Loose Women's Nadia Sawalha breaks down as she opens up about former husband's suicide

19 August 2019, 15:55

Nadia broke down over her husband's death
Nadia broke down over her husband's death. Picture: ITV

The former EastEnders actress was supported by fans after she spoke out about her late husband Justin Mildwater.

Nadia Sawalha broke down on Loose Women today when she opened up about the tragic death of her first husband.

As part of Loose Women's 20th anniversary, the panelists have been speaking on their lives before joining the panel.

But emotions got the better of 54-year-old Nadia as she was asked about first husband Justin Mildwater, who took his life on Christmas day in 1997 at the age of just 31.

At the time, was playing Annie Palmer in BBC’s EastEnders and had split from Justin a few months earlier after five years of marriage.

While talking about her loss, Nadia was forced to stop mid sentence as she became visibly emotional, with fellow panelist Kaye Adams stepping in to comfort her.

Nadia became visibly choked when she spoke about her late husband
Nadia became visibly choked when she spoke about her late husband. Picture: ITV

Nadia confessed: "I had a real tragedy while I was there [on EastEnders], my first husband died and it was a truly, truly awful time for everybody. I had to carry on working, I was in the middle of a very big storyline.

"That was really hard because when somebody dies, so many people have an idea of how you should behave and how you should be. I remember just saying, ‘Can someone give me the book on what I’m supposed to be doing?'"

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Speaking about the late Wendy Richards - who played Pauline Fowler on the soap - she continued: "One of the first calls I got was from Wendy Richard. I’ll never forget it, she said ‘I can have a car there straight away, you can come to the flat, you can stay as long as you like’.”

Before adding: “I didn’t take her up because I was really scared of her, but it was such a lovely thing to do it really was."

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And fans were quick to support her following the emotional confession, with one writing on Twitter: “Nadia sending you cyber hugs. I felt your emotion watching that. X”

Another said: “That seemed genuinely difficult for Nadia today. Fair play to her. #loosewomen”

During the episode, Nadia also opened up about her family and reflected on her relationship with her sisters, Dina and Julia.

Julia is also an actress and starred as Saffy Moon in Absolutely Fabulous as well as Dorcas Lane in Lark Rise to Candleford.

But Nadia explained how their relationship could be turbulent at times, as she said: "She is totally amazing. She's really amazing my younger sister but we've always had a really volatile relationship.

Nadia said her relationship with her sister Julia was 'volatile'
Nadia said her relationship with her sister Julia was 'volatile'. Picture: PA Images

"So we've always had periods of time in our life where we don't speak. I always say I have the best time or the worst time of my life with her. It's the same with both my sisters.

"My dad always says 'formidable women'. That's all he wanted. He came to this country with £50 in his pocket because he wanted six daughters who were free. His sister was married at 14. He said 'I want strong, independent, professional women that follow their dreams.

"What he got was free very independent, difficult women. Because of that we have a very intense on and off relationship."