed to be drug-induced. At that time, rumors surfaced about Morgan’s alleged affair with his step-granddaughter Hines, though The Dark Knight actor later denied these allegations.

In the weeks following her granddaughter’s death, Myrna expressed her grief and shared fond memories by posting several photos on her Facebook page, including one from her granddaughter’s graduation. Her social media continues to reflect her frequent tributes to her beloved granddaughter.

Myrna and E'dena Hines.
Myrna and E’dena.

She Was Married Before

Before her marriage to the Academy-award-winning actor, Myrna was previously married to American jazz musician Don Pullen. The former couple met while she was teaching in Charlotte and soon decided to elope to South Carolina.

Unfortunately, the marriage was short-lived, lasting only about a year and a half before they filed for divorce.

She Finds Love Again with Aruban Native Leo Ernesto Vanterpool

Romance is in the air again for Myrna, who has found love with Leo Ernesto Vanterpool, a guy from San Nicolaas, Aruba.

The couple first appeared together publicly at the 22nd Annual Watermill Center Summer Benefit & Auction in Water Mill, New York, in July 2015.

Myrna Colley Lee and Leo Vanterpool.
Myrn and Leo in Water Mill, New York.

Shortly thereafter, she began sharing glimpses of their life together on her social media.

Their bond was evident during tough times, particularly when Leo stood by Myrna’s side as he testified in the trial following the death of her adopted step-granddaughter, Hines.

Besides his personal support, Leo is also renowned for his extensive career in public transportation. He first began working at the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority, where he was pivotal in creating specialized services for the elderly and handicapped.

In 1986, he moved to New York City and joined the New York City Transit Authority as a management analyst. His contributions to subway safety and reliability earned him a promotion to Superintendent in the Division of Rapid Transit Operations, overseeing major subway lines until his retirement in 2010.

She Is a Well-Versed Costume Designer and a Strong Philanthropist

Myrna Colley-Lee, a powerhouse in the worlds of theater and fine arts, is a distinguished costume designer and art curator.

She began her career in the late 1960s, quickly earning her a place as one of the foremost designers in the Black Theatre Movement.

Over the years, she has crafted costumes for notable productions like Forest City, The Piano Lesson, and Wedding Band: A Love/Hate Story In Black and White.

Her curated exhibitions have also been featured in cities across the U.S., including San Antonio, Detroit, and Jackson at the Mississippi Museum of Art.

In February 2020, in recognition of her extensive contributions to the arts, she was honored with the 2022 Governor’s Arts Award for Excellence in Costume Design and Arts Patronage. She has also received accolades like the Outstanding Costume Design Award and the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Mississippi Institute of Arts and Letters.

Myrna Colley Lee honoring with an award with senators Albert Butler of District 36, Lydia Chassaniol of District 14 and John Horhn of District.
With Mississippi senators.

Alongside her professional work, Myrna has also been a champion for philanthropy and education. She is an active member of the advisory boards for the Ogden Museum of Southern Art and the Department of Art and Architecture at Mississippi State University. She also serves on the Mississippi Arts Commission.

Her commitment to the community reaches beyond professional boundaries. She founded SonEdna, a nonprofit that supports literary arts, and organized exhibitions focused on African-American life, such as one notable project at the Columbus Museum in Georgia.

Myrna Colley Lee's recent photo from her Facebook.
(Image: Facebook)

Educationally, she earned a BFA from the Women’s College of the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and furthered her studies in scene painting and properties at Brooklyn College. She later received her MFA in scenic and costume design from Temple University, Philadelphia.


Where Does She Live Now?

Currently, Myrna resides in her home in Charleston, Mississippi, where she enjoys a quieter life and continues her artistic endeavors.

About Author: Sagar Chand

Sagar Chand is a seasoned content writer since 2016, who has crafted a diverse array of articles spanning entertainment, sports, and beyond. With a rich background in creating engaging content, Sagar excels in bringing unique perspectives to a wide audience. His expertise not only enriches his writings but also keeps his readers coming back for more insightful and dynamic narratives.