Julie Walters kept her bowel cancer battle a secret from her daughter because she couldn’t “bear the thought” of her worrying about it.
The Mamma Mia! actress, 70, spoke about her battle with the disease for the first time back in February, sharing that she’s been given the all-clear following rounds of chemotherapy and surgery to remove 30cm from her colon.
In addition to keeping her personal struggles out of the public eye, the British star also hid her health battle from her 31-year-old daughter Maisie, because she “couldn’t bear the thought of everyone worrying”.
She told Britain’s Telegraph 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.'”
The Paddington 2 actress said Maisie simply responded, “Okay, mum,” reflecting: “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.”
Maisie herself had cancer as a child, being diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia at the age of two. She was given the all-clear shortly after her sixth birthday.
However, the beloved actress wasn’t alone in her fight against the illness as her husband Grant Roffey, 63, was there as she received her diagnosis and found out the cancer had been present for four years.
“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,” she recalled. “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.”