JULIE Goodyear’s heartbroken husband yesterday revealed they had only recently learned she had dementia — but there is “no hope of a reversal”.
Scott Brand told how they sought medical advice after his wife, 81, who played Corrie barmaid Bet Lynch for 25 years, had become forgetful.
Soap star Julie Goodyear, who played Corrie barmaid Bet Lynch for 25 years, has been diagnosed with dementia
Heartbroken husband Scott Brand revealed they had only recently learned of the news
He explained that he wanted to tell the public the devastating news in case they approached the much-loved former actress in the street.
Scott said: “My darling wife and I have had to come to terms with this heartbreaking diagnosis.
“Unfortunately, Julie has been suffering forgetfulness for some time and we have been seeking medical advice and assistance.
“But we now know that there is no hope of a reversal in the situation — and that her condition will get progressively, and perhaps speedily, worse.”
Scott, who became Julie’s fourth husband in 2007, continued: “We have taken the decision to publicly announce the diagnosis as Julie still loves visiting friends and eating out.
“Inevitably she is recognised, and fans love to meet her — and she them — but she can get confused particularly if she is tired. I hope people will understand.”
Lancashire-born Julie first appeared as Bet in Weatherfield in 1966 for nine episodes and joined for good four years later as a junior barmaid at the Rovers.
No-nonsense Bet was a huge hit with her leopard-print clothing and bad choices in men including Mike Baldwin and Len Fairclough — plus an ill-fated marriage to Alec Gilroy.
Her most emotional storyline saw her find out the son she gave up for adoption at birth had been killed while serving as a soldier in Northern Ireland.
To her delight, she finally became the Rovers landlady in 1985.
Her Corrie exit in 1995 — watched by more than 22 million people — came after a bust-up with corner shop owner Rita Tanner over buying the pub.
After she left, Julie was awarded the MBE in the 1996 New Year Honours list.
She went on to make a number of cameo appearances on the cobbles but later revealed the show left her suffering from exhaustion.
Julie said after leaving: “It was almost tangible. I could smell it.
“The guns were out for the show and for me.
“It turned into a vicious cycle and I couldn’t get well as quickly as I wanted to.”
No-nonsense Bet was a huge hit and would eventually become the Rovers landlady
Julie’s life off screen was almost as colourful as Bet’s in Corrie
Julie’s life off screen has been almost as colourful as Bet’s.
The first of her four marriages was to television producer Ray Sutcliffe in 1959 when she was just 17 and pregnant with their son Gary.
They divorced in 1963. Ten years later Julie married Tony Rudman, who told her on their wedding day that he was gay, before running off with the best man.
She said of the incident: “You couldn’t make it up.
“He left me during the reception and he left with the best man. That would be a shock to anybody.”
The stress was so bad that Julie spent time in a mental health clinic.
She recalled: “I was in a terrible state and I needed treatment.
“It was a very deep shock. I was just trying to get my head around how someone could do that.
“I couldn’t cry because the shock went too deep.
“Crying is a great relief. But for me the pain was beyond that and I was unable to cry. Everything was bottled up.”
Devastatingly, Julie was diagnosed with cervical cancer in 1979 and given just one year to live. But she made a miraculous recovery.
In 1983 she helped open the Julie Goodyear Cytology Laboratory at Manchester’s Christie Hospital after raising £500,000 for them.
Julie’s third marriage was to US airline executive Richard Skrob in 1985 but their long-distance relationship soon fell apart.
She then happily settled down for good with Scott after meeting him in 1996 when he delivered plaster to her house.
She said Scott, 26 years her junior, proposed every day until she finally agreed in 2007.
Julie revealed: “Scott said, ‘You do realise, if you don’t marry me, I’ll never be married. Because I’ll never meet anybody who would ever match up to you’.
“I said, ‘Oh, go on then’.” She added: “I might renew his contract. He’s been the best of a bad bunch, he really has.”
Julie told how she was pursued by famous actors and politicians at the height of her fame, and got explicit letters.
She said: “There are people in positions of power who came on to me. The things they wanted to do with me were unbelievable.”
Julie once revealed her “soulmate” was a woman, Janet Ross, who died from cancer in 2011.
Julie said on Piers Morgan’s Life Stories: “I received a phone call, from Janet and she said, ‘I need to talk to you, Julie’.
“I was there within an hour. And we were sitting in her back garden. She said, ‘You know I almost got the all-clear.’ I said, ‘Yes’. She said, ‘Well, it’s back.’ My soulmate, and it was her turn now? After everything that she’d done for me, with my mum, and in my life.
“We’re not talking sex, we’re talking good people, real people, kind people. And she died.”
After quitting Corrie, Julie appeared in Hollyoaks and a string of reality TV shows.
They included Celebrity Big Brother in 2012 alongside Coleen Nolan, Julian Clary and Martin Kemp.
She said after coming in seventh: “This is the real me.”
BATTLE LIKE BABS
FELLOW soap landlady legend, the late Dame Barbara Windsor, was also diagnosed with dementia — following a 22-year stint on EastEnders.
The star died aged 83 in December 2020, six years after she was diagnosed.
Julie Goodyear’s dementia diagnosis is strikingly similar to late EastEnders landlady legend Dame Barbara Windsor
Her husband, Scott Mitchell, spoke publicly — just like Julie’s husband — in 2018 to make fans aware that his wife was living with the disease, which causes memory loss.
Much like Julie’s character Bet Lynch, Barbara played loud and proud Peggy Mitchell, who ruled the roost as the boss of Albert Square’s Queen Vic pub.
She first joined the show in 1994 and was later killed off in 2016, much to the sadness of fans.
Scott recently told The One Show that, while looking after his wife, he was terrified Barbara would go missing.
And he said: “Caring for my wife when she had dementia was, possibly, one of the hardest things I’ve been through.”