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28 April 2019, 14:30
The much-loved widow admits she finds it hard to settle in front of the telly and spends time reading instead
Gogglebox’s June Bernicoff has opened up about life after the death of her beloved husband Leon, admitting she finds it “difficult” to watch TV without him beside her.
The 81-year-old widow and late husband Leon, who met at teacher training college in 1955, shot to fame when they first appeared on the Channel 4 reality show back in 2013.
Sat next to one another in matching armchairs, the pensioners warmed the hearts of the nation with their back and forth chatter.
But June was left devastated in 2017 when her husband of 57 years died aged 83, and has since admitted she can’t “settle” in front of the telly without him.
She told The Mirror: "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."
Despite the difficulties she’s faced in the wake of Leon’s passing, June insisted that she can still feel the presence of her quick-witted husband in their home of over 50 years.
"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."
Leon died in December 2017 after suffering an aggressive bout of pneumonia and sepsis following a short illness. He lost his fight after 10 days in hospital.
However, June said that even when Leon was at his most frail, the cheeky TV personality was still cracking jokes and wanted to be part of the Gogglebox 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.
According to June, ’Legs' was Leon's nickname for one of the show's crew members.
She explained: "I told him it was sexist and he'd get into trouble, but he'd just laugh and tell me not to be silly."
June, who shared two daughters with Leon, decided not to return to Gogglebox following his death but has since written a book called Leon and June: Our Story, which celebrates their life together.