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Barbara Windsor’s widow Scott Mitchell has revealed his beloved wife first noticed signs of dementia almost ten years before her death. 

Actress Barbara died in December 2020 aged 83 following a battle with Alzheimer’s disease.

Speaking to Vanessa Feltz on her TalkTv show Scott, 59, said the late star began to struggle to remember her lines, something she had ‘never done before’, in her final months as EastEnders matriarch Peggy Mitchell.

RIP: Barbara Windsor's widow Scott Mitchell has revealed he first noticed changes in his beloved wife's behaviour almost ten years before her death in 2020 (pictured together in 2011)

RIP: Barbara Windsor’s widow Scott Mitchell has revealed he first noticed changes in his beloved wife’s behaviour almost ten years before her death in 2020 (pictured together in 2011) 

He said: ‘At this point Barbara had just left Eastenders in 2010 and just before that she told me she was struggling a bit with her lines, something she never did’. 

Barbara played the iconic role for over 20 years and returned to the soap in 2016 when her character decided to end her life in dramatic scenes following a battle with cancer.

She again returned months later as a ghost as part of Pat Butcher’s (Pam St Clement) exit story and archive footage of her voice was heard by her son Phil Mitchell (Steve McFadden) in 2020. 

Icon: Actress Barbara died in December 2020 aged 83 following a battle with Alzheimer's disease (Barbara pictured in the role of Peggy Mitchell)

Icon: Actress Barbara died in December 2020 aged 83 following a battle with Alzheimer’s disease (Barbara pictured in the role of Peggy Mitchell) 

Her widower Scott, who married the actress in 2000, then admitted to noticing his own ‘changes’ in the star before going on to reveal Vanessa was in fact the ‘first person in showbiz’ to also pick up on Barbara’s illness. 

‘You may not remember this Vanessa’ he told the host ‘but you were I think the only person in show business, around 2016, 2017, you said to me at a function, Barbara OK Scott, because she doesn’t seem herself?’.

‘Did I?’ Vanessa asked softly. 

Honesty: Speaking to Vanessa Feltz on her TalkTv show Scott, 59, said the late star began to struggle to remember her lines, something she had 'never done before', in her final months as EastEnders matriarch Peggy Mitchell

Honesty: Speaking to Vanessa Feltz on her TalkTv show Scott, 59, said the late star began to struggle to remember her lines, something she had ‘never done before’, in her final months as EastEnders matriarch Peggy Mitchell

Struggles: He said: 'At this point Barbara had just left EastEnders in 2010 and just before that she told me she was struggling a bit with her lines, something she never did'

Struggles: He said: ‘At this point Barbara had just left EastEnders in 2010 and just before that she told me she was struggling a bit with her lines, something she never did’

‘I’ve always remembered that’ Scott continued ‘because I knew by then but we had to keep it quiet because she didn’t want to accept the diagnosis’.

Adding: ‘Which is a very difficult thing, but very common because who would want to accept a diagnosis like that?’.  

It comes after Scott said he’ll ‘never love again’ after Barbara’s death.

Famous friends: Her widower Scott then admitted to noticing his own 'changes' in the star before going on to reveal Vanessa was in fact the 'first person in showbiz' to also pick up on Barbara's illness

Famous friends: Her widower Scott then admitted to noticing his own ‘changes’ in the star before going on to reveal Vanessa was in fact the ‘first person in showbiz’ to also pick up on Barbara’s illness

During Barbara Windsor: A Celebration, hosted by David Walliams with Scott Mitchell at the New Wimbledon Theatre on Wednesday, Scott said: ‘I was blessed to have crossed paths with Barbara.

‘On paper, it shouldn’t have worked, but it did with us and I am so thankful that she chose me to share her life with because I don’t think I will ever find another.’

He said he was ‘privileged’ to have formed a loving relationship with legendary EastEnders star, according to the Daily Star.

Loss: It comes after Scott said he'll 'never love again' after Barbara's death (pictured in 2019)

Loss: It comes after Scott said he’ll ‘never love again’ after Barbara’s death (pictured in 2019)

Barbara was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in 2014 and kept her fight with the illness private for four years.

After her death, Scott said: ‘Her passing was from Alzheimer’s/dementia and Barbara eventually died peacefully and I spent the last seven days by her side.

‘Myself, her family and friends will remember Barbara with love, a smile and affection for the many years of her love, fun, friendship and brightness she brought to all our lives and the entertainment she gave to so many thousands of others during her career.

‘Barbara’s final weeks were typical of how she lived her life. Full of humour, drama and a fighting spirit until the end.’

The late actress appeared in a host of Carry On movies between 1964 and 1974, including Carry On Spying, Carry On Doctor and Carry On Camping.

In true icon style, Barbara’s final TV role was starring in her own biopic, which chronicled her humble beginnings in Shoreditch up to 1993, with Jaime Winstone and Samantha Spiro playing the star at different points in her life.

WHAT IS ALZHEIMER’S?

Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive, degenerative disease of the brain, in which build-up of abnormal proteins causes nerve cells to die.

This disrupts the transmitters that carry messages, and causes the brain to shrink. 

More than 5 million people suffer from the disease in the US, where it is the 6th leading cause of death, and more than 1 million Britons have it.

WHAT HAPPENS?

As brain cells die, the functions they provide are lost. 

That includes memory, orientation and the ability to think and reason. 

The progress of the disease is slow and gradual. 

On average, patients live five to seven years after diagnosis, but some may live for ten to 15 years.

EARLY SYMPTOMS:

  • Loss of short-term memory
  • Disorientation
  • Behavioral changes
  • Mood swings
  • Difficulties dealing with money or making a phone call 

LATER SYMPTOMS:

  • Severe memory loss, forgetting close family members, familiar objects or places
  • Becoming anxious and frustrated over inability to make sense of the world, leading to aggressive behavior 
  • Eventually lose ability to walk
  • May have problems eating 
  • The majority will eventually need 24-hour care   

 Source: Alzheimer’s Association

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