Julie Walters reveals she’s giving up acting after the stress of it ’caused her cancer’ – and admits the diagnosis came as a ‘relief’ because it meant she could stop working
- Actress, 70, fought an 18-month bowel cancer battle away from the public eye
- Diagnosed with stage-three illness while filming The Secret Garden in 2018
- Is now all-clear but admits cancer was ‘relief’ as meant she had to stop working
- Believes ‘stressful’ job with sleepless nights ‘not good for her’ and caused illness
- Says she wants to stop working but only film she’d consider is Mamma Mia 3
Julie Walters has revealed she wants to give up acting, believing the stress of it ’caused her cancer’.
The Golden Globe-winning star, 70, who was diagnosed with stage-three bowel cancer while filming The Secret Garden in Yorkshire in 2018, said she doesn’t want to perform again after getting the all-clear.
She added that finding out she was ill strangely came as a ‘huge relief’ because it meant she could stop working.
Speaking to The Times’ Saturday Review, Birmingham-born Walters admitted: ‘Part of me was going, “Oh my God! I’ve got cancer! Oh my God!” And I’m dealing with the shock of that, and it’s all systems go to have it treated.
Julie Walters has revealed she wants to give up acting, believing the stress of it ’caused her cancer’. Pictured in 2017
‘But there was also an element of going, “I don’t have to do any more work. I can actually get off this treadmill.” Because I had been working really hard and it seemed like a big excuse not to do anything. Cancer trumps everything. So there was a huge relief in it, which is strange. But I needed something to stop me.’
When asked by her oncologist what she thought had caused the cancer, she revealed the first thing that came to her mind was her job.
‘Acting caused it,’ Walters said. ‘Because of the way that I approach it. I have to be totally in it. Everything has to be just so.
‘It’s very stressful. You’re immediately above the parapet. You’re being judged. It’s a stressful job and I don’t sleep when I’m working. It’s not good for me.’
Walters, 70, pictured in March last year, said finding out she was ill strangely came as a ‘huge relief’ because it meant she could stop working
Walters said she doesn’t want to work again – but would consider doing a third Mamma Mia film (pictured with Christine Baranski in Mamma Mia 2)
The actress publicly revealed her cancer ordeal in February during an interview with Victoria Derbyshire.
She admitted that prior to her diagnosis she’d felt obliged to accept as many roles as she could because she was in her sixties.
After she had an operation to remove 30cm of her lower intestine, followed by chemotherapy, Walters, who now lives in West Sussex with her husband Grant Roffey, said she began considering her future and felt something had to change.
‘I thought, “I don’t want to work again”,’ she told the publication. ‘Unless it’s another Mamma Mia.’
She suggested that The Secret Garden, a new adaptation of the Frances Hodgson Burnett book in which she plays housekeeper Mrs Medlock, could be her last role.
The actress publicly revealed her cancer ordeal in February during an interview with Victoria Derbyshire
After her cancer treatment, Walters returned to filming a month later, but found it so draining that a number of her lines had to be cut and a body double was used for certain group scenes.
Talking to Victoria Derbyshire, Walters said she thought doctors must have been mistaken when she first heard the news of her illness.
Dame Julie told how she had visited the doctor with indigestion and ‘slight discomfort’ a year earlier but later came back suffering with stomach pain, heartburn and vomiting but she didn’t have blood in her stools, which can be a common symptom.
Julie said: ‘I had some symptoms and not the others. My discomfort was really slight. Just go and make sure you get checked.’
Speaking in an interview with the Daily Telegraph magazine in April, Walters revealed she didn’t even tell her daughter Maisie, 32, about her cancer until she was in remission.
She said she couldn’t ‘bear the thought’ of her only child knowing what she was going through so told her she was going to have her appendix out.
Maisie herself had cancer as a child, being diagnosed with lymphoblastic leukaemia at the age of two. She was given the all-clear not long after her sixth birthday.
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