Dame Julie Walters kept her cancer diagnosis a secret as she didn’t want to “upset people”.
Back in February, the 70-year-old revealed she was diagnosed with stage three-bowel cancer 18 months prior.
And now Julie has explained the reason she kept the heartbreaking diagnosis a secret. In an interview with The Telegraph, the Harry Potter actress admitted, “People deal with it in different ways. I couldn’t bear the thought of everyone worrying – particularly my daughter.”
The mum-of-one added, “I didn’t want to upset people around me.”
Speaking to BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire back in February, the actress – who has appeared in the likes of Mamma Mia, Billy Elliot and Calendar Girls – said she’d been given the all clear after having chemotherapy.
And now she’s had time to reflect on the cancer – which started with two primary tumours in her large intestine before spreading to nearby lymph nodes – Julie has a newfound perspective on life.
“It seems unreal now, it seemed unreal at the time, but it was very real. Very real,” she told The Telegraph. “It’s changed me because it’s changed the way I live my life.
“I’ve let a lot of noise go and now a year and a half has passed. I’ve gone from thinking of my cancer as a shock and something terrible that has happened to me, to thinking in a way it was a gift.”
Having starred in some of the world’s biggest films, it is a sad prospect that Julie might not act again.
While she hasn’t confirmed The Secret Garden – the last film she worked on but was unable to complete to do her cancer diagnosis – will be her last, Julie is certainly enjoying a slower pace of life with her husband Grant Roffey.
She said, “I thought about stopping at 60, but I didn’t. I carried on getting up, pushing myself, working all the time, and then this cancer came and it stopped me, which is why I now think of it as a gift.
“I thought I would just carry on, but I couldn’t and I’ve been happy.”