Ross Kemp says his on-screen mum Barbara Windsor is “relieved” people know about her Alzheimer’s diagnosis – and he praises her strength.
The actor, who played Grant Mitchell in EastEnders, told how he spoke to the 80-year-old TV legend, best known for being Peggy Mitchell in the hit BBC soap, this week.
He says she’s doing great and hopes revealing she has the disease will help others.
“I spoke to Barbara on the phone this week,” said Ross, 53, at the DIVA Magazine Awards in London on Friday night. “She’s doing a lot better than she was.
“I’m really proud of her and her husband Scott for being open about it. I think it was a brave decision to reveal her Alzheimer’s diagnosis. Hopefully it will take some of the stigma away and allow others to talk about it. She feels relieved after telling people.”
Dame Barbara, also famous for her roles in the Carry On films, was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in 2014. But hubby Scott Mitchell, 55, only decided to speak out recently before her memory got any worse or rumours began to spread. He also admitted that his wife’s condition has worsened to the point that she sometimes forgets they are married.
The star was this week pictured looking happy and healthy as she cuddled up to pal and Britain’s Got Talent judge David Walliams.
Ross, who has moved from soaps into documentaries, said he’d love to return to the Square one day.
“Never say never. I’d love to do some acting. I’m proud to be Grant Mitchell. I’ve a lot to thank it for. I never thought it’d grow into what it has.”
He has found himself in dangerous situations as he travels the world filming in war-torn countries and crime-hit cities. Currently working on a new documentary for ITV, due out in October, it tackles the prevalent issue of gun and knife crime on our own streets.
“It’s about armed policing. It’s taken a year to film. We had some sad
moments. I interviewed a lady in Newham, South London, whose 14-year-old son was shot dead. That was emotional.”
Married to Australian lawyer Renee since 2012, the couple have three children, Leo, three, and eight-month old twins Ava and Kitty. He has a seven-year-old son with ex Nicola Coleman.
“ I live a very different life to the life I lived when I was 35,” Ross admitted.
“I had a good time back then but this is a different kind of enjoyment. I’m glad I did it this way round.”
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