Myrna Colley-Lee is a theater costume designer, philanthropist and art patron, best known as the ex-wife of the Shawshank Redemption actor, Morgan Freeman. As a designer, many exhibitions across the country have featured her renderings, collages, and costumes. Some famous art houses include the Tobin Collection of Theater Arts at the Marion Koogler McNay Art Museum and several museums in Mississippi.
She was also a designer during the Black Movement in the 1960s. And people still consider her one of the foremost costume designers in the Black Theater Movement. She is also the recipient of several awards and is also an avid art collector.
Speaking of Myrna, married to Freeman, they had been together for over two decades and when they broke up in the late 2000s, people justifiably found it surprising. Find out why she and Freeman divorced, in addition to her own life as a whole; read about her early life, career, her current ventures and beyond.
Myrna Colley is from Hamlet, North Carolina
Morgan Freeman’s ex-wife, Myrna Colley-Lee, was born in February 1941 in Hamlet, North Carolina.
Colley-Lee, who is now 81 years old, graduated from Women’s College at the University of North Carolina with a BFA. However, the institution has changed its name to the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.
She also studied scene painting and properties at Brooklyn College, New York. Then, in the early 1980s, Freeman’s ex received her MFA in set and costume design from Temple University, Philadelphia, Penn.
How did Myrna Colley-Lee and ex-husband Morgan Freeman meet?
The veteran costume designer, Myrna Colley-Lee, and the Academy winner, Morgan Freeman, met through a mutual friend.
They married in mid-June 1984. In the final years of their marriage, Colley-Lee and de Miss Daisy driving actor lived near Tallahatchie County in northern Mississippi.
Freeman and his ex-wife Colley-Lee split in December 2007 after 26 years together. News of their breakup reached the media during Freeman’s August 2008 car accident in Mississippi.
The deposits took place in July 2008 do not forgive actor Freeman and his ex-wife Colley-Lee finalized their divorce in Mississippi in 2010.
After the proceedings were over, Freeman’s attorney said the divorce… was done without a trial and added that everyone was happy that the paperwork was over.
While neither Freeman nor Myrna have ever revealed why they decided to end their union, speculation suggests it was because of the former’s infidelity. There are rumors that Freeman cheated on Colley-Lee with one of his ex-wife’s friends.
Morgan’s rumored affair outside of his marriage has always been one of the reasons for his and Colley-Lee’s fallout. Myrna also reportedly claimed that Morgan was having an affair with his step-granddaughter E’Dena Hines.
The Dark Knight actor, however, denied the allegations. According to the sources at the time, Freeman reportedly could have lost about $100 million in the divorce battle.
Does Colley-Lee have children?
Although Colley-Lee has never had children of her own, she has been close to Freeman’s children from his previous relationships. She also apparently came to regard Freeman’s children from his previous relationships as her own.
she and the Glory actor reportedly adopted Morgana Freeman and E’dena Hines. The latter was Freeman’s step-granddaughter, while Morgana is Freeman’s daughter by his first wife, Jeanette Adair Bradshaw.
In addition, Myrna and her actor ex-husband also raised Alfonso Rene Freeman, Morgan’s child, with Loletha Adkins. Colley-Lee and Freeman were also guardians of Saifoulaye Freeman, Morgan’s son from one of his previous relationships. He also has a son, Alphonso from his ex-partner, Loletha Adkins.
How much did Colley-Lee receive from Morgan Freeman’s assets in the divorce settlement?
Claims vary from source to source about exactly how much Colley-Lee acquired after the divorce from the Bruce Almighty actor. The numbers start at hundreds of millions of dollars up to $400 million† Though the latter seems a bit unappealing, given that Freeman’s lifetime estimates of net worth have never been reported to reach those settlements.
However, the majority of magazines agree with the belief that Myrna received quite a lot in a divorce settlement, with the generality reporting no less than $100 million or so. Worth mentioning; Colley-Lee’s ex-husband is still one of the richest Hollywood identities and has an estimated net worth of more than $250 million.
Who Is Myrna Colley-Lee Married Now?
While Morgan is reportedly in a relationship with film producer Lori McCreary, it’s hard to tell exactly what’s going on in Freeman’s ex-wife Colley-Lee’s life, especially on a personal level.
Unlike Morgan and his partner McCreary, who appear together at almost every red carpet, event, and public gathering, Myrna’s also ABC has always been a big question mark, especially after her divorce from the Wanted actor.
Myrna Colley-Lee’s step-granddaughter has died horribly
Art patron Colley-Lee had a close relationship with her ex-husband’s step-granddaughter, E’dena Hines, who died tragically in mid-2010.
E’dena died on August 16, 2015, after her boyfriend, Lamar Davenport, stabbed her multiple times, reportedly more than 25 times. He was presumably under the influence of drugs.
Colley-Lee was apparently at Hines’ New York apartment hours after her death.
Myrna Colley-Lee has been a costume designer since a young age
Colley-Lee started working as a costume designer at a young age; in the early stages of her career she designed for the film, It’s weird† As an amateur, Colley-Lee also designed for the play, Long day trip to night†
Her costume design has also been in the productions Relativity at the Black Rep, St. Louis, Mo., The Piano Lesson, and Forest City at the Cleveland Playhouse, Ohio.
Myrna was further a designer for August Wilson’s play, Radio wave in the Public Theater in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Colley-Lee also likes philanthropy
2017, she helped set up an art gallery focused on African American life at the Columbus Museum in Georgia. Colley-Lee is also the founder of SonEdna, a nonprofit organization she founded in 2006.
The organization promotes and celebrates literary arts and writers of all genres and institutions.
Her awards and achievements
Over the years, Myrna, Freeman’s former wife, has received numerous awards. Some of them include Outstanding Costume Design from the National Black Theater Festival, the Mississippi Institute of Arts and Letters Lifetime Achievement Award, and the Doctor of Creative Arts from Mississippi State University.
One of her recent awards includes the aforementioned 2022 Governor’s Arts Award for “Excellence in Costume Design and Arts Patron.”
Colley-Lee received this from the Mississippi Senate for her internationally renowned work as a costume designer, philanthropist, art attorney and patron.
Other awards include the Wynona Lee Fletcher Award for Outstanding Achievement as a Designer from the Black Theater Network, Honored Artist from the National Museum of Women in the Arts, and the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Mississippi Institute of Arts and Letters.
Myrna Colley-Lee designed for the black movement
As mentioned, Colley-Lee was… one of the key figures in the Black Theater movement during the late 20th century sometime in the mid-late 60s. She designed costumes for some of the most important plays that took place during the time when the Black Theater received little funding or support.
She has not stopped since then and has made for more than 100 performances to date and also works for regional theaters.
Myrna is also a chairperson of the Mississippi Arts Commission’s board of directors. She also serves on the Mississippi Museum of Art’s Acquisition Committee.
In addition, Colley-Lee also serves on the advisory boards of both the Ogden Museum of Southern Art and the Department of Art and Architecture at Mississippi State University. She is also the recipient of an honorary degree in creative arts from Mississippi State University.
Freeman’s ex-husband is also a commissioner for the Mississippi Arts Commission. In fact, she is an inductee in the state of Mississippi as a Foundation Member of Phi Beta Kappa.
She also sits on several boards, namely Charleston Arts and Revitalization Effort, Inc., a local civic arts organization; the Rock River Foundation, a philanthropic organization for the arts; Mississippi State University’s art department; and the Gertrude C. Ford Center for the Performing Arts at the University of Mississippi, University, and others.
Some exhibitions and events in which her artworks can be seen
One of Colley-Lee’s permanent collections of clothing and costumes is one of the hallmarks of the Mississippi State University Library. Others that have done so include prestigious exhibitions in San Antonio, Detroit, and at the Mississippi Museum of Art in Jackson.
Some additional events that have featured Colley-Lee’s works include the 2012 Songs of Social Significance exhibit at The McNay Museum’s San Antonio Tobin Collection Gallery, the 2006 major exhibit at the Mississippi Museum of Art, and GladRags: Sketches, Swatches, and Costume Design.
Myrna Colley-Lee Other Facts
- Colley-Lee has apparently been a world traveler since she was 17.
- Myrna’s birthday is on February 10.