Barbara Windsor Diagnosed With Alzheimer's Disease
Dame Barbara Windsor has been diagnosed with Alzheimer's, her husband has revealed.
The iconic EastEnders and Carry On star was diagnosed with the degenerative brain disease in April 2014 - when she began to cry at hearing the news.
Speaking to the Sun, 55-year-old husband Scott Michael explained his reasons for going public with the news.
"Firstly, I hope speaking out will help other families dealing with loved ones who have this cruel disease', the Carry On legend's husband Scott Mitchell, 55, told The Sun.
"Secondly, I want the public to know because they are naturally very drawn to Barbara and she loves talking to them.
"So rather than me living in fear she might get confused or upset, they'll know that if her behaviour seems strange, it's due to Alzheimer's and accept it for what it is."
He added: "I can't protect her any longer. I'm doing this interview - and I would like to make clear that I'm not being paid for it and it's the only one I'll be doing - because I know that rumours are circulating in showbusiness circles."
Mitchell - who is a former actor and now manages other EastEnders stars, said that his wife of 18 years struggled with her diagnosis.
"We walked out of the neurologist's office and it was almost as if she chose to forget what we had just been told.
"That's Bar 100 per cent. And I understood because who would want to take that in? Sometimes, denial is easier, isn't it?
"It was important to her to keep going through life without people looking at her in any different way. And I respected her wishes on that.
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"For it to have come out any earlier would have been detrimental to her wellbeing and her health."
Mitchell said he first realised there was something not quite right in 2009 when his wife first left EastEnders, explaining: "Barbara had always prided herself on her memory and would say if anyone wanted to know anything, they'd phone her. But she started to find it difficult to learn her lines.
"She also had a couple of freezes when working, which was unusual for her. But we didn't think anything of it.'
By 2012 she had begun to repeat stories and sentences, which was when she was told she should visit her doctor.
By 2016, she became confused during conversations and the repetitiveness was more frequent.
Mitchell continued: "Since her 80th birthday last August, a definite continual confusion has set in, so it's becoming a lot more difficult for us to hide.
"I don't want it to come across that she's sitting there unable to communicate, because she's not.
"We're still going out for walks or dinner with friends and we still laugh together a lot. She loves going out and it's good for her - she comes alive. And of course, the public are naturally very drawn to her, which I don't want to stop.
'But as soon as we leave the house, I live in constant terror that she's going to say something, or suddenly have a panic attack, or get photographed when she's not looking right."
Featured Image Credit: PA
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