Celebrity Big Brother: Amanda Barrie reveals terror of coming out on Coronation Street
Former Coronation Street star Amanda Barrie has entered the Celebrity Big Brother house.
At 82, the actress is the oldest ever contestant to walk into the reality TV show house.
But it’s not the first time she’s taken a major decision in later life – she waited until 2003, age 67, to come out as bisexual.
Amanda said she spent years terrified that revealing her same-sex attraction would get her axed from her dream job on Coronation Street.
The CBB contestant is best known for her role as Alma Sedgewick in Coronation Street, a hugely popular character that she played from 1981 until 2001.
Millions tuned in to the ITV soap during her two decades, making Amanda and her character a household name.
It wasn’t until after she left the soap that she came out as bisexual, however, revealing the truth in her autobiography.
Amanda was put in the awkward position when she discovered paparazzi had been given a tip about her sexuality and she felt “absolutely terrified” about what the discovery would mean for her career.
Speaking about the misery that she suffered, she told Loose Women in December 2016: “I remember just being absolutely terrified because I knew at that time, I think I’m right to say, I would have lost my job.
“Not now but I honestly believed it that. I also felt really guilty myself because they made me feel guilty.
“I was playing Alma and then I had this whole other life and I felt like I couldn’t look anybody in the eye.”
Amanda says she was terrified about coming out in case people did not want to work with her.
“I was terrified, there was an attitude that certain people wouldn’t work with you, it was taboo,” she told The Mirror.
“Everything changes so quickly – in a wonderful way.
“If you did it now, nobody would notice, and it’s not that long ago,” she added.
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“Nobody at Coronation Street knew but my very close friends Helen Worth, Sue Nicholls and Barbara Knox.”
In 2014 she married her same-sex partner, author Hillary Bonner.
Discussing her wedding to Bonner in 2014, the actress described the pair’s “wonderful day”.
“I’m very anxious about big occasions but I think you have to do it in this day and age to make things legal,” she said.
“And it was great actually, it was memorable.”