Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

I'm Grateful for a Second Chance; Actress Martine McCutcheon, Who Starred in EastEnders and Hit Film Love Actually, Has Battled Illness and Financial Problems in the Last Seven Years. but Now She's Back. She Tells GABRIELLE FAGAN about Her Fight to Recover, and How She Has Returned to Her Roots as a Singer

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

I'm Grateful for a Second Chance; Actress Martine McCutcheon, Who Starred in EastEnders and Hit Film Love Actually, Has Battled Illness and Financial Problems in the Last Seven Years. but Now She's Back. She Tells GABRIELLE FAGAN about Her Fight to Recover, and How She Has Returned to Her Roots as a Singer

Article excerpt

Byline: GABRIELLE FAGAN

unable to work, she was also declared bankrupt.

Although she now looks glowing with health, with her glossy brunette mane of hair and trademark dimples, Martine, 37, says. "It's been very, very tough. It's taken me a long time to get myself together and get back again.

"There have been many times when I was so depressed I didn't want to go on. Suffering excruciating pain for years with no medicine to ease it can get the better of you."

Martine, originally from Hackney, London, first suffered minor health problems while she was performing in My Fair Lady, eventually forcing her to pull out of the successful show after a year.

"That was put down to a virus but also it's incredibly demanding performing eight shows a week, and that takes its toll on the best of performers," she says.

Even so, nothing prepared her for a few years later, when she felt so ill that she collapsed 20 times, piled on weight, and suffered depression.

"I had unbelievable pain in my muscles and my joints, was incredibly tired and fatigued the whole time and was so weak I couldn't even lift my arms above my head to wash my hair.

"What was awful was that I genuinely thought I was going mad because I kept going to all these experts and having blood tests but nobody could find anything that made sense.

"The doctors finally had a 'eureka' moment and told me what I had but then revealed they didn't know what to do about it. That was a double whammy of a blow, I felt in complete despair."

Luckily, throughout it all, she was sustained by the love of her husband, singer/songwriter, Jack McManus, whom she married in 2012.

"Jack was definitely sent to me from somewhere special above because I just don't know how I would have carried on without him," she says.

"He's been a massive part of my recovery. He isn't just my husband, he's my best friend, and I discovered through the dark times more than ever that I did really love him."

While Martine still has to cope with symptoms of the condition, she feels she's gained more understanding of how to deal with it. …

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