Former Footballers' Wives and The Bill actor Ben Richards has split from his wife, just months after revealing his cancer diagnosis.

The 40-year-old received the news from doctors in January, and he told fans he was preparing to undergo radiotherapy treatment.

However, Ben is now facing his health battle as a single man - his wife Helen, who he married in 2003, has revealed their relationship is over.

ben richards

She hinted at personal issues in a message on her Twitter.com page early last month (Jul12) by declaring, "Well that's that then! Thank you! Only 15 years down the drain!", and now Helen has cleared up her cryptic post.

Taking to Twitter again, she wrote: "Wish I could remember 2012 as the year of the Olympics, instead of the year my marriage broke down! Sad times."

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  • Delta Goodrem - was diagnosed at 18 with Hodgkins Lymphoma, an announcement that incited an outpouring of support from her particularly Australian fanbase.

  • In the two decades since Michael J Fox's Parkinson's diagnosis, the popular actor has continued to work on both TV and film, as well as writing two autobiographies and creating a foundation. He has received many awards for his humanitarian work, and says that his illness has in countless ways improved his life.

  • Olivia Newton-John's breast cancer diagnosis and treatment has inspired the Australian singer to work tirelessly on behalf of others, including walking the Chinese wall to raise funds for her new Wellness Centre in a Melbourne hospital.

  • Leslie Ash became the unfortunate figurehead of the MRSA bug that plagued various UK hospitals after she caught the superbug. The actress was awarded £5m in damages, and still walks with a stick.

  • TLC's T-Boz (Tionna Watkins) was diagnosed as a child with sickle cell anaemia, which gave her a reduced life expectancy by doctors she has continued to confound.

  • Christopher Reeve was paralysed following his fall from a horse in 1995. Until his death a decade later, the actor dedicated his efforts to raising funds and advocating for political support to removing the blocks to essential stem cell research for spinal injuries.

  • Anastasia - the American singer discovered she had breast cancer during a standard mammogram ahead of breast reduction surgery in 2003. Following her own treatment, she immediately launched the Anastasia Fund to promote awareness among younger women.

  • Michael C Hall had a mixed year in 2010. He received a Golden Globe for his role in <em>Dexter</em>, which he accepted during his treatment for Hodgkin's Lymphoma. The following April, he announced himself once again fit for work.

  • Anthony Andrews - was hospitalised in 2003 for "a salt imbalance". This came about as the unexpected consequence of drinking too much water while performing on stage during a hot weather spell in London.

  • Russell Watson has recently resumed his career after being struck down ttwice with life-threatening brain tumours. He has recorded his first album since treatment, and credits his surgery with his new, deeper voice.

  • Martin Kemp - former singer and EastEnders star had two brain tumours in the 1990s, and had pioneering treatment for the second. He has been acting since, and returned to the road with his band Spandau Ballet.

  • Cheryl Crowe has not had a smooth time of it - going through treatment for breast cancer in 2006, and then this year announcing she has a brain tumour.

  • Gail Porter's bold, bald head has become a staple of red carpets following the presenter's decision to shave it all off, when her alopecia returned. She has made a documentary about the process too.

  • JEntourage star Jeremy Piven spun the rumour mill into action when he mysteriously dropped out of a Broadway play. He later explained he'd had mercury poisoning, caught from a culprit offering of sushi.

  • Michael Douglas received intensive treatment for throat cancer - and the stress of watching her husband's gruelling experience ignited Catherine Zeta Jones' bipolar disorder for which she attended a clinic in America.

  • Mariah Carey's husband Nick Cannon was struck down with liver failure in January this year. Following his recovery, he has made public the lifestyle changes he needs to make to ensure continued health.

  • Sharon Stone - suffered a stroke in 2001, the seriousness of which was played down at the time, but which actually saw bleeding into her brain for nearly a fortnight. The actress only regained feeling in her left leg months later.

  • Madonna brought several bones in 2005 when she fell from a horse, and suffered further bruising falling again in 2009...

  • ... as did TV presenter Lorraine Kelly, in a frightening fall in February this year, when she was learning to ride. Her horse stamped on her, and she lost 3 pints of blood.

  • Cheryl Cole - malaria charities everywhere found their profiles shot up when the Girls Aloud singer caught the illness during a trip to Africa in 2010.

  • Kylie Minogue moved to Paris for treatment for breast cancer following her diagnosis in 2005. She eventually gave some intensely revealing interviews about this dark period in her life, and said the 5-year anniversary would be a very important moment.

  • ... while sister Dannii has had to battle with an underactive thyroid condition.

  • Peter Andre suffered from meningitis during his marriage to Katie Price, the symptoms of which first led him to think he merely had a bad bout of flu...

  • ... while Katie Price had a cancer scare in 2002 after having a malignant growth removed from her finger.