Belfast Telegraph

Ex-Street star tells of bankruptcy

Former Coronation Street star Beverley Callard has revealed how she was left bankrupt after quitting the soap to spend time with her dying mother.

The actress said she gave up her role on the long-running series to spend time with her mother Mavis, who was in the late stages of Alzheimer's.

In an interview with the Sunday Mirror, the 55-year-old admitted she also felt compelled to leave the show last spring because of concerns she was slipping back into depression, which had led to a nervous breakdown in 2009.

Ms Callard, who played barmaid Liz McDonald on the soap for 22 years, said: "Since the bankruptcy became public people think I'm a showbiz diva who frittered her cash away on expensive dinners and fancy clothes. That couldn't be further from the truth.

"It was horrific. I've worked non-stop since I was 16 and somehow it all seemed it had been for nothing. Corrie schedules are full-on. It's all or nothing and I had to face a choice between The Street or Mum. I love everything about Corrie but there could only be one answer."

Ms Callard said that despite suffering with Alzheimer's, her mother still had a "faint flicker of recognition" whenever she and sister Stephanie walked into her room. But no longer working, Ms Callard was declared bankrupt in May with debts from her own medical bills and the collapse of her pub business with husband Jon McEwan.

The mother-of-two told the Sunday Mirror at their lowest point the couple were reduced to borrowing cash from friends and survived on just one meal a day. She was also unable to cover the cost of electric shock therapy for depression while in a psychiatric ward at The Priory in Altrincham. Ms Callard suffered a breakdown in February 2009 while working on Coronation Street and at the pub which she owned with her fourth husband Jon.

The actress remembers little of that time and relies on accounts from her husband and her children, Rebecca, 35, and Josh, 22.

She told the Sunday Mirror: "I was like a character out of One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest. Jon thought he had lost his bubbly, outgoing wife and the kids had lost their mum."

Just weeks after Ms Callard was declared bankrupt, her mother died. Ms Callard told the Sunday Mirror she managed to keep afloat by living in a flat in Spain which she has owned for 15 years while renting her English home. She added that the experience had made her and her husband closer.

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