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William Roache: Coronation Street Co-Star Anne Kirkbride Was 'Depressed Alcoholic'

William Roache has revealed some heartbreaking details about co-star Anne Kirkbride.

24/03/2016 07:21 GMT | Updated 24/03/2016 11:00 GMT

'Coronation Street' veteran William Roache has revealed details about the health of his on-screen wife Anne Kirkbride, which will come as a shock to her millions of fans.

MORE: 'Corrie' Fans Blast Bill Roache's 'Disrespectful' Comments About Anne Kirkbride

Anne, who played one of the cobbles' stalwarts Deirdre Barlow for more than 40 years, died in January 2015 of breast cancer, but William revealed on Tuesday that her problems were more complicated than that. 

ITV
William Roache worked alongside Anne Kirkbride for 35 years - "I spent more time with her than with my wife"

He claimed that Anne had been suffering from alcoholism in the months before her death, had been battling depression and had been on medication "all her life". 

He also explained the reason she had been away from the studios in that time, was because 'Coronation Street' bosses had given her three months to "pull herself together". 

Speaking at the Royal Television Society Awards on Tuesday evening, William said: 

"What happened to Anne was she was [an] alcoholic. She was on drugs for depression. She was a beautiful person.

"She had been an alcoholic but she was off the drink. She was on anti-depressant drugs all her life and then she just started crying a lot and I spent half my life sort of comforting her and getting her back on... and that got a bit worse and we were holding up scenes because she was being weepy and wailing.

"We just thought her medication was not working as you get older and your body changes. The management gave her three months out to get herself sorted out which is what we thought would happen and she would come back and be perfectly okay.

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Her fans were shocked by the loss of Anne Kirkbride last year

"And then they rang me to say she had a stroke and was paralysed down the left side and they had taken her in for a scan and in the scan they found her right lung full of cancer and she had a brain tumour. They took her into hospital on the Friday and she died on the Monday. In a way it was a blessing."

Anne, whose character Deirdre was one of the Street's most popular faces, had appeared in nearly 1,500 episodes of the soap over four decades, but had previously revealed struggling with depression, and that she took medication to keep dark thoughts at bay. 

Her illness followed her 1993 diagnosis of non-Hodgkins lymphoma, which forced her to spend a year off work. She recovered and returned to the Street, but continued to struggle mentally for the next decade. 

William, who paid warm tribute to Anne when she died in January last year, added how much he still missed his closest on-screen companion. 

"I worked with her for 35 years. I probably spent more time with her than I did with my wife."

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