Rima Elizabeth Horton is an English politician and academic who was married to Alan Rickman. She served as the Labour Party councillor on the Kensington and Chelsea London Borough Council from 1986 to 2006. She twice contested as a Labour candidate for parliament but lost on both instances. A native of London, Horton is a University of Southampton graduate. She spent a considerable part of her adult life working as a senior economics lecturer at Kingston University. Horton drew media attention because of her relationship with actor Alan Rickman. They had been together since they were both teenagers. They started living together in 1977 and it was only in 2012 that the couple exchanged wedding vows. Rickman passed away in 2016, bringing an end to their relationship of 51 years.
Childhood & Early Life
Rima Horton was born on January 31, 1947, in Bayswater, London to Elice Irene (née Frame, 1906–1984) and Wilfred Stewart Horton (1905–2003). Her father was a London native, just like her. Her mother, on the other hand, hailed from Wales. She and her two older siblings and one younger sibling grew up in a working-class household. Since she was a child, Horton demonstrated special affinity towards education. She studied at the all-girls St. Vincent de Paul primary school. After graduating from high school, she attended Chelsea College of Arts, where she met Rickman for the first time. Later, she enrolled at the University of Southampton and earned her degree in economics.
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Rima Horton was affiliated with Kingston University in London as a senior economics lecturer for a significant part of her professional life. She has been a lifelong member of Britain’s Labour Party, and like her husband, is a staunch supporter of progressive causes and politics. Over the years, the couple made many friends in the party and beyond. In 1986, she was elected as the Labour Party councillor on the Kensington and Chelsea London Borough Council for the first time. She went on to win the next four local elections as well and worked as her party’s Chief Whip and a spokesperson on education during her tenure.
In May 2006, Horton had to vacate her position after serving as the councillor for 20 years as “part of the national shift”. She twice attempted to make it to the Parliament as a Labour candidate but lost both times to Tory opponents. From 2002 to 2005, she was a member of the board of directors of a children’s charity named The Making Place. At one time, she was on the board of trustees of the Gate Theatre in Notting Hill as well.
As an academic, Horton has authored several articles and papers. In her 1994 piece ‘Inequality’, which was published as part of the book ‘The Elgar Companion to Radical Political Economy’, she brought up three questions, whether people are "naturally equal in essence"; whether and when the redistribution of wealth is justified; and, if so, how much is "fair"? She went on to speculate that the health status and mortality rates in developed countries rely on the distribution of income.
Relationship with Alan Rickman
When Horton met Rickman, she was 18 and he was 19 years old. At the time, Rickman was an aspiring actor. A graduate of the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA), he gained widespread fame for portraying characters like Hans Gruber in ‘Die Hard’ (1988), Sheriff of Nottingham in ‘Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves’ (1991), P.L. O'Hara in ‘An Awfully Big Adventure’ (1995), Alexander Dane in ‘Galaxy Quest’ (1999), Harry in ‘Love Actually’ (2003), Marvin the Paranoid Android in ‘The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy’ (2005), and Severus Snape in the Harry Potter series. Rickman was an Emmy, Golden Globe, and BAFTA Award winner.
Horton and Rickman began living together in 1977. In 2015, Rickman told the media that the reports of his and Horton’s wedding were indeed true. They had tied the knot in a private ceremony in New York City in 2012. The couple did not have any children. Rickman was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in August 2015 and passed away on January 14, 2016, in London. He was 69 years old at the time. He was subsequently cremated on 3 February and his ashes were received by Horton.