William Roache: 'Anne Kirkbride was a depressed alcoholic'
William Roache has revealed his former co-star Anne Kirkbride was a "depressed alcoholic".
During an appearance at the Royal Television Society Awards in London on Tuesday evening (22Mar16), William made the sensational claims about the actress, revealing she had struggled with her final days on the show due to the issues she was going through.
The 83-year-old actor has played Ken Barlow in ITV soap Coronation Street since 1960. Anne starred as his wife Deirdre Barlow in the show from 1976 to 2014, and sadly passed away aged 60 in January 2015 after a battle with breast cancer.
"What happened to Anne was... she was was an alcoholic."
"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 (track) and that got a bit worse and we were holding up scenes because she was being weepy and wailing."
Anne was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in 1993 and while she had come through the illness, it caused her to suffer from depression and led to her taking anti-depressant tablets.
William claimed at the industry event Coronation Street bosses had given Anne a three month ultimatum to "get herself sorted out".
"We just thought her medication was not working as you get older and your body changes," he said. "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.
"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.
"I miss her very much. I worked with her for 35 years. I probably spent more time with her than I did with my wife."
Following William's claims, Anne's real-life husband David Beckett insisted she hadn't drunk for "30 years" up until her death.
"Whilst Anne would describe herself as an ‘alcoholic’, she had not touched a drop of alcohol in 30 years," he said, according to the Daily Mirror.
- Cover Media