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Isla Fisher and Sacha Baron Cohen deny divorce is related to Rebel Wilson: report


Isla Fisher and Sacha Baron Cohen may be known for their comedy chops but people may still wonder about their sense of timing when it came to making a very important personal announcement Friday.

The long-time couple revealed on Friday that they had separated after 14 years of marriage — in the week after Rebel Wilson very publicly accused Baron Cohen of sexually harassing her and making lewd demands while they worked together on the 2016 comedy “The Brothers Grimsby.”

A source close to Fisher and Baron Cohen that their split has “nothing to do” with the claims Wilson has made in her new memoir, “Rebel Rising.” Through his representatives, Baron Cohen has “vehemently” denied Wilson’s allegations, while a source close to him and Fisher explained that their decision to divorce pre-dates the controversy surrounding Wilson’s book.

“They have been living separate lives since last year but wanted to give this space and time for their children to be OK with this before the news came out and they got all this attention,” an insider close to the estranged couple told Us Weekly. “They are notoriously very private people and wanted to focus on their family.”

The estranged couple, who share three children, confirmed their separation on Friday in a somewhat jokey joint statement they posted on Instagram Story.

“After a long tennis match lasting over twenty years, we are finally putting our racquets down,” they wrote, alongside a throwback photo of the pair wearing tennis outfits, Us Weekly said. In the statement, they confirmed that they had legally separated in 2023.

Regardless of what the couple say, their divorce news raised questions about whether their relationship had been put under stress by the revelations in Wilson’s memoir. Similarly, people are likely to wonder whether Wilson’s negative portrayal of the “Borat” actor is a sign of character issues that were a factor in his marriage. The public generally knows Baron Cohen as a British entertainer who likes to push stories and situations to the edge, reveling in crass, gross-out humor that also can be politically and socially charged.

In the book, Wilson detailed how Baron Cohen made “outrageous” demands on her while they filmed “The Brothers Grimsby,” a raunchy spy action comedy. She said he asked her “every day” to “go naked” in scenes and pressured her to perform a lewd act with him for their last scene together.

Wilson played Baron Cohen’s girlfriend in the comedy, while Fisher also co-starred in the film, playing the handler of Baron Cohen’s MI6 agent.

It was the first time that Fisher and Baron Cohen worked together on a movie, more than a decade after they first met at a dinner party in 2001 and several years after they married in a Jewish ceremony in Paris in 2010. One notable thing about their relationship is that Fisher converted to Baron Cohen’s Jewish faith before they married. She told Hello magazine in 2012: “I would do anything — move into any religion — to be united in marriage with him. We have a future together, and religion comes second to love as far as we are concerned.”

Wilson offered a less glowing assessment of Baron Cohen in her memoir. She said she wrote about her experience working with him because she wants “to help other women speak up about things like this,” according to People. At the same time, she insisted, “I’m not about canceling anybody and that’s not my motivation for sharing this story.”

Wilson explained that she often felt afraid of speaking up while working with Baron Cohen. She wrote, “It felt like every time I’d speak to SBC, he’d mention that he wanted me to go naked in a future scene. I was like, ‘Ha, I don’t do nudity, Sacha.’”

One day, while filming at a soccer stadium in Cape Town, South Africa, she said that Baron Cohen summoned her via a production assistant, saying they needed to film an additional scene.

“‘OK, well, we’re gonna film this extra scene,’ SBC says,” Wilson wrote, according to People. “Then he pulls his pants down … . ” According to Wilson, Baron Cohen said “very matter-of-factly” that he wanted her to stick her finger into his rectum.

“And I’m like, ‘What?? … No!!’,” Wilson wrote.

Wilson continued, “I was now scared. I wanted to get out of there, so I finally compromised: I slapped him on the (butt) and improvised a few lines as the character.”

It’s not known if Fisher was aware of any issues that Wilson had with her husband during the production of “The Brothers Grimsby.” But the two woman had worked together before, on the 2012 film “Bachelorette.” They played friends in the rom-com and spoke highly of each other in an interview with the Huffington Post, according to the Daily Mail. Fisher said “we got incredibly lucky” when Wilson was cast in the film, while Wilson said she “jumped at the chance” to be in a movie with both Fisher and Kirsten Dunst.

When Baron Cohen was contacted last week for his response to Wilson’s allegations, he rejected the idea that he ever said such things to Wilson, mistreated her or pressured her to go naked.

His rep said in a statement to People magazine: “While we appreciate the importance of speaking out, these demonstrably false claims are directly contradicted by extensive detailed evidence, including contemporaneous documents, film footage and eyewitness accounts from those present before, during and after the production of ‘The Brothers Grimsby.’”

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