Who is Sunetra Sastry? Why Did Her Marriage to Rowan Atkinson End in a Divorce?

Sunetra Sastry Facts

Born On:- 1957-00-00

Her Age:- 67

Famous As:- Rowan Atkinson’s Ex-Wife

Place of Birth:- England

Wife/Husband/Ex:- Rowan Atkinson

Children:- Benjamin Atkinson, Lily Sastry (daughter)

Sunetra Sastry is a British makeup artist, better known as former wife of comedian-actor Rowan Atkinson, a.k.a. ‘Mr. Bean.’ Like most of people of Asian origin, she, too, faced social racism during her growing-up years, as her father was Indian. After studying at a beauty college in London, she joined ‘BBC’ as a professional makeup artist. She worked for ‘BBC’ and ‘Rowan Atkinson Productions’ as makeup artist. While working on the famous ‘BBC’ serial ‘Black Adder,’ she met Rowan Atkinson and married him after a few years of courtship. After 24 years of marriage and two children, the couple separated, and then divorced following the reports of Atkinson’s infidelity.


Early Life

Sunetra Sastry was born on January 9, 1957, at Newcastle upon Tyne, England, to an Indian father and a British mother. While growing up in England during the 1960s, she faced social racism due to her father’s ethnic background. 

Sastry’s mother was from a well-to-do British family, but they disowned her as she chose to marry an Indian. Whenever Sunetra tried to ask her mother about it, her mother only replied, ‘It was worth it.’

After completing her high school, Sunetra Sastry decided to join a beauty college in London. Her parents were against her decision as they felt that a career in nursing would be a better choice for her. However, her passion for the profession convinced them, and then accepting her decision, they supported her.


Association with BBC & Rowan Atkinson Productions

After completing her studies, Sunetra Sastry began working as a makeup artist. During the early 1980s, she was hired by ‘BBC.’ She was a part of the crew for several ‘BBC’ serials, including ‘Black Adder’ and the ‘BBC’ TV movie ‘Smack & Thistle’(1988). She also worked on several projects of ‘Rowan Atkinson Productions.’

How Sunetra Sastry Met Atkinson

In 1986, Sunetra Sastry was working on the ‘BBC’ comedy serial ‘Black Adder.’ She was assigned as a makeup artiste to actor Stephen Fry. The openly gay actor later wrote in his autobiography that Sastry, with her bright, funny demeanor, was one of the few women who attracted him.


Fry thought of asking her out when the other actor of the serial, Rowan Atkinson, requested him to switch their makeup artists. Initially, Fry thought that Atkinson was not happy with the crew assigned to him and that is why he asked for the change. But before long, Fry realized that Atkinson was interested in Sastry, so he decided to step back.

Marriage & Family

Atkinson and Sastry began dating in 1986, and were engaged in 1989. The two got married in February 1990 in New York City’s well-known ‘Russian Tea Room.’ Stephen Fry was Atkinson’s best man at the wedding.


The couple’s first child, Benjamin, was born in 1993, followed by their daughter, Lily, born in 1995. Around that time, Sastry decided to quit her professional work and dedicate her time to her children and the family. She supported Atkinson in all his ventures.

Why Did She Separate After 24 Years of Marriage?

In 2014, rumors of Atkinson’s infidelity and reports of his involvement with a younger actress Louise Ford created distress in their marriage of 24 years. Following this, Sastry and Atkinson separated in February 2014.


Post separation, Atkinson publicly began dating Ford, which brought in a lot of criticism, especially from his fans. His daughter called it ‘a dick move.’

Their divorce hearing was scheduled on November 10, 2015. The judge granted the divorce within 65 seconds of starting the proceedings, as Atkinson did not turn up. The judge called his behavior ‘unreasonable.’

Just before the couple decided to separate, Sastry and Atkinson were building a £11 million house in Oxfordshire. After the divorce, Sastry received their £21 million London home, while Atkinson moved into a place costing £4 million.


The couple’s daughter, Lily, is a burlesque dancer and an aspiring actress. She had earlier worked with her father in such films as ‘Tooth’ (2004), ‘Mr. Bean’s Holiday’ (2007), and ‘Johnny English Reborn’ (2011). She reportedly stopped using her father’s family name in 2017, and took up her mother’s maiden name, Sastry.

Philanthropic Work

After the divorce, Sastry has kept herself busy with charity work. She also works for ‘The Brain Cancer Foundation of Great Britain’ and has received praise for her humanitarian work.