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Hol­ly­wood ac­tress Patsy Ken­sit on her re­cent health scare and heartache.

Friday - - Contents -

It’s been just a few months since Bri­tish ac­tress Patsy Ken­sit had a hys­terec­tomy to re­move two large cysts and it’s clear she is feel­ing vul­ner­a­ble.

The 45-year-old for­mer Em­merdale star looks good in a red dress but from the start of our in­ter­view she’s fid­gety, talks quickly and of­ten loses the thread of her sen­tences, which are at best dis­jointed.

She’d al­ready had a large ovar­ian cyst re­moved in a pre­vi­ous op­er­a­tion and says she felt more scared when two more cysts were dis­cov­ered this year, be­cause her mother, Mar­garet, died from breast can­cer aged 45.

Ken­sit has been hav­ing mam­mo­grams and ul­tra­sounds an­nu­ally for more than 20 years.

“I’d had pneu­mo­nia, then there were th­ese tu­mours and there was this sense of ur­gency,” she re­calls, her words tum­bling out al­most in­co­her­ently.

We’re here to dis­cuss her au­to­bi­og­ra­phy, Ab­so­lute Be­gin­ner, which charts her life grow­ing up on a Lon­don coun­cil es­tate as the daugh­ter of a fraud­ster who had as­so­ci­a­tions with the crim­i­nal un­der­world. To com­pound mat­ters, her mother was af­flicted by health prob­lems through­out Patsy’s early life.

But she seems so frag­ile to­day that af­ter a few min­utes of lis­ten­ing to her, I won­der if it’s a bit too soon for the for­mer rock chick to have bared her soul about her life and loves.

When the first cyst was dis­cov­ered, there was a point when she thought she was go­ing to die, she re­veals.

“I’d been sent for an MRI and ev­ery­one had gone. All you’re left with is a chamomile tea, a gin­ger bis­cuit and your thoughts. The mind is a very pow­er­ful thing and I’ve seen it with my mum. My mum was told, ‘You are go­ing to die in six months’, and six years later she was still there.

“I’d waited my whole life for the in­evitable to hap­pen. Ev­ery happy time was com­pro­mised with the re­al­ity that she was sick. I never saw her cry, she never got de­pressed. She was in­cred­i­ble.”

She con­tin­ues ran­domly, “I’m not scared of dy­ing. I’m ter­ri­fied of be­ing sick. I’ve been very un­well. I like to be strong and well and this whole thing hap­pened two months ago and I haven’t bounced back like I nor­mally do. It’s a shock when your body gets a kick­ing. I’m 45 now and it takes time. It’s been very scary.

“I’ve been very emo­tional. No-one talks about hys­terec­tomies. The word is Dick­en­sian. I go to the su­per­mar­ket and for­get why I’m there. I come out with a cab­bage and a pair of tights!”

Ken­sit’s ca­reer be­gan at the age of four and she soon be­came a child star, ap­pear­ing in ma­jor films along­side the likes of El­iz­a­beth Tay­lor and Mia Far­row. Then, in Hol­ly­wood, she starred with Mel Gib­son in Lethal

Weapon 2 and later, af­ter re­turn­ing to Bri­tain, clinched roles in Em­merdale and Holby City.

Yet much of her life seems to have been de­fined by her men, most no­tably Sim­ple Minds front­man Jim Kerr and Oa­sis singer Liam Gal­lagher, two of her four ex-hus­bands. Her fa­ther James was in and out of prison for much of his adult life, so it was left to her mother to bring up Patsy and her brother Jamie.

“De­spite what he did for a liv­ing, he was my fa­ther and I loved him,” she says. “Some weeks we’d eat out at a restau­rant ev­ery night, other weeks it was bub­ble and squeak ev­ery day.

“From what I now know about the East End, you ei­ther boxed or you were in a band or you were a vil­lain.”

She be­lieves her fa­ther’s time in and out of prison may have af­fected her sub­se­quent re­la­tion­ships with men, ex­plain­ing, “I seem to func­tion – or maybe not func­tion so well – in a re­la­tion­ship when the man goes away a lot.”

She says she doesn’t re­ally count her first mar­riage to Dan Dono­van of

1980s pop band Big Au­dio Dy­na­mite or her last, to DJ Jeremy Healy.

“My re­la­tion­ships with my two boys’ fa­thers [she has a son, James, with Kerr and another, Len­non, with Gal­lagher] are the two [mar­riages] that I choose to ac­knowl­edge. And I’m mind­ful of the boys’ dads. I don’t want to keep drag­ging up the past be­cause it’s a long time ago.”

She might not want to talk about her past per­sonal life to­day, but is happy to spill the beans in her au­to­bi­og­ra­phy.

Of her ill-fated mar­riage to Kerr, she writes, “I be­lieve in mar­riage with all my heart and I’ve never made light of it. I just seem to be ter­ri­bly bad at it.

“I think there’s a per­cep­tion that I get mar­ried for all the wrong rea­sons, but I was so in love with Jim when we got to­gether.

“It was the real thing and, pos­si­bly, if I’d known then what I know now about re­la­tion­ships and life in gen­eral, I might have worked harder at my mar­riage and things might have turned out dif­fer­ently for us.

“I changed a lot af­ter my mum died – her death broke me and I was on a quest to find some­one to love me the way she had.”

To­day, she re­mains close to Kerr, say­ing, “He’s a won­der­ful fa­ther and a great friend.”

She’s slightly less forth­com­ing about Gal­lagher. “With Liam, it was the re­la­tion­ship you dream of when you’re a teenager. It didn’t start off in some hor­ri­ble sleazy way. It was re­ally sweet and again, hats off to them both be­cause they re­ally tried.”

She seems to blame her­self for her mar­riage to Gal­lagher go­ing wrong, even though he was away so much and ru­mours were fly­ing about his in­fi­deli­ties.

“I just don’t want to think about it,” she says war­ily. “He’s a great dad.”

Her book is more re­veal­ing. She had been a singer with the group Eighth-Won­der and says that be­ing seen as a wannabe pop star wiped out years of wor­thy act­ing roles. Her mar­riage to Gal­lagher had a sim­i­lar ef­fect. “I was sud­denly seen as this tabloid crea­ture and it di­luted who I was,” she writes.

“I’d heard all the ru­mours about his be­hav­iour and I knew ex­actly what was go­ing on be­hind my back, but I want to fo­cus on the good times be­cause there were plenty of them.”

Patsy Ken­sit is de­ter­mined to shake off the shadow of tabloids’ cov­er­age

Patsy says her re­la­tion­ship with Liam Gal­lagher was the sort a teenager dreams of

Patsy Ken­sit’s Ab­so­lute Be­gin­ner is a mov­ing, en­ter­tain­ing au­to­bi­og­ra­phy

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