‘I couldn’t bear the thought of everyone worrying’: Julie Walters reveals she kept cancer battle secret from her daughter
She fought an 18-month cancer battle away from the public eye.
And Dame Julie Walters has now revealed she kept it so secret that she did not even tell her daughter until she was in remission.
The actress, 70, said she couldn’t ‘bear the thought’ of her only child Maisie, 31, knowing what she was going through so told her she was going to have her appendix out.
Secret: Dame Julie Walters has revealed she kept her bowel cancer battle so secret that she did not even tell her daughter until she was in remission
In fact, the star had two tumours removed from her colon and went through a round of gruelling chemotherapy for bowel cancer before she was given the all-clear.
‘I couldn’t bear the thought of everyone worrying, particularly my daughter,’ she told the Daily Telegraph’s magazine. ‘I told her I needed to have my appendix removed because there was a problem. I couldn’t say the word “cancer” to her.’
Dame Julie said Maisie simply responded, ‘Okay, mum’. ‘She knew it probably didn’t sound right, but she also knew I wasn’t going to talk about it and she didn’t push me,’ she said.
Maisie herself had cancer as a child, being diagnosed with lymphoblastic leukaemia at the age of two. She was given the all-clear not long after her sixth birthday.
Family: The actress, 70, said she couldn’t ‘bear the thought’ of her only child Maisie, 31, knowing what she was going through (pictured with Maisie and husband Grant Roffey in 2005)
Dame Julie said her husband Grant Roffey, 63, was there as she received her own diagnosis – when she learned she had had cancer for four years – and was her support.
‘I didn’t want to upset people around me. I wanted to keep it small. Of course it was frightening, but Grant was with me every step.
‘I didn’t want to have to talk about it until I’d processed it myself. I still find it a bit hard to be honest.’
The actress publicly revealed her cancer ordeal in February, confirming she had been given the all-clear, 18 months after being diagnosed with stage three bowel cancer.
Brave: The actress publicly revealed her cancer ordeal in February during an interview with Victoria Derbyshire
Talking to Victoria Derbyshire, the Mamma Mia star said she thought doctors must have been mistaken when she first heard the news.
Dame Julie said she had visited the doctor with indigestion and ‘slight discomfort’ a year earlier but later came back suffering with stomach pain, heartburn and vomiting but she didn’t have blood in her stools, which can be a common symptom.
Julie said: ‘I had some symptoms and not the others. My discomfort was really slight. Just go and make sure you get checked.’
Marriage: She remembers telling her husband Grant Roffey. ‘I’ll never forget his face’ as she spoke about his tears
Julie herself underwent a CT scan after being referred to a gastric surgeon and, while she was on set filming her upcoming film The Secret Garden, received a phone call asking her to see the specialist who told her it might be cancer.
‘I was still thinking, ‘That’s ridiculous, he must have made a mistake’. I couldn’t believe it,’ Dame Julie told Derbyshire who has documented her own recovery from cancer..
She remembers telling her husband Grant Roffey. ‘I’ll never forget his face. Tears came into his eyes,’ Dame Julie said.
Mistake: Talking to Victoria Derbyshire, the Mamma Mia star said she thought doctors must have been mistaken when she first heard the news
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