This time last year everything was coming up roses for Linda Robson – only to fall apart over the festive season.
The Loose Women stalwart hit the headlines for all the wrong reasons after police were reportedly called to domestic incidents in her home twice in a fortnight.
Today Linda is a woman reborn, picking herself up off the canvas to tackle life with her characteristic good humour. ‘I’m doing all right,’ a perky Linda tells our sister publication Woman’s Own. ‘I just needed a break really. Yeah, I’m definitely coming back!’
After a year in which she has tackled a number of personal problems, along with a family illness that eclipsed any thoughts of a career revival, this positive news will come as music to her fans’ ears. And as if to prove what a difference a year makes, Linda, 61, is pulling out all the stops for a memorable and special family Christmas.
The lifelong Cockney is planning a huge family celebration, bringing together her three children and two grandchildren for a Christmas celebration to remember.
‘It has been an incredibly tough year for Linda,’ says a long-standing friend. ‘In a way, it all hit harder as nobody saw the problems coming.
‘Linda really was on top form. She’d managed to lose 2st and was feeling fitter than ever, when, all of a sudden, things went a bit sideways. ‘It’s a testament to her incredible resolve that she was able to pick herself up off the canvas and rebuild. What Linda’s been through would have broken most people.’
While the star has maintained a dignified privacy about her struggles, she has dropped the occasional hint. Speaking at fellow Loose Woman Stacey Solomon’s Primark launch recently, she told us, ‘I just needed a break really, and Lauren’s [her eldest daughter] dad hasn’t been very well.
‘It’s been really fantastic to see the girls. I’ve been in touch with them the whole time I’ve been off [out of the spotlight]. I’ve just had a little break for a while.’
Fans have been calling for Linda’s return from day one, so they will be delighted to hear that Linda recently popped into ITV’s head office for formal discussions about her coming back to the Loose Women panel.
‘It’s never really been in any doubt that she would come back [to our screens],’ an ITV insider tells Woman’s Own. ‘The delay has been entirely Linda’s decision.
‘She’s had so much on her plate at home, nobody wanted to rush her back. But the lines of communication were kept open all along, and the moment she gave the nod, they called her in to arrange her comeback.’
Linda is understood to be seeking a low-key return, which is slated to happen some time in the new year. As the insider puts it, the Birds of a Feather star is being welcomed back with ‘open arms’.
One thing that Linda and ITV are determined to ensure is that the pressure doesn’t ramp up for her [like it did this time last year]. ‘You can make the best plans, but you never know what life has in store,’ adds the source.
‘Linda lost her mum to dementia a few years ago and it took a long time for all the grief to come out. Getting back to work is just a bonus. For now, her number-one priority is to make the most of every single day with her family.’
Top of the menu? A family Christmas to remember!