Myrna Colley Lee: Who Is Morgan Freeman's Ex-Wife? (2024)

Morgan Freeman’s ex-wife, Myrna Colley Lee, was married to him for over 20 years before their separation in 2007 and subsequent divorce in 2010. Although they did not have children together, Lee was close to Freeman’s children from his previous marriage, and they adopted his step-granddaughter, E’dena Hines, who was murdered by her boyfriend in 2015.

Professionally, Lee is recognized as one of the leading costume designers in the Black Theater Movement; some of her works include My Sons and Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner, Ain’t Misbehavin’, Relativity, Bus Stop and Fences, andTwo Trains Running.

Life And Background Of Myrna Colley Lee

Myrna Colley Lee was born in Hamlet, on the East Coast of North Carolina, in 1941. She is currently 83 years old and the eldest of five daughters of Val Marie Colley and Alvis Augustus Lee.

Lee lived in Hamlet for the first 6 months of her life before her family relocated to Atlanta, Georgia, where her father worked in the automotive industry. After a year, they moved to Daytona Beach, Florida, where she began her elementary education at Bethune-Cookman College. In the 6th grade, her family moved once more to Prairie View, Texas, where she enrolled in Prairie View A&M College and graduated in 1957.

Right after high school, her father secured a teaching position at Booker T. Washington High School in Liberia, so the family migrated to the West African nation. There, she attended Cuttington College and Divinity School (now Cuttington University). Sadly, she contracted malaria after her first semester and had to return to her relatives in Greensboro, North Carolina.

In Greensboro, she studied at Bennett College for 2 years before proceeding to the Women’s College of the University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG), where she obtained a Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) in art education in 1962. Later, she studied scene painting and properties at Brooklyn College in New York from 1971 to 1973 and earned a master of fine arts (MFA) in scenic and costume design from Temple University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in 1980.

Apart from Liberia, Lee visited several countries around the world during her childhood. They included Senegal, France (Paris), the Netherlands (Amsterdam), and Belgium (Brussels).

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A Look At Her Career

Myrna Colley Lee: Who Is Morgan Freeman's Ex-Wife? (1)

Myrna Colley Lee is a costume designer with many decades of experience in theater, film, television, and education. She founded GladRags Design, a costume design company, in 1968 and co-founded the SonEdna Foundation, Inc., a charity organization, later on.

Lee began her career in 1962 as an art supervisor at Charlotte-Mecklenburg School in North Carolina. She then taught art at Bay Shore High School in Long Island, New York, for 2 years.

From 1976 to 1980, she served as a graduate assistant for theater and design at Brooklyn College and Temple University. She also worked as a theater design consultant at the Kennedy Center’s American College Theater Festival in Washington, D.C. In 1985, she became an assistant professor of theater costume design and theater make-up at Smith College Theater in Northampton, Massachusetts, where she stayed until 1987.

Besides these, she has designed costumes for various productions, such as Gee’s Bend at the Cleveland Playhouse, Becoming Adele at Gotham Stage Company, Ain’t Misbehavin’ and Relativity at the St. Louis Black Rep, The Piano Lesson at the Cleveland Playhouse, and The Wedding Band at Steppenwolf Theater.

Besides theater, Lee held various roles and became a commissioner for the Mississippi Arts Commission, a board member of the Rock River Foundation, a member of the Acquisition Committee of the Mississippi Museum of Arts, and a member of the Advisory Boards of the Charleston Arts Revitalization Effort, among others. She also served on the Governor’s Commission to establish a National Civil Rights Museum in Mississippi.

Lee earned several accolades for her work, such as the Doctor of Creative Arts, honoris causa, from Mississippi State University; the 2007 Honored Artist Award of the Mississippi Chapter of the National Museum of Women in the Arts; the Outstanding Costume Design Award from the National Black Theatre Festival; the Mississippi Alliance for Arts Education’s Exemplary Arts Service Award; the Wynona Lee Fletcher Award for Outstanding Achievement as a Designer from the Black Theatre Network; and the Mississippi Institute of Arts and Letters Lifetime Achievement Award.

Morgan Freeman Wasn’t The First Man She Married

Myrna Colley Lee was married twice, first to American jazz musician Don Pullen and then to Academy Award-winning actor Morgan Freeman.

She married Pullen, who was born and raised in Roanoke, Virginia, when she was in her early twenties, sometime in 1964, but her parents didn’t know about it. After the wedding, she and Pullen ran to South Carolina, where she called her parents on the phone and told them she was married. Later on, they moved to New York. The marriage lasted for about a year and a half before ending in a divorce.

In a 2011 interview, she said that she had met him in Charlotte when he was attending John C. Smith College. Pullen passed away at the age of 53 from lymphoma on April 22, 1995.

Morgan Freeman became Lee’s second husband on June 16, 1984. She was also his second wife after he divorced Jeanette Adair Bradshaw in November 1979 after being married to her for over a decade.

Lee and Freeman’s marriage endured for more than 20 years, but they parted ways in December 2007 and filed for divorce in July 2008. The divorce was finalized on September 15, 2010, less than two years after the filing.

The official reason for the divorce was not disclosed, but rumors circulated that Freeman had been unfaithful to her. He denied these allegations later on.

After her second marriage fell apart, the woman from Hamlet decided not to marry again. She devoted her time and energy to her growth, her work, and her charitable causes through her foundation.

She Didn’t Share Biological Children With The Two Men

Lee had no children with both Pullen and Freeman, but she also took on the role of stepmother to Freeman’s four children from his previous marriage to Jeanette: Alfonso, Deena, Morgana, and Saifoulaye. She adopted and cared for his stepdaughter, E’dena Hines, as well. Tragically, Hines was stabbed to death by her boyfriend, Lamar Davenport, who was high on drugs, on August 15, 2015. She was only 33 years old.

Myrna Colley Lee: Who Is Morgan Freeman's Ex-Wife? (2024)


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