Gogglebox's June Opens Up On Life After Leon's Death
June Bernicoff shot to fame alongside her husband, Leon, as two stars of hit Channel 4 series, Gogglebox.
But following Leon's tragic death 18 months ago, June now says she finds it too difficult to watch TV anymore.
The two teachers were married for 57 years and became unlikely celebrities when they were cast for the reality show, in 2013.
Speaking to the Mirror, June, who no longer appears on the show, said: "I don't watch much TV these days if I'm honest. I find it difficult.
"I've been reading a lot more, or listening to the radio, but I just feel restless whenever I sit down to watch it.
"I find myself getting up to make a lot of cups of tea and I can't settle."
However, despite the sudden loss of Leon, who died in December 2017 after suffering a bout of pneumonia and sepsis, the 81-year-old says she doesn't feel lonely.
She said: "People talk about how difficult it is coming into an empty house. But it's funny, I never really feel the house is empty somehow.
"Leon was such a large figure... I can hear him saying things like, 'Why have you got this nonsense on?' when I'm listening to Classic FM.
"It's strange going out on my own, though, and things like driving the car are hard because he always wanted to be behind the wheel."
But during their time on Gogglebox together, the loving couple became firm fan favourites, with millions tuning in to see Leon wind his wife up and reminding her to remember the crackers.
And even when he was at his most frail, June says Leon was still cracking jokes and insisted on being part of the Christmas special.
"When he heard me on the phone to the producer saying that he wasn't up to it, he called out, 'Nonsense! I'm here in my Christmas jumper, Legs!'," she says.
'Legs' was Leon's pet name for the show's producer.
She added: "I told him it was sexist and he'd get into trouble, but he'd just laugh and tell me not to be silly."
However, two days after shooting the special, Leon was admitted to hospital.
But even then, June says, he was still trying to make people laugh.
She said: "He'd go wild when anyone complained about the food and would say, 'H is for hospital, not hotel'.
"Whenever he went into hospital, he'd always come home heavier than he went in because he'd charm them into giving him extra portions of pudding."
June says she was overwhelmed with cards and support from people, after Leon's death, and still gets stopped in the street by people.
She said: "People just keep stopping me and giving me a squeeze to tell me they're sorry about losing Leon.
"He was so well-liked and so kind-hearted - there isn't a Big Issue seller in the city who didn't know him."
Two months after his death, Channel 4 aired a special episode of Gogglebox, and June says she was brought to tears.
She said: "I looked over to his chair, and when I saw it, that was the first time I really, really cried after he died.
"It was the start of my grieving process, funny as that sounds.
"People kept expecting me to burst into tears in the supermarket, but grief is very private.
"I remember switching off the TV and thinking, 'Those cameras will never be there again'."
But the grandmother admits she still watches the show as it brings back lots of happy memories.
"It's such a big part of me, and the other stars are like family members, in a way," she says.
"I miss Leon's company and his voice in the house, and the way he made me laugh.
"But he always said that if he passed away before me, I had to stay positive and keep going.
"I remembered that, and that is what I have done."
Featured Image Credit: Channel 4