Paul O’Grady has spoken out about his good friend Barbara Windsor, after it was revealed last week the EastEnders legend has Alzheimer’s.
TV veteran Paul, 62, has had his own health problems recently, but he took the time to praise Barbara, 80, describing her as a “toughie”.
And he was quick to point out that the Peggy Mitchell actress is still very much the same person we all know and love.
Barbara was diagnosed with the degenerative illness four years ago, but it wasn’t until last week that it was made public, with her husband of 18 years, Scott Mitchell, saying the couple had made the decision to speak out.
He told The Sun: “Since her 80th birthday last August, a definite continual confusion has set in, so it’s becoming a lot more difficult for us to hide.”
As a friend of Barbara’s for the past 30 years, Paul was one of the first people to offer their support to the actress.
He told the Mirror: “We’re all here for her, but she’s still Barbara Windsor.
“I don’t want people to think she’s completely lost her mind, because it’s not true. It’s not the early stages but she’s still very much the Barbara Windsor I know. She’s a toughie and Scott is her rock.”
And Paul explained that he’ll be contacting his old pal in the next couple of days so that they can chat about showbiz – just like they used to.
He said: “I’m going to give her a ring over the weekend. It’s difficult to predict how she will be or how she’ll take it. We used to speak on the phone every Sunday at length about all sorts, about the business.”
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Paul has suffered two heart attacks and was also taken ill last year while filming his ITV series For The Love Of Dogs: India.
But right now, it’s Barbara who’s at the forefront of his mind.
And we’re sending her our warmest wishes, too.
Last year, Paul was rushed to hospital in Delhi after falling seriously ill while filming scenes for ITV’s For The Love Of Dogs: India.
He had been in the country to film his wildly successful when he contracted an infection after visiting local animals.
Thankfully, he made a full recovery.
Over the weekend, Paul also gave fans an update on his own health, saying he’s never felt better since cutting down on TV.
He told Daily Star: “I used to have the telly on all the time and sit and watch all the soaps and shows, but not now.”
Paul added: “Those days are over. My health is better than ever for it too. My doctor even said that I am in much more perfect health, it’s given me a new lease of life.”