The husband of the late Dame Barbara Windsor says he has tried not to hide from grief which he considers part of the healing process as the second anniversary of her death approaches.
Scott Mitchell, who married the actress in 2000, said he lost his “best friend” when EastEnders star Dame Barbara died on December 10 2020 aged 83, after suffering from Alzheimer’s disease.
He told Good Morning Britain presenters Kate Garraway and Ben Shephard that two years is “not a long time” to process her death, having spent 27 years together.
“It’s incredible, it’s two years tomorrow, in actual fact,” he said.
“It’s a ridiculous thing (but) I still think she is going to walk through the door. It’s just something deep inside me, I wake up of a morning sometimes and I think, ‘is she OK?’ – it’s still there.
“And then other times I talk about her and remember her with such joy. I’m still in what people would say the early stages of grief and processing everything, but what I’m trying to do is think of the really good times and especially the early times when we first met, that’s been a really good thing for me, to go back.
“I lost my best friend, my other half is what I lost, and I think it’s why I still feel that loss now of being in the house feeling sometimes that she is there with me, other times feeling the loneliness of her not being there any more.”
Mitchell, 59, agreed that there was a “hole” left after the death of Dame Barbara but said he has tried to process his emotions as he is feeling them and “not hide from it”.
He said: “I think it is a very strange thing because you can be surrounded by people, of course, and it was the same when Barbara was ill – we had the most amazing friends and support and my family – but there’s always that time when you do feel quite by yourself and isolated.
“I have no problem if sometimes I just cry for no reason or a memory might trigger something, I have no problem with that.
“I don’t care where I am, who I’m with, that is part of the healing process and that is part of the love you felt for someone… what we all go through when we grieve and we think about them.
“I think there’s no hiding from grief, we all do it in different ways, and we all try and get on in different ways. I don’t think there’s a right or a wrong way, it’s so personal.”
He also revealed he will be running his third London Marathon to raise money for Alzheimer’s Research UK after being made an ambassador.
Despite promising never to run another marathon, he said he had “changed his mind” and will run in Dame Barbara’s memory alongside a group of past and present EastEnders actors calling themselves Babs’ Army.
Speaking about the challenge, which takes place five days before he turns 60, Mitchell added: “I’ve got a great team together with some of the current and past EastEnders crew.
“I’ve got the lovely Lacey Turner doing it, Heather Peace, Natalie Cassidy, Jake Wood, Adam Woodyatt, Tanya Franks, Candice Brown, and we’re going to be called Babs’ Army this time.”