TV star Larry Lamb says that he cannot remember his mother walking out on the family when he was nine years old.
His mother took his baby sister but left Larry and his brother with their "nasty, poisonous" father when she left their home.
He had no contact with his mother until later.
The former EastEnders and Gavin and Stacey star, 65, told the Radio Times: "There are areas of my life that are a complete blank. I do not remember, for example, the actual day I said goodbye to my mum.
"All I can remember is walking home from school and realising this was the beginning of a whole new part of my life."
Larry, about to appear in ITV drama Love And Marriage, said that marrying three times and being on his fifth serious relationship was a legacy of his upbringing.
He said: "The reason I've had three marriages is because I've been on a quest to put my life right. I started off with a distinct disadvantage in terms of my emotional set-up, but each one of those relationships has fed into what I am today.
"We're all trying to turn ourselves into more complete individuals - isn't that the idea? It's been 50-odd years since the boy I used to be was basically cast adrift. And the people in my life, the women in particular, have been my building blocks. Without them, I wouldn't be here. Every single one has been an extraordinary human being."