Waterloo Road Actress Holly Matthews Explains How She Told Her Daughters About Dad's Terminal Cancer

'I was terrified. I felt sick.'

Waterloo Road’ actress Holly Matthews has used her first TV interview since the death of her husband on 29 July, to discuss how she spoke to her daughters about their dad’s terminal illness.

The 32-year-old appeared on ITV’s ‘Lorraine Show’ on Thursday morning, almost two months after her partner Ross Blair died from a cancerous brain tumour.

Matthews explained to Lorraine Kelly that because of the nature of her husband’s illness she wanted to tell their children, Brooke, six, and Texas, four, about it as soon as possible, even though she was terrified of “pulling the rug” from under them.

“I was terrified to tell them, I was terrified, I felt sick,” she said. “But I knew that with brain cancer, because you deteriorate, we might not have got the chance where Ross would act appropriately.”

Proving that kids always pick up on more than we think, the mother-of-two explained how Brooke seemed to know about her father’s condition before she was told.

“As I was starting to say it, she actually went ‘just say it’ cause she knew, she knew,” Matthews said.

“They knew but it wasn’t something tangible, what does brain cancer mean to a four- and a six-year-old?

During Blair’s three-year illness, Matthews also spoke to Jeff Brazier about the death of Jade Goody, and how he discussed loss and grief with his two sons, Bobby, 14, and Freddie, 12.

“His situation was similar with the boys. He gave me the confidence. He said you must tell them, they need to say goodbye.”

Blair was first diagnosed with grade 4 brain cancer in 2014. he was admitted to Myton hospice, Warwickshire, in 2017, which she blogged about in a post on HuffPost UK.

Matthews, who has since raised £11,000 to support the hospice, wrote: “Of course, I knew this would eventually come, but that never prepares you for the absoluteness of being faced with it.”

This isn’t the family’s first encounter with cancer, Brooke was diagnosed with meningitis when she was just five months old, which Matthews herself had at seven years old.

Lorraine is on ITV, weekdays 8.30am - 9.25am.